First of all, I am sorry. I'm sorry that I didn't follow through on my promise. Sorry that I didn't keep blogging even though hundreds of you still come here every day. I said I would keep blogging no matter what.... and to be honest, I *miss* it. It makes me a better person - a better Mom because I tend to hold myself to a higher standard when I'm blogging.... what I mean by that is, well.... it's hard to explain. It's just that, sometimes I can get lost in my own head in my daily life and when I'm blogging, it helps me hold onto perspective a bit more and not get lost in the pain and upset that still sometimes sweeps in and takes me off my feet leaving me struggling to find ground once again.
So.... I'm sorry.
Sorry if I upset you... disappointed the collective 'you'....
And sorry for me.
All apologies out of the way, there *is* a reason. It's wasn't just a random thing, or a timing thing... though I am *certainly* very busy. It wasn't a Hail Mary thing... or an El Capitan thing....
To be honest: it was a *me and you* thing.
Right around last Christmas I got an email.... from an IP address not local to me, though I still can't decide it if it was sent by someone I know-know... or a reader. Either way, it doesn't matter much. Because I don't know *who* sent it - or their actual intent, I won't publish the email verbatim.... I will share with you the jist of things:
I wanted to ask you why you write about being poor because it doesn't seem like you are very poor to me. You go to Disneyland and take trips and are always going places with your children, so therefore you can't be poor. I think it's all a rouse to make us feel sorry for you when you are out living the high life."
It went on.... and it was actually pretty insulting at points - the usual "You used your kids to make money" and on and on it went..... Sigh.
I've been called a lot of things.... told I was "too fat to fuck" and that I was "so ugly no man would ever want me"... been called a "dirty lesbian" and told I'm "going to hell".... which is all fine and well, because with the exception of only believing I won't go to hell - truth be told, I'm not sure *anyone* on this planet should be 100% sure they're NOT going..... everything else most of people say or write about me usually isn't true.
However of all things I am or am not..... I have *always* come to *THIS* place, as I do all other places in my life, and been honest. I have been brutally, BRU.TALL.Y. honest.
I have been no holds barred....
I have slit open the wrists of my own pain and bled words onto this keyboard... with total abandon.
I never set out to 'craft' any particular message or theme....
I never took the "ads" contracts- selling out the honest and bare emotion so many of you share...
I didn't turn all "Single Dad Laughing" on you.....
I sat down, night after night, and shared whatever was going on - the good, the bad and the truly ugly.
You asked for nothing more... and I asked for nothing in return.
NO.THING. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
So..... this, amidst allllllll the other nasty emails I have gotten..... *this* one hurt me the most because after all this time - without taking *ANY* more TV shows or interviews.... to say that I have been coming here - writing all these words and thoughts and feelings and *sharing* the innermost part of my own life and very being - to reduce it to being about 'selling out my children' for money - and insinuate that I "make tons of money" and "live the high life" pretending I'm something I'm not......
It's a line too fucking far.
Just being honest.
So for a while.... I didn't want to blog, because I wasn't sure what to say.
So. Let's get down to brass tax.... shall we?
Several of my friends thought someone would "save" my house for me....
Or that someone would come along and buy me and the kids a newer/nicer one: that obviously didn't happen.
People thought that a bunch of rich people would see me and donate money to me: *that* didn't happen.
I didn't/don't get paid to blog.
I NEVER made a single dime off the sign - the kids and I got three days in New York, that is all.
I NEVER sold a single interview or 'appearance'.
EVERYTHING I DID, I DID FOR FREE.
I spent the *little* bit of savings I had in roughly 9 months of keeping my COBRA insurance coverage... just under $10,000..... just.... gone.
The children and I survive well below what is considered the 'poverty line'.... and yes, I still manage to pull off a decent Christmas and outings and such.... and here's how:
I never pay more than $5 for a t-shirt for myself, so I get them on sale at Old Navy.
(OK, WHEN I was doing interviews, I DID buy some nicer clothes to be on TV... fyi).
I *only* buy my jeans at Walmart - they are $15.88 and I buy only one pair at a time.
My "treat" to myself is a new hoodie if we go somewhere fun - Disneyland, Great Wolf Lodge, etc.
Then I wear those hoodie's instead of coats: because I don't own one.
I *do* have a pair of UGGS, a gift from my brother and his wife.
I *had* a BOB Revolution stroller, bought for me by a friend in trade for a years worth of photos.... and then instead of selling that BOB for $300, I gave it to my brother when he had a baby.... because I knew a luxury stroller like that wasn't in their budget either and it REALLY is worth it. lolol...
I don't buy fancy face products, or shampoo.
I don't own a closet full of fancy work out clothes and $200 running shoes and hats, whatnot....
I have a pair of yoga pants with a whole in the crotch to sleep in.
Oh... and my bra's? I buy the two for twenty stretchy kind (the ones you see on TV) from WalMart.
The kids..... well, THEY get as much "cool" and relevant clothing that I can afford to get them. I watch sales like a hawk - anything superhero related - I'll buy it one size too big (at least) and put it away if I have to. If Crazy 8's or Gymboree have a sale - I buy fancy shirts in sizes one or two or three sizes too big and put them away for The Boy - usually you can get $20 for $4.99 or less!!!! as long as you don't care that they aren't the "current style" by the time it fits them.....
I didn't *used* to buy them winter coats, but after The Boy spent the first few months of Kindergarten without a coat and the teacher sent home a note saying he needed one and I had to spend three days digging through Goodwill's to find a good one to fit him for $6.99.... I was SMART enough to watch for the end of season Costco sale that year and buy a winter cost for each kid: they are BOTH still wearing them even this year. I can probably get one more year out of The Girl's coat and this is the last year for The Boy's.. .it's too short in the arms. (Not bad for three years of wear out of two $19.99 coats).
