Posts Tagged ‘ Money ’

Better Life

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Tomorrow is Moving Day.  Goodbye Connecticut, hello Massachusetts.  Caroline and I are outta here.

First of all, I need to just get it off my chest that moving out of state with a three year old is most definitely not a one-person job.  I can confirm it.  I’m so deliriously tired that I probably will not even remember writing this post after tonight.  It’s been kind of a perfect storm of craziness around here these days.  I started my new job in private practice two weeks ago, I’ve been painting the new place and packing to move, Tyler hasn’t been around and won’t be again, Caroline is leaving her old preschool and I’m having a new nanny start, and I had to radically change Caroline’s diet.  She is kind of a mess, I’ll be honest with you.  She doesn’t do well with transitions.  And we’re dealing with a lot of them, all at once.

“Kind of a mess” in preschooler terms translates to constantly throwing tantrums, screaming NO regardless of what I’m saying, clinging to me with a death grip, and unpacking everything I try to pack.  Thank goodness for my parents.  They live an hour away, but they are there when I need them.  I literally could not have done this alone.

But now everything is packed, and the movers are coming tomorrow, and we are leaving this place for good.  This living room is soon to be empty again.  Even though Caroline’s lived her whole life here so far, I have to say I won’t miss it.

I’m ready for my fresh start.

I absolutely love my new job.  It couldn’t be a better fit for me, honestly.  Everyone there is so nice, the practice runs so smoothly, and I feel like I am doing good work for good people.  I’m only working three days a week, so I have a lot more time to spend with Caroline than I did during residency.  I got my first paycheck, so money is no longer a constant stress.  Our new house is bigger and brighter than our tiny dark apartment, and has a yard for Caroline to play in.

It was not easy for me to finish dental school in the middle of a divorce and with an unexpected baby and to go through a residency as a single mother.  But I did it, and I’m proud of it, and I feel like all of my hard work is finally paying off… for me, and for my daughter.

I’m pretty sure that once things settle down, there won’t be a whole lot more we could ask for.  So hold on, Caroline.  I haven’t quite got things put together yet… but we’re headed for a better life.

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Just a Simple Trip to the Playground

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

I can’t possibly be the only mom who’s had simple, fun outings turn out like this… right?

So I was sick this past weekend with some kind of disgusting flu, but I had promised to take Caroline to a playground on Saturday after her nap.  I always try to keep my promises to her because I’m a good mom, okay, so we still went despite my illness and this is how it went. 

She didn’t wake up from her nap until about 4pm, so I finally got her out the door around 4:30 (after asking repeatedly, “Do you want a snack?  Do you want a drink?”   “No,” she insisted, ”no.  I’m not hungry.  I’m not thirsty.”).  We were driving to this playground since there are no good ones within walking distance of our apartment.  No sooner do we get on the highway when she yells “Mama, I’m thirsty!!  I need a drink.”  Of course I brought a snack, but forgot to bring a drink.  I sigh inwardly and tell her that I’ll find somewhere to get her something.  We get off the exit for the playground and I drive around aimlessly until we find a grocery store.

We go inside.  Of course she has to bring her three purses full of toy tools and ponies and bubble wands, and drops a toy on the ground with every step she takes, but refuses to let me carry anything for her.  Meanwhile, she’s wandering around and refusing to get in the shopping cart and charming the pants off everyone who walks by: “Hi!  I’m Caroline!  I’m three years old!  I go to preschool!”  Okay, Caro, just relax.  Nobody here is Santa Claus.  I grab a bottle of water and she informs me that we need to buy bread “to feed the duckies”.  Fine.  I drag her through the grocery store to find the bread, but before we get there, I hear a woman exclaim “Look!  There’s Caroline!!”

I turn around and see one of the other preschool moms with her two kids in the cart waving excitedly at Caroline.  My fever is climbing by the minute, my nose is running like a faucet, and I feel like I’m losing my grip on reality, but we go over to say hello.  The mom notices Caroline’s excessive number of purses (one of which is a Vera Bradley which my friend bought for her, okay).  “Oh!” she says.  “Do you guys like purses?  I’m having a purse party this weekend!”  I pray that I’m hallucinating.  (I’m not.)  Caroline yells frantically that she loves purses.  (Traitor.)  The mom tells me that she’ll come over to our car with an invitation.

