Sunday, November 13, 2016

Constant state of

Hello all!

I've had a hard time with blogging, I truly want to keep doing's just hard to find the good. Believe me, I know there is good in my life. I have some truly wonderful people in my life, I have a great job, I have a healthy and happy little boy, I am, for the most part, healthy, I have a place to live...I can see the good...sometimes.

I live in a constant state of worry financially. I've borrowed more money than I'd like to admit from family and friends. I've worked at the park district making barely anything. I work recess duty during my lunch. I ride the bus as a supervisor. I've tutored. I've been trained and have worked as an ABA therapist. And, yet I've found myself having to scrounge up coins to buy milk. I literally pay just enough of my bills so things don't get turned off. I've sacrificed prescriptions and doctor visits that I need because I can't afford it. I would do anything for my little mister. Yet, I feel like a failure at life.

Cooper's father pays the abysmal support that the court ordered either late or misses payments constantly since he changed jobs and it no longer gets garnished from his wages. He all together stopped paying the arrearage and the medical (insurance) support back in July.

I think he believes that I don't need the money or that the money doesn't actually go to Cooper. It does. Daycare costs $135 per week. Food and housing and utilities all cost money. I get almost all of Cooper's clothing from other people.

He treats child support as an outstanding debt. I am forced to borrow money to pay an attorney to force him to be responsible. Everyone keeps saying go through the state child support enforcement. It is an.absolute.joke. They've been working on it since July. All the while everyone in my village is helping to support his son. He doesn't think twice arriving at my door with yet another excuse or simply "you'll get the money when I give it to you". I am not a debt. Cooper is not a debt. He is made of your flesh and blood and deserves to be treated as such. While you are out with your significant other spending money that is your sons, I live in fear that something will be shut off or that I won't have money for milk. This is no joke. This is no exaggeration. I am barely able to breathe. Do you think this impacts your son?

Cooper wants a birthday party. I haven't been able to give him one since he turned one. It's embarrassing. I can't even begin to think about Christmas. At what point will I be able to financially support my son without needing help?

There is good. I have great people. I have a great kid. I love my job. I love my class. I have to keep repeating to myself that I am not a failure. I am a good mom. I feel like a charity case. I'm beyond tired of asking and having to get help. I am so tired of living in a constant state of ick.

I am not a failure. I am a good mom.I am not a failure. I am a good mom.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Building a Village

I never put much thought into motherhood. I figured, hell, I can tame 24 wild kittens every year. Being a Mom would be easy. Momming isn't easy. I don't think it's easy for anyone. Oy, the guilt that comes with being a Mom is crazy, I tell you. No one ever told me how guilty I would feel for the smallest amount of time or money that I put towards me.

So, I had this image of being a working Mom with a loving spouse. A lovely house. A fabulous job. Ya know what I hadn't pictured?

A husband of 15 years stealing from his employer of over 10 years. The endless lies that followed. A house that went into foreclosure over a year before I knew it. A depleted account. More lies. Escorts on Craigslist. More lies.

I was Momming alone when Cooper was exactly 8 months old.
I took this picture the day before I became a Single Mom. 8-9-12

My income has barely sustained us. Child support has been ridiculous. I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease. Momming hasn't been easy at all.

My family, well, most of my family isn't family at all. They arrived to see the trainwreck, marveled in the awesome shit show that my life had become and then left once I started to rebuild.

Many of the friends that I surrounded myself with were not truly friends. Just because you are a friend doesn't mean you get to spew whatever venom you feel like spewing. Don't get me wrong, I had a few friends that were amazing, but overall, many that I called friends were people that were extremely judgmental and had no problem saying what they felt even when it made me feel even worse than I already did. Even worse were the ones that were talking or whispering behind my back, just loud enough for me to hear.

Over the last few years, I have come to the conclusion that I needed a village. I seriously can't do it alone. I think many of those people who I once called my friends can't honestly imagine what it's like to go from what I thought was happily ever after to literally drowning in life. I've had to rebuild my life from the ground up. It doesn't just happen over night. Mistakes have been made. You who judge can't begin to fathom. It's been four years, and I'm still rebuilding.

I started to build my village. Those who judged, beat me down instead of built me up, lacked empathy or support have been casted aside. I've turned to people that are better. People that have given me so much strength and support that I am truly humbled. My cup runneth over each and every single day. I never feel like I can ever repay the debt or do enough for them in return.

I have always been a person that fancied myself super woman. I've always hated to ask others for help. I felt it made me weak. I always felt ashamed. It's still hard for me to ask but honestly, I'm choosing who to ask more wisely.

Why is it so hard for us to admit that we need a village? Isn't that what we are all here to do?

I recently started reading Constance Hall's blog...if you don't read her, you should. She's real, funny, and a great read! She wrote about building her village and it amazed me that someone else was asking the same questions as me. She's a Queen, and I'm learning to be one myself. It only took 40 years. I love the notion of being a Queen but for me, I am much more fond of being a unicorn.

Being a unicorn started as a joke last year. I told my little Kinder-Hoppers that I was going to be a unicorn when I grew up. That little joke took on a life of it's own. One of the most FABULOUS Mom's I've met (also my room parent) knew the joke and wrote me the best letter I've ever been given as a teacher.

