25 May 2011

Funkytown

I haven't posted in a while because I've been in a pretty funky mood. I've been having mood swings that are just ridiculous!

It's really hard to say what's going on with me. Could be PMS? Could be general stress? I don't care what the reason is...I really just want to get back to normal! I feel like I've got quite a bit on my plate right now. It's not like things aren't under control (God's got it all worked out), but it really has been feeling like it. I'm considering looking for a new job that I can do from home. It's been on my mind for a good long time, now. The trouble is finding something. Most of the things you find when you type at-home jobs, are pyramid schemes, commissioned sales, or other "business opportunities."

Today, I stumbled across tjobs.com. I found a few opportunities that I could do. There also seems to be a lot of resources to help you out if you're like me and want to get a telecommuting job, but don't necessarily know how to make sure to get the job. Obviously, it wouldn't be the same as interviewing in person, and you would have to make sure you have everything you need to do the job (sometimes before getting hired).

I've already weighed my options and I think that working from home would be the best thing. The first thing would be no more spending >$400 in gas a month! I would have more time at home, doing the regular everyday things that don't get done now. I may actually be able to keep up my housekeeping. My time spent with the kids would grow (every second is precious). And I could get to doing other enriching things like take some classes, practice the violin more, complete my craft/decorating projects, get the garden really growing.

I would probably be able to save money on daycare as well. Currently, I'm spending $125 a week for childcare. That's about $500 a month, which is the biggest expense I have (next biggest is gas). I could look for a daycare in my area. Depending on how much the job would pay and the cost of childcare, I could apply for childcare vouchers to help. According to various financial planning pamphlets from Crown.org, the highest childcare/school should be for a family of 4 (with less than $25,000 income) is 8%. That rounds out to about $2,000 a year. I make about $16,000 a year, so my childcare bill should be no higher than $1,280 a year (or $106 a month). I'm clearly overspending. But considering the costs of childcare these days, I'm actually getting a good deal, paying $500 a month. I also have to consider my kids' ages. As they get older, they are cheaper to care for, not requiring so much.

If you're struggling with how to pay bills and keep on top of things (whether you're low income or just need a little extra help), I would encourage you to check out Crown.org and use the calculators and planning tools. Honestly, when I was married, someone had given my husband and I a book called the Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples: A Lifetime Approach to Spending, Saving and Investing. It really helped us to get started with a proper budget. After getting divorced, I purchased a couple of Larry Burkett's books for just myself: A Family Budgeting Guide, Family Financial Workbook by Larry Burkett - A Practical Guide to Budgeting - Paperback - Revised Edition 2000 and How to Manage Your Money.

I find myself going over my budget every month, to make sure I'm on the right track and to see where I can improve it.

Another thing that has really been bothering me has to do with my precious, broken family. At prayer time Sunday night, my oldest had some very hard questions for me. She wanted to know why I divorced her father. I couldn't fight back the tears. Things I wanted to say, even if true, I couldn't. She is just too young to be occupied with what happened in the marriage. These kinds of things are difficult for adults. I don't have to work too hard to give them the truth, but I have to work especially hard to make sure I don't tell them more than they really need to know at the present time and to keep it light and hopeful. I admitted to her that I didn't want to get a divorce and that I didn't know the actual reason for it. Believe me, I've heard all kinds of things from my ex, but he has never really sat down and told me what was really going on.

I've been falsely accused of all kinds of crazy things. He keeps fighting for full custody and saying before court that I'm an unfit mother. Never has he actually sat down with me to level with me and really work "for the benefit of the children." The list just goes on. I got an email from him, talking about how he had a heart attack and made a deal with God...Your guess is as good as mine on that one...All I know is that regardless of the front he puts up, the lies he tells my children and the people around him, they are starting to pick it all apart. I'm doing my best to protect them and to keep animosity from building in their hearts, by helping then understand that no on is perfect. Even grown-ups make mistakes, but that doesn't mean God won't do what He promised.

That's why I'm still here. I've been knocked down and beat up, but God has always been faithful. Even though I'm not the nicest to be around lately, I still remember that God chose me as I am, problems, mistakes, and all. I do hope that I can get to feeling better soon.