On Thoughts and Stuff

It’s been an uphill battle to reach the “we’ll be okay this month” status. Matt and I have struggled financially for years. We’ve made poor money decisions and gotten into debt, then gotten out of debt and continue to [occasionally] make poor money decisions {but we at least don’t rack up any debt doing so, since we don’t have credit cards!}. Guess what though? We’re finally “there”…for the time being, anyway. But the future is looking very uncertain, and that makes me very nervous.

Matt’s always been luckier when it comes to finding work – of course, he doesn’t have a physical disability that severely limits his job options. I’m not saying that I have the worst handicap out there, because I don’t, but it does prevent me from working any jobs I qualify for. At least for a long period of time. I’m worried about the reminder time that Matt is in school. He’s set to graduate in August, but my disability goes up for review in March. I spoke to my worker about all my fears, my fears of having my claim revoked.

Originally, I said I would be able to get a full-time job. Only then I had to quit my part-time diner job because I couldn’t physically handle it, and I realized that that statement was a pipe dream. I would be able to land a full-time job, yes, but keep it for any length of time? I don’t think so. My body simply doesn’t cooperate the way I want it to.

It’s not like I don’t try, either. I have tried to work and keep jobs. I have suffered through shifts and struggled to remain optimistic that I can, indeed, keep a job like that. Within a few months, it always comes down to the same conclusion; my body simply won’t do what I want {and need} it to do. I always end up run down with more health issues. I’ve worked at fast food places only to quit a week later, because I simply can’t stand for long periods of time. All jobs I qualify for {experience wise} require long periods of standing, running around, lifting etc. Jobs in the food industry and retail. I’ve never been fired from a job, I’ve always had to resign because my body can’t take it.

Which is why I applied for disability when I was pregnant. I knew that pregnancy and birth would hinder me even more so than before. The weight gain was difficult on my hips and legs, and my feet were always swollen. Add that to my chronic pain symptoms, and the mere idea of working at any job I am “qualified” to work at is just laughable. I knew that Matt was fully capable of working, and he was working when I applied, but I felt that I needed to be recognized as a person with a disability should anything happen. It took a long time for disability to reach a decision {and I had to “take it to a lawyer”}, but finally I was approved.

And it’s come in handy. We didn’t need it during the summer, when Matt was working full-time as a general laborer for a Masonry company, but this fall we needed it. Desperately. We embarked on an adventure to stand on our own two feet and get our own place again, and Matt also started college full-time. He didn’t actively look for a job because he wanted to focus on his studies. One of his biggest concerns regarding a job while in school is that he’s worried his marks will slide. When his friend called with this job offer at the shop he works at, Matt thought why not?

Currently, disability pays the rent, the bills, and our groceries. I’m not ashamed to admit this. Services like disability {and welfare} are there when you need it. And guess what? We do need it, right now anyway. If I had the option of working a full-time job I could physically do and bring in enough to meet our basic monthly needs, I would do it in a heartbeat. I love working, I love bringing in money that I’ve worked for. But, because I can’t, I am on disability. Am I planning to be on it for the rest of my life? Hells no! As soon as Matt graduates this August, we will no longer need it. Then I will get to go to college and get an education {and experience} in a job that I can physically do. Disability is just for right now, and I’m very thankful we have it. Disability always gives us a certain amount each month, and when I was working at the diner they docked that pay so that I would always have the same monthly “income” each month. So basically, I was working for “nothing”. We still got the same amount of money, and my body was being put through hell with the high demands of a job I couldn’t physically tolerate. The same goes if Matt has a job: disability will dock what he makes. And rightfully so – if you are making some money, I totally agree with docking what your paychecks are. They still make sure that we have enough to be okay each month, so you always have a set income each and every month.

But because my disability goes up for review in March, a mere two months away, I am worried. Matt’s schooling is our priority right now, and he absolutely cannot get a full-time job, and I won’t qualify for anything that I can physically do with ease. So, I’m obviously worrying about all this.

When I talked to my worker, she told me not to worry about it. She knows our situation, she knows that we’re just trying to get ahead so that we don’t need to be on disability. She told me that they take all aspects of our situation into consideration: the fact that the only able bodied person in our household is in school full-time, the fact that I have a young child, the fact that I have tried to work and it was, unfortunately, to no avail. She also told me that the head office was severely behind in claims, so there is a possibility mine won’t come up for review until a delayed time.

I still can’t help but worry though. That e-mail exchange with a certain family member comes to mind {please comment/e-mail for the password if you don’t have it}. Thanks to that exchange, I do occasionally fear and worry that we’re making bad choices even though I know we aren’t. Moving out was an amazing decision and I don’t regret it. We are both a lot happier and our relationships have improved with Matt’s father and step-mother significantly. I wouldn’t change that decision at all. Sure, things are tight and definitely uncertain, and we go without a lot. But…we’re happier. We love our home. We love our independence and we’re growing individually as well as a couple and family.

I just hope that my disability doesn’t get revoked. I have no idea what we’d do.

Sometimes, I really hate that I have this disability. I know that, if I had a college education, I would have no issues working because I would have a job I could physically tolerate. Office Administration, preferably medical, would be a breeze for me. I just don’t qualify for anything I can physically handle. It makes me frustrated. It makes me worried about Nolan’s future, about his struggles that he will undoubtedly have with this disability. I hope he handles it a lot better than I do. I hope he learns from my mistakes. None of us want to watch our children suffer the way we did.

I’m trying not to feel so bad about it, because I want to leave negativity behind in 2010, so I’m telling myself this…

We’re doing the best we can. I’m doing the best I can. I am an awesome mom and a great wife. I’m good at housekeeping and all that jazz. I’m doing fine. I may not have a career that brings in money and puts me up there on that ladder, but I do have a career in being a full-time mom and it’s the perfect job for me. That won’t change.

I’m reminding myself that this situation won’t always be the situation. We won’t always be on disability, we won’t always be struggling like this. Sure, money problems never end…but we’ll get there. Matt will graduate college and get a great job, and we’ll slowly start putting away money for me to go to school.

I just hope disability will still be here until Matt graduates…

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5 Comments

Filed under challenges, changes, family, figuring it out, just thoughts, life as I know it, life lessons, linkage, on struggles, on young motherhood, plans & such, reflecting, the difficult, the random, this crazy train, um what?, updates, what I'm feeling, writing

5 responses to “On Thoughts and Stuff

  1. You are awesome for the reasons you mentioned! Yay Jess! You’re a super strong woman and I am so impressed with all that you do!

  2. I think the worker is right. It’s the government – it will take longer! Hang in there Jess…

  3. Kelly

    I’ve lost whatever lil paper scrap had the password to your protected posts on it, of course. I’m still (quietly) lurking around the blog world, putting off an actual return to blogging, lol… I’ll have a new space soon, I gave up chainsofyesterday… All that to say password, please 🙂

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