I don't just want to be a Queen, I want to be a Unicorn Queen.

Today I told my kiddos that I am a unicorn on the weekends. It became one of the funniest conversations ever. One little guy said, "You're not a unicorn, you're just a normal person!" I began arguing, "I am not a normal person!" One of my little EL nuggets said, "Ms. Martin, you're absolutely adorable." He was trying to say "absolutely abnormal". Best.Unicorn.Story.Ever.

Date #2 with guy #18 maybe, is on Saturday. Will there be a third date??? We shall see.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Dating at 40

Remember when I said my blog would become a hodge podge of this so called life? Well, here goes!

I've been single for quite sometime now. My ex-boyfriend and I parted ways on terrible terms and then good terms and remained friends. I decided this past June I would really put forth some effort into dating.

So, for real, dating as an adult in a complete and utter shit show. There is no other way to put it. Everyone who is married is all like, "you'll meet someone when you're not looking," "you have to be happy alone first," "go to the supermarket, go to church." Y'all are full of bananas. Most of you have been married for ever or have been with your significant other before you had any type of real responsibilities, so shutty.

Some real things. I am happy with me. The end. Ya know who is at churches and supermarkets in the Chicago south suburbs, married fellas and families. If I'm not going to look for someone, is he just going to appear on my doorstep? Ya know how many single 40ish year old men work in a Pre-K-2nd grade building? None. Groceries and house errands during much of my free time. No opportunities there.

So, here I am 40 with a four year old dictator, living in...well, a more populated version of Stars Hollow sans Luke and even Kirk. No single 40 year old ladies to go prowl with. Blah blah blah

Dating at 40 7th grade classroom bad.

Which brings me to online dating. Honestly, it seems to be the only way to meet people. It's awful. Don't ever get divorced. Online dating is the equivalent of getting junk mail. So many options but most of it, just isn't for me. It's hard for both men and women alike. I've shared stories...lots of them!

Sheer entertainment. Here's my profile...

Who knew that writing about yourself would be such a difficult task? Let's see, I have a four and half year old son who I absolutely adore....that being said, he is a tyrannical dictator. Seriously, the.worst.boss.ever. He has made me a better person...I try my hardest to treat others as I would like to be treated. I would do just about anything to help a friend, a family member, or a co-worker. I love making others feel important and happy.

I am sarcastic and can be funny. Most people say I have a sense of humor similar to a guys. I probably would be described as loud once you get to know me. I love funny movies and funny people. If you are super serious, you need not apply. I enjoy being outside and going out, but I also love to be domestic. I love cooking for the people I love and have been told I am a good cook. 

I teach Kindergarten and it is what I was born to do.

I hate the gym. If you seek a girl with a great body, keep looking, for real. I lost a lot of weight in the last 4 years though, so BOOYA!

Everything I know about sports has been learned by watching Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, it's on episode 6, so as you can imagine, I know a sh*tton!

I am looking for someone who shares the same values; someone who is honest, kind, hardworking, and funny. I want to find someone I can have a good time with and we can see where it goes from there. There's nothing wrong with you wanting a one night stand, but I'm looking for something real. No smokers, please.

Ok I use to be all like let's do drinks or have coffee...but honestly, if we don't suddenly fizzle out, I'm open to lunch, appetizers, or dinner. I don't like to chat on here forever, but there will be some messaging to ensure that our first meet goes somewhat ok :) 

I'm tired of the sh*tshow dates. 
No, we are not going to have sex in your car or my car...
Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not do it here or there.
I would not do it anywhere.

It's just not my thing to have sex on the first date. So, don't try to feel me up in the parking lot either. I will do my best to keep my paws off you too :)

I feel like my profile is decent. I mean I'm not a model nor am I a writer. It will do.

Anywho, I decided the last two weeks of June that it was time to dive head first and try, really try. I would chat with anyone I found remotely interesting and arrange a meet. Get the first meet out of the way, like tearing off a bandaid. There's no point in messaging or texting over and over...even a phone call isn't enough. Although, sometimes a phone call is just enough. Speak clearly!! Between June 24th and the time school had started August 21st, I had gone out on 15 dates. Each one was interesting to say the least. Each one resulted in being asked out on a second date. I accepted and went on a total of 3 second dates.

Some casualties....
* Guy who had the most obnoxious laugh that EVERYONE in the restaurant stared at us. All.night.long.
* Guy who has been single for 14 years and knows everything about women and dating. Also, he's not a smoker, but he smoked about 8 cigarettes throughout the evening on a patio. He called my four times between 11PM and 9AM and sent four texts. Also, enjoys role playing on Friday nights.
* Guy who was so over the top into dating, he wanted to be exclusive by date 2. Very insecure. Was very angry when I said let's go slow.
* Guy who didn't let me speak for about 2 hours. Which is saying something because girl likes to talk!
* Guy who wanted a relationship. Tried to feel me up LITERALLY in a parking lot. Sent some graphic pics in the morning. Nobody wants to see that, nobody.

They've all given me a lot to think and talk about for sure.