I buy them the cute "fancy" superhero underwear - and mostly because I stumbled on a deal for $1.14 a pair of pants for The Boy and bought every single one they had! lol...
Their pajama's....? AT LEAST three sizes too big so they can wear them for years.... and they have.
Their shoes? The VANS outlet - never paid more than $20 for a pair and always during the buy one get one half off sale... so that's TWO pairs for $30 or less.
Cleaning supplies..... Dollar Store.
Deodorant... Dollar Store.
Hair brushes/clips/bands... Dollar Store.
Holiday Decor.... Dollar Store. (except Halloween)
Office Supplies... Dollar Store.
MY School supplies.... Dollar Store.
Shampoo.... Dollar Store.
Tooth brushes/paste.... Dollar Store.
Soap... Dollar Store.
MY Sox.... Dollar Store.
plates/cups for kids.... Dollar Store.
Toilet Paper.... Dollar Store.
My Sunglasses.... Dollar Store.
You see every month, I go into the Dollar Store with a $30 budget and buy everything we need for the month. The only thing I *can't* buy there is my female hygiene products and saline solution for my contacts.
No one came along and "gave" me much of anything.... and I never expected them too.
We "have" whatever we have.... because as a Mom I go *without* as much as I can - and I cut AS MANY corners as I can. I've gotten REALLY GOOD at finding A.MAZ.ING deals at Ross and Goodwill - I know where and when to look.... and so YES, thankfully, if someone didn't know HOW much work goes into it all.... it might LOOK like we "live high on the hog".... which is fine. I don't really want any of The Boy's friend's at school knowing that his Mom is one minor/major accident and one "pay check" away from being totally homeless..... that's probably a stigma he doesn't need.
Though, I'd be foolish to assume I'm the only parent in his class in a similar economic situation.
The reality is.... *I* didn't make what I call.... 'good life choices'.
I didn't finish my four year.... I stopped after two so that El Capitan could go to college.
I didn't invest the money I made in ME or a potential "me future"... I put it into the house and the family because, like many women I put allll my financial "eggs" in my husbands basket... and we all know where that basket is now... lololol.
I did those things.
So, I try my fucking *hardest* to get my kids to Disneyland as OFTEN as I can because it is very apparent to me that I *will* be working well into my 70s just to get by.... I don't have a retirement account or a 401K or a house to call my own..... and a few thousands dollars I can scrape together by selling things off and saving money to give my kids a trip to The House of The Mouse so that THEY don't have to miss out.... well, it's hardly the worst thing in the world.
But... life is different than it once was... .just the other night, I was putting The Boy to bed and he said, "Mom... I miss the blue house and our old life.... because we had more blankets back then that were bigger."
So.... he knows the difference, Disney trips aside... The Boy knows times are different for us all.
We're not poor..... we're not.
We have roof and food and friends and family and people who love us.... and you have NO IDEA how much The Bubbie and The Papa have helped us.... but our life *is* different now and to suggest that I 'use the kids' to make "all this money".... just pisses me off.
I don't shop at Nordstroms. I don't stop at my Macy's. I don't own "designer" clothes or 'fancy' things.... I'm really too busy trying to figure out how to pay for books next semester (holy SHIT what a racket!!!! lolol) and keep myself in college and The Girl in preschool.... and *try*... TRY to figure out how to pay for skateboarding lessons for The Boy and dance lessons for The Girl because they ask allllll the time.... so now I have to figure out how to cut more corners to make it happens......
Tuna sandwiches everyday....
I cut out soda... which is HUGE for me. No more Diet Coke.
Dinners that can be lunches and then breakfast if need be.
Cereal in the industrial sized bags from WinCo.....
Oh... DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED.... on how *fucking* depressing it is to read all these facebook posts about how "good Mom's" only feed their kids "in season" and "organic" fruits and veggie's, or how now you can't eat Mac & Cheese because it's made with 'wood pulp' and how everything HAS to be organic... on and on and on it goes.... and it always makes me feel like shit because there's no way on EARTH I can afford that.
The Girl LOVES apples... so I cut her one in the morning, cover it in pectin (which is what you use in canning so that your fruits don't go bad) - and that way the apples don't turn brown during the day and she'll keep eating them... otherwise, you know kids and brown apples... lololol.
THAT ... THAT is how I "afford" things....
And, before anyone sends me an email telling me that I wrote this to 'make people feel sorry' for me or whatever..... TRUST ME, I didn't.
I almost wanted to never write another post again - than to be this honest about my life - because who the fuck wants to admit this level of utter adult failure.....?
But.... while I failed at keeping my promise to blog daily.... I haven't failed at my promise to be honest.
THIS.... is what being a single Mom looks like when you don't make 'good life choices' in your younger years.
THIS is what divorce looks like for A LOT of men and women out there... not just me.
THIS is what getting by on *very* little looks like..... for thousands of people, not just me.
So now you know.
And one more thing..... I don't begrudge the "Scott Dysicks" of the world who HAVE money - they made different life choices.... so good for them. Seriously. Good for them..... I only hope they appreciate it.
Because, even if the total sum of everything I'm wearing is worth less than $30 (except my slip on Chucks with the whole in the sole... seriously) - well, that's ok because everything else in my life is worth so much more.
The second chance to go to college.
My friends who have stood by me relentlessly over the years.
My family....The Bubbie and The Papa.
When you add it all up.... may be "you" are right..... I *AM* living pretty well, at least by my own standards.