Let me tell you a little secret about myself.  I hate purses.  I do.  I hate them.  If I can’t fit something into the little wristlet/wallet that I carry all the time, then I simply don’t need to be carrying it.  There are two types of women in this world, people: those who carry a million things in their purse and have a million pillows on their bed, and those who do not, and let me tell you, I straight-up do not have time for any of that sh*t.  (My daughter is clearly slated to be one of the former, though.)  Even more than purses, I hate parties hosted by someone I don’t know where I’m obligated to buy stuff.  I’m poor, okay?  Also, I’m running a fever of about 103 at this point, I have no idea where we are because we’ve driven so far out of the way, it’s almost dinnertime (which I’ve made no plans for), and I’ve completely forgotten the reason we left our apartment in the first place.

Needless to say, we never made it to the playground.  We went back home to feed the ducks instead.  But how much do you think that trip to the playground cost me, in the end?

Bottle of water and bread to feed the ducks (“Buy 2 get 1 free!” proclaimed the sign on the shelf.  Oh, but only if you have a store card.  Which I don’t, because I have no idea where we are and this isn’t my grocery store): $10

Gas to drive all over who knows where for an hour: $10

Purse party I’m now obligated to attend so that I’m not forever ostracized at preschool: $50 for purse, $30 for babysitter (“No kids!” she called brightly over her shoulder as she trotted back to her minivan.  B*tch!)

Total: $100

But… watching your 3-year-old ecstatically toss bread to the ducks, after all that, albeit through a feverish haze? 

PRICELESS.

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Crossroads

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Sorry for the lack of posting these days, you guys.  I’m sort of paralyzed at this crossroads in my life.  Up until now, I haven’t been able to put it together into anything coherent or remotely interesting for internet “strangers” to read, which makes me feel pretty bummed out about it all.

I mean, if you can’t even manage to construct a blog post about major decisions in your life, how are you ever going to figure them out and actually live them?

I’ve taken the military dentistry thing to the end.  I went to MEPS, passed my physical, filled out mountains of paperwork, and am waiting to hear back from the board regarding whether or not I’ve been selected for active duty.  I should hear back sometime this week.

Of course, in my own mind I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not this is the best decision for me and for Caroline.  Recently, Tyler, who I thought was on board with the whole thing since he’s moving out of state anyway, informed me that he really doesn’t want me to join.  I truly can’t decide what his motivation is.  I don’t know if he’s afraid about losing time with her (he never takes his full visitation anyway), or if he’s afraid that I’ll be deployed and he will be left solely responsible for her for months on end and he won’t know how to handle that.  It is probably a little bit of both.

His opposition is a big deal to me, as you can imagine.  I want to be on good terms with him and maintain his relationship with Caroline for everyone’s sake… and, legally, he could put up a fight about me taking her far away.  I don’t think he’d have much of a leg to stand on since he is also moving out of state, but to be honest with you, I’m not up for a court battle.  The major reason I left him was that I simply do not have it in me to fight with this man anymore.

He says reluctantly that he will let us go, that we will work out visitation, if the Army is what I really want.  But in the end it does not matter why he doesn’t want me to go.  If he wants to step up and be more of a father, I need to support that.  And if it’s just that he’s afraid to be responsible for Caroline all alone, then it’s not in my child’s best interest to risk having to leave her with him for months at a time.

If I don’t join the Army, it’s getting a bit late to be looking for other jobs, which is stressful.  After Tyler told me of his objections, I scrambled to line up a few interviews for private practices, because the end of my residency is fast approaching, and I’m a poor resident with a lot of debt and a child to support, and I cannot risk being unemployed for any period of time.  And further complicating the issue is a guy I’ve been dating that I actually really, really like.  Who lives around here, of course.  His situation is too problematic for me to even consider factoring him in to my decision, but realistically, if I leave him, I will miss him…

And yet.  I still can’t let go of the Army, because I really want to do it.  If I don’t, then I at least want to move away from here, from this state I’ve spent nearly my entire life in, from this dark apartment where my marriage crumbled and fell apart.  I need a change.  But I can’t even determine if that is a good idea.  I was talking to the aforementioned guy about it, and he told me that I am struggling with all of this because I don’t even know what kind of life I want to have.  I told him, with my usual tact and subtlety, that he was ridiculous and wrong, that I already know exactly what I want, that I always have.

He said, “The most important thing you have in your life is Caroline, right?  So envision the life you want with her, just you and her.”

I said, without hesitation, “I already have it.”

“Then why do you need to change anything?” he asked.  ”You may think you’ll be happy somewhere different just because it’s different… but you won’t be.  Not unless you actually figure out what you want.”

