Being a single mom is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face over the years is finding a way to pay for the ever increasing cost of childcare. And when I welcomed my second bundle of joy, that challenge increased 10-fold. I was now looking at childcare bills that far exceeded the amount of rent on a two bedroom micro-apartment. I’m talking well over $300 a week for a reputable day care center. How is a single mom expected to fork over that kind of money just to go to work? I couldn’t.
At first I used family members to watch the girls for me, and I worked my butt off, day and night to make ends meet, and they never did. Then the most heart-wrenching thing happened that changed my mind. My youngest didn’t realize who I was. I had to return to the workforce less than six weeks after she was born. Their grandmother watched them while I worked over 40 hours a week just to make rent. Often making rent didn’t happen, and the rift between me and my girls grew.
Then, one day, I had had enough. When my youngest pulled away from me while she was sick and frightened in favor for her grandma, I knew it was time I found a better way. Man, it wasn’t easy and it was scary as all get out but I made it work.
The first thing I did was sit down and made a list of all my skills, leaving nothing out. Once I had a list to work with, I brainstormed ways to turn those skills into money or things I could do from home to make money. My biggest passion, next to my girls, is writing. I knew that a freelance writer could make decent money, and it was something I could do at home. It topped my list and was the idea that sang to me the most. And why not, being a published author has always been my biggest dream and this was my chance to make it happen.
Next it was time to talk money. How much did I need to bring in? How much was I spending and where? How much could I save by cutting out work related expenses, such as childcare, gas, food and uniforms? Could I realistically make a living writing? This step was the hardest part, being completely honest with myself in terms of money. I had to keep myself in check and project realistic earnings goals. After many tears I figured it out and found that I could make enough to support us.
I didn’t quit my day job the moment I made up my mind. I did have bills to pay after all and I knew it would take time to build a solid network and income. So I did research and applied for freelance writing gigs. Slowly, bit by bit, article by blog post, I built the foundation I needed to break away from mainstream employment and build a life I wanted for my children. Once I knew for certain that I would earn enough, I handed in my two weeks notice, and haven’t looked back since.
I’m still working on building that foundation and repairing the damage being gone had done. But each day my youngest knows me a bit more, my earnings potential grows and my confidence expands. There are still dark roads ahead of me, but I know I got this.