The (temporarily) unemployed single mom

Well everyone, this last Friday, my boss pulled me into her office, and motioned for me to close the door. My first thought was, what am I in trouble for now? I sat down and waited as she took a deep breath, and said, after the end of the day today, we’re closing our doors until at least May.

Fuck.

I started tearing up, which is definitely not the reaction I thought I’d have, since I don’t particularly like my job. But I’m a single mom. What am I supposed to do for money? How am I supposed to take care of my daughter. I filed for unemployment, but it’s not likely I’ll get very much money- if I even filled out the application right.

I work in childcare, and I babysit for a lot of the families outside of work. I already had a couple tell me that, in the event of a closure, I could still watch their kiddos as a way to make some extra money. However, one of those kids, her parents are both doctors. They said they’d pay me a weekly salary, and my first thought was, great! And then I weighed in the factors. Folks in the medical profession are on the front lines during all of this COVID-19 outbreak. Meaning, they’re at a high risk of exposure. Meaning, if I was consistently in the home of two doctors, I am also at high risk exposure. My daughter would also be at a high risk of exposure. Everyone around us would then be at a high risk of exposure. So that was a no-go. A second family approached me to watch their daughter as well. Both of these parents have been working from home since the beginning of March, and pulled their kid out of childcare a couple of weeks before shit started to really hit the fan. This seemed like much safer of an option. They have limited contact with people, and my daughter and I also have limited contact. It would only be a couple days a week, and every dollar counts at this point.

But then, as of today, March 23, a shelter-in-place order was set in the state of Oregon, where I live. I cannot even take my daughter to the park right now, let alone watch someone else’s kid. So now I have to hope and pray that unemployment will be enough to hold us over in the meantime. I’m very lucky that I rent a basement apartment in my aunt’s house, so my rent is ridiculously cheap. Who knows when I’ll get to see my family and friends again. This is all so, so surreal.

So, if anyone knows of some ways to make money from home, please, let me know!

I Can’t Breathe

There are papers scattered on my coffee table. More on the dining room table. The dishes in the dishwasher need to be put away. The laundry from last week needs to be put away, too. That is, before I start doing this week’s laundry.

I need to clean. I need to do the laundry. I need to put the dishes away. I have homework to do. A project to work on. Groceries to buy.

It’s too much. My chest is tight. My heart is racing. I feel like I can’t breathe.

This hasn’t happened in a while. I don’t mean the mess, but I mean my anxiety. I’ve been feeling so much better lately. I’ve stayed focused on what’s important. I haven’t been letting the little things get to me.

But as I sit on my couch, typing this, I stare at the papers on the table, and I can’t bring myself to get up and move them. It’s as if once I start cleaning, even just a little, I won’t be able to stop. But it’s late. It’s 10:35pm. Too late to start cleaning my whole house. But my other option is to stew. To worry about how much I have to do tomorrow.

Why is this hitting me now? Is it because the holidays are coming up? Because the dosage of my medication got cut in half? I think it’s more the holidays than it is the meds. Or maybe the higher dosage was doing more than I thought it was. I thought I was in control, but maybe I wasn’t.