I'm meeting a guy this week. Keep your fingers crossed, lol!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Glue: Love it or Hate It

I am the teacher in the Kindergarten hallway that loathes glue sticks! I use them at the beginning of the year and then around the second week of October, I've had it with them! Every year in the middle of a project, the 8th kiddo in a row will come to me with an issue with their glue stick.

  • Can't get the cap off because they don't have the fine motor capability
  • Can't get the cap off because they turned up the glue so high that it fastened to the glue. This is an amazing accomplishment, seeing as most of the time the glue doesn't even keep paper glued together
  • It's dried out
  • It no longer goes up or down for unknown reasons
  • The glue is mushed because they have turned it up so high and smashed it on their paper or their hands, head, shirt, or shoe
I hate glue sticks. They don't even work that well. Now I know you are all thinking, well, you've gotta teach them how to use them correctly. Y'all, I've been teaching littles for 17 years. I go through every rule and procedure for everything!! 

I digress. So, mid October I break out the glue bottles. I'll tell ya what....I hate them too, just not as much! I probably don't despise them as much because virtually EVERYONE down the K hall hates them and gives me their Elmers, so I have an abundance. This allows me to toss bottles whenever I feel like it.

I don't always toss them. I usually pluck off the orange part and stick a paperclip up there and clean out the dried glue gunk. I find glue bottles to be a necessary evil for a few reasons, but I will get to that in a bit.

Enter the glue sponge. Have I used Do they look awesome...yes. Will I use them...Well, I debated all this summer.

And, here's what...

I believe that glue sticks and glue bottles are a necessary evil in a primary classroom. A lot is developed and learned by using them. Developing fine motor is probably the best reason I can give. Students strengthen their hands by pulling off the cap, by turning the dial, by twisting the orange cap, and by squeezing the bottle. In a time that adults are more apt to turn on the tv or set an IPAD in a little ones hand, we need to get those fingers and hands developing and moving as much as possible. I don't know about you, but my kiddos struggle with glue, pencils, and scissors because they have had limited exposure to those things. I am also an advocate for playdough....I'll discuss this later.

Love it or hate it, glue sticks and glue bottles should be a part of the primary classroom.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Excruciatingly Hard

April 2014 was my my last blog post. I've missed it A LOT. I've missed creating things A LOT. Life happened in the most unexpected ways, and I simply lost my mojo. I'm here because I know that something is definitely missing. I use to find creating things and giving them away to be one of the best things in my life, so maybe this will be the something that is missing.

I was going to gloss over where I've been and the unexpected turns that life has brought me. I planned on sticking with what this blog was originally written help teachers. I'm not going to gloss over it. Why am I going to share it all? I always invited everyone into my life, I shared the birth of my son, I shared part of the story that turned me to TeachersPayTeachers....and I intend to share my life.

Everything is not rainbows and unicorns. I am a 40 year old single Mom and Teacher that has been struggling since May 2012. I'm doing it alone. Wait a second, not completely alone...I have searched and found a good support system. They help me emotionally. They help when I just need a break. And, people....there are so many days that I just need a break.

I am a full time teacher and I have struggled to make ends meet on my salary. Child support has been shotty to say the least. Last year, I got a second job at our park district as a Coordinator. I worked 3:15-6PM, Monday-Friday. I also worked as a tutor on Saturdays. Need I say there is something wrong with our system that a single Mom cannot afford to stay afloat on one full time teacher's salary?

Last year was unbelievably difficult. It wasn't just hard on me, but it was hard on the love of my life, Cooper. He's going to be five in December. I can't even believe it! He is the.worst.boss. I've ever had. He really is a tyrannical dictator. That is my fault. I feel guilty for not always being home. I feel guilty that he has a very different life than I had envisioned. I feel guilty that I can't give him everything I'd like to. I feel guilty we've moved several times. Oy-vay, there is a whole lotta guilt!!! He is sooooo unbelievably funny. He's a smart boy. He can be so sweet.

I also struggled with my health, but not nearly as much as when I was first diagnosed with Mono. I have struggled since then with random fevers and chills and fatigue. Believe me, they have tested me for everything and I've tried a ton of supplements and vitamins. Every so often (especially if I'm stressed), I will wake up with pain in my body. I then get the chills and a fever. Then I'm exhausted and in pain the rest of the day. The next day, I'm usually fine. It's bizarre, and there isn't anything I can do for it.

There has also been unbelievable good things in my life. I have found great friends that have helped me in ways that I will never be able to repay. I have moved to the town that I work in. I have found a community that I am proud to call home, and I know that my son and I are so lucky to live, work, and play here.

I still absolutely love teaching Kindergarten. My kiddos and families make me strive to be better. Many of my colleagues are not just that...many of them are friends and a few are our adopted family. I am truly lucky in so many ways.

My blog is most certainly going to change. Hopefully, evolve into something better. I still want the same thing, I want to help teachers. Maybe sharing everything...not just all the cool or engaging things that are going on in my classroom, will help teachers that are struggling, help the single Moms that are guilt ridden...or maybe it will just be me giving my two cents about the world I live in.

It doesn't matter because I'm back.