I have taken my time writing this post, because I wanted to write it from a calm place. I didn’t want to write it while I was still very angry. I was fired, you see, and accused of–hmm. How exactly do I put it? An accident happened. It was scary, yes, but it might happen to anyone holding a squirmy child, and the child was not hurt. There was not a scratch on her. If I hadn’t done my job and told the parents what had happened, they’d never have known. But, in the end, I was accused of being, essentially, untrustworthy and unsafe.
A few of my friends think that my employers just wanted to move on and were looking for an excuse to let me go earlier rather than later, having already decided that they did not want a heavily pregnant nanny or one with a child of her own. I don’t pretend to know what they were thinking. I do know that I am glad to be out of there. I didn’t realize how much pressure I felt until it was gone.
We have a new beginning this week. I no longer work. We are moving into the bigger apartment across the hall. We have acquired a real, grown-up, king-sized bed with a natural mattress (purchased before we realized we’d have no income this summer), and we spent today helping my incredibly efficient mother-in-law clean our new apartment. It’s a bit hard to help her, you see, because she’s so darn quick and it seems to always be easier for her to do it than for her to explain what needs to be done! I watched and learned. I am writing this in a clean, new bed, in a clean, new (to me) space.
I love this space. I can picture our child coming home to this apartment and growing and learning to walk and run, here. I can see the baby playing with the dog. I can picture Nathan holding the baby and pointing out the window at the flowers, trees and passersby we can see from our big, gorgeous front window. I can see myself baking bread for my family in this rather large and cozy kitchen. This all provides an invaluable perspective.
It’s not going to be easy to get through these next few months. Neither of us will be drawing a paycheck. I can’t bring myself to apply for a job with a new family this late in my pregnancy, especially since I seem to need so much sleep just to feel like myself. I am hardly the “energetic, camp counselor” type that one ad sought. We get some help from family.
We are applying for food stamps first, since that application process is the easiest to understand. A beautiful site called End Hunger helped me figure out whether we were eligible and explained the application process. We have mailed the application, and we are waiting to hear from someone at the Department of Social Services. This someone will schedule an appointment to meet with us, at which we will prove that we were born, where we were born, that we are US citizens, that we pay x amount in rent, that I was in fact fired, that Nathan receives x dollars during the school year, and on and on.
I am, in fact, enjoying the prospect of blogging as a Welfare Mom. Applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Energy Assistance (help paying the electric bill, etc.) will come. As far as I can tell, we qualify for both. I am eager to openly write all about the process, so that perhaps just one person will understand that financial assistance from the government is incredibly difficult to receive. It is not easy to fool anyone at the DSS into giving you money that you do not need. And it is not only uneducated, irresponsible, substance-abusing mothers who ask for financial assistance from the government. I fully intend to work again. I do not intend to stay on SNAP (food stamps), TANF (welfare), or energy assistance longer than my family needs the help. But we do need it. And I’m not ashamed of that.
Through no fault of our own (according to me), my family does not have enough money to pay our bills, our rent and buy food. We cannot very well stop paying for any of these things. I need to eat healthy food, and lots of it–I’m growing a human, for heaven’s sake! I am thankful that our health insurance comes through Nathan’s job, so we need not apply for MedicAid. I can keep going to see the same wonderful midwives I’ve been seeing for a mere $10 copay. I can keep paying small-ish copays for my medications. But yes, we do need help paying for food, rent and other expenses. And we don’t look like the Welfare Family one might picture if one listened to those who are against giving families in need any help at all. I am proud that we are growing closer as a family through this experience and supporting each other. We are happy. There’s just one thing I don’t understand…
How on earth does anyone complete one of these applications without two college-educated brains reading it over? The darn things are nearly as incomprehensible as tax forms! I suspect that the same people write both forms. My proof is in the tendency to ask for additional forms that do not appear to exist anywhere (where is this W-147-something form you speak of? where?!). I’m still not sure we did it correctly. I’ll let you know!
For now, be happy for us that we have a summer-long “babymoon” to spend lazy days together and get plenty of sun. Perhaps we will even introduce Lewis the Dog to The Ocean and The Beach. Most definitely, we will be getting excellent sleep–this bed and mattress are divine!