He’s right, of course.  But I’m no closer to a decision than I ever have been, and now my time is running out.

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Moving Forward

Monday, January 9th, 2012

You know that saying “when it rains, it pours?” It’s definitely true, at least in my life, or at least in my 2012. My boyfriend dumped me in the most sudden and brutal way possible, I totaled my car, my laptop died, and I’ve been on call 80 bazillion times in two weeks and have been missing my kid like crazy.

I mean, it could be far worse, but, what’s a single mom to do? I’ll tell you what. She spends a sh*t-ton of money she doesn’t have. Because, well, she has to. I mean, I have to. (I’m losing track of myself in the third person here.)

As for the first problem, confesh: I totally pretended that every tooth I extracted for about a week was HSD’s, sans anesthesia, natch. (Very therapeutic. Try it sometime. Not at home. Or without a valid dental degree.) As for the second, I went out and got a super-cute dark blue used Volkswagen Golf, which hopefully my insurance will still decide to cover despite the fact that I am basically this:

Allstate mayhem commercial

(Watch it. It’s only 30 seconds and so worth it.)

As for the third, I got an iPad, which I am currently blogging from and is, incidentally, very handy for entertaining cranky toddlers in a pinch, and cheaper than a laptop. All of this served as truly excellent retail therapy. And as for the fourth problem, as of tonight I’m not on call for almost a whole month, so I got some quality snuggle- and play-time in with Caroline, and I plan to get much, much more.

So it’s all worked out quite well in the end, and my friends and family (and readers! Thank you!) have proved yet again how truly awesome they are with offers of comfort and rides and cars and loans and hate-mail-sending-services.

Things are looking up for me in the new year, even if they took a couple of weeks to get there. It’s also time for me to be getting serious about my post-residency job search, and I’ve come up with several options that involve major life change, relocation, and consequently being shanked by friends and family who would prefer that Caro and I stay close by.

But, it’s time for a change and the next chapter in this crazy adventure that I call my life! Stay tuned for my big announcement, once I’ve finalized my decision and have informed the appropriate people in appropriate ways…

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Refusing Child Support

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Once in awhile, I write a post that I know I’m going to take some flames for.  I don’t write controversial stuff just for the sake of being controversial, but occasionally an issue comes along that I really believe in and I’m willing to stand up and speak my mind about, and this is one of those cases.

Some single parents refuse, or choose not to seek out, child support from their child’s biological parent.  Why?  The reasons I’ve heard include the following:

1.  They can raise their child on their income alone, and don’t want help from the other parent.  They would rather do it by themselves.

2.  They feel that the child is better off without the other parent in their life for any number of reasons, so they don’t want to accept child support because they don’t want the noncustodial parent to be allowed visitation.

3.  They don’t want to anger the noncustodial parent by seeking financial support– they want the relationship to stay civil and friendly for the child’s sake.

Although I can understand the reasons behind the decision, and recognize that really none of it is any of my business anyway (before everyone comes in here and screams that at me), I still personally take issue with it.

First of all, and this is my biggest issue: child support is not your money.  It’s your child’s.  The money is only paid to you because your child would probably rather spend it on candy or video games than daycare or vegetables.  Maybe you truly don’t need that money to give your child the things he or she needs.  But if that were me, I’d still take the money and put it in a savings account for college or something.  Because that money is not mine to refuse.

Also, it’s actually a myth that seeking child support means you are obligated to allow visitation.  Many single parents don’t realize that child support is actually an issue that is completely independent from custody and visitation– a parent who pays child support may be denied visitation, and conversely, a parent who is behind on paying child support cannot be denied visitation.  The judge makes the decisions on child support and visitation, and they are not related to each other at all.

And as for the last issue, if you read this blog regularly you know that I am a huge proponent of keeping things civil between coparents at the expense of pretty much anything else, because it’s what’s best for the child.  However, you have to stick up for your child and draw a line somewhere, and in my opinion, child support is a good place to do it.  It’s one thing to let it slide for the sake of civility if, say, the other parent consistently shows up 10 minutes late.  It’s entirely another to give them a pass on financial support that you could be using to give your child a better life.

Of course there must be special situations in which denying or not seeking support is the right thing to do, but in general, it’s not charity money– it’s a legal financial obligation, and to deny receiving it is to do your child a disservice.  In my humble opinion.  Now, go ahead and flame the bejeesus out of me in the comments.  I’ve got my flameproof suit on and I’m ready.

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