What’s that saying? Something about God laughing while you make plans? Yeah, that’s it. So I went and did it. I went and made me some plans. And you hear that? Why that’s God guffawing! A knee-slapping, belly-busting howl!
It was back in February I decided to quit my job at a local preschool. I’d worked there for three years, starting as a teacher’s assistant from 8 am till 5 pm at $13 an hour. And it killed me!
I had been a stay-at-home mother since having my first child in 2003. I held a position on the PTO board for over ten years and was a class mom every year for over ten years. I was there before my kids went to school and after. Every. Single. Day. That was my job; only there was no monetary compensation or acknowledgment from the government. Don’t even ask me about my social security.
Being a single mom, I could only afford to do that for so long. So, in 2019, with my credit cards maxed out and faced with losing my car, I got a job. It was hard no longer being there fully for my kids, yet having a purpose that paid (though not much) was a good feeling.
Then right before the pandemic hit, I got promoted to lead teacher with a two-dollar raise and better hours – 9 am till 3 pm. This would mean I could be there for my kids again before and after school!
It turned out the pandemic was terrific for me. My classroom had to be divided, so my class size was no more than twelve rather than twenty-four. And with the stimulus checks, I could pay off the credit card debt I had accumulated since my divorce. I was even able to save money, something I’d never been able to do before.
But in 2022, everything changed. I was nearing the end of my Master’s program and realized my loans would be due. I could not justify staying in a job, no matter how much I loved it or how important I felt it was, that paid $20,000 a year.
The plan had always been to become a high school English teacher. Do I want to be a teacher? No. Not really. But I have a house, a car, kids, and all the bills that go along with those three things. But because I had accumulated enough savings to take the place of the missing wages should I not work at the preschool, I decided to quit for one year and pursue my true passion – writing!
That was the plan.
And that was when God started laughing.
My daughter, who was now in the sixth grade, was developing terrible social anxiety, and her social relationships were causing her to have panic attacks. Some mornings I had to send her in crying. Other mornings I took her to work with me. I could not, in good faith, send her back to a place where she was not thriving but instead dying. So, I decided to homeschool her. My savings decreased by $700.
The next thing that happened was my oldest child, who was away at College, had a breakdown. This was due in part to the fact that they finally were recognized as high functioning autistic, in part to the fact that they were in the wrong program, in part to the fact that their relationship with their father was deteriorating, and in part to the fact that they had decided to transition. So, they decided to come back home and go to community college. Of course, I paid for their tuition—another $5000 withdrawn from my savings.
Not only did my oldest child move back in, but with them came their girlfriend from Iowa. A household of three increased to five, as did every utility and grocery bill. And, because neither have their license yet, I will be driving them back and forth to school, roughly an hour and forty minutes a day. Let’s not talk about gas.
And the middle child? The one who suffers so many physical ailments? The one who suffered the most from the divorce. I decided to buy him a brand new sax for his college auditions. He has worked so hard despite the hurdles thrown his way, he deserves it. But of course that $4000 is coming straight out of my savings.
So yeah, I guess it is kind of funny.
I’ve always said you only need two things in life – patience and faith. But now, I think I need to add a third – humor.