Thank You, Government Assistance

EDIT: I originally failed calculating correctly what I’d make after paying for daycare. I was $300 off (I’d be making $300 less than originally projected)… Obviously my college degree (read on) was not math-related. 

If I haven’t upset anyone yet, this might be the night. I think my ultimate goal in this whole blog thing must be for everyone reading to lose more and more respect as the posts go on. I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe brutal honesty is just my thing, and I truly love connecting with one or two people with my honesty in each post. I’d certainly hope for the latter, but the former definitely isn’t ruled out, either. Meh. I guess if I cared, I wouldn’t write these things, right?

Today we’re gonna talk about those Benjamins. That’s right, this post is about money.

As the Notorious B.I.G puts it:
I don’t know what they want from me
It’s like the more money we come across
The more problems we see

(Here’s the full version, if you realllllllly want it)

Introduction

I’d like to point out, before I get to the nitty gritty of this post, that I graduated magna cum laude in undergrad. I was on Dean’s List all throughout grad school. I hold a Master’s degree in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership for Secondary Education (gahd it just sounds bogus, doesn’t it?), and I taught ninth grade English for three years. Before that, I spent a summer working four jobs at the same time (the fourth job, as you might guess, didn’t last for very long), so I could get caught up on (and pay) the bills.

I am not pointing out these facts to brag. I’m telling you my background so you can see for yourself that I am a hard worker. I do what I need to do in order to get the bills paid and to put food on the table. If you decide to look down on me after knowing this, well… may poo get on you.

Student debt

Anyone want to take a gander at how much student debt I’m in, now that I have a Master’s degree that got me absolutely nothing except for a raise that didn’t even cover my monthly loan payments? Anyone? Anyone?

$85,000.

That is a small house and also a VERY nice car, in case you’d like to compare it to something actually substantial.

Thank you, Obama

104656161-GettyImages-688156110.1910x1000.jpg

Thanks, Obama, for setting up payment plans that won’t put me in jail, or bankruptcy, or the morgue. With my measly $2,032/ mo. paycheck (after taxes) as a teacher, I only had to spend $90 a month on paying off my INSANE student debt. If you count the $50/ mo. raise I “earned,” I guess we could say I was paying $40/ mo. for student loans. Not TOO bad, right?

(It does show just how disrespected teachers are, though. Like, I made $500 a week after getting my Master’s… I don’t like anyone enough to try and corral them into tiny classrooms for 7 hours a day, and then force them to stay seated and listen – never mind get paid $500 a week and be expected to do it happily)

(back on track, starting……. now)

Daycare 

I’m not sure if any of you have figured it out yet, but Cheeky, Jr. is just about the most important thing to me on this planet. I care more about him than wine (Wuuuuuuuttt), Netflix, my phone, the roof over my head, and the food in my belly.

And, surprisingly (because, you know… he was a… surprise. OKAY, he was a mistake. A big, glorious, wouldn’t-change-it-for-the-world, mistake), when I found out I was pregnant, I was already thinking of ways I could keep him close to home.

  1. Move to Florida, convince Mom to retire, have her watch the baby, continue to teach.
  2. Convince one of Papa Cheek’s family members to watch the baby, continue to teach.
  3. Quit work, be broke for a bit, raise my own baby.
  4. Nope, 3 sounded pretty damn good.

Turns out that if I did want to put Cheeky, Jr in daycare and keep trying to handle a bunch of rowdy, rude, hormonal kids, then the cheapest I’d find is probably around $500 a month.

I firmly believe that cheaper is NOT better for most instances in life, which definitely makes me question the type of care my child would have received, as well as the other kids he’d be exposed to (man, now I’m sounding pretentious).

BUT, even at only $500 a month for child care, that’s putting me down to $1500 a MONTH in pay, which is $375 a week, which is almost at $9 an hour.

Fuck.

That.

Noise.

Currently

Oh, currently?

Currently, I’m sucking the damn system for (almost) everything it’s got. I’m sucking it so dry, and I don’t feel bad about it in the least bit.

(Ohh, so I’m starting to see why I could hate you now…)

My Part-Time Job

I work 25-30 hours a week making $12 an hour. That’s shit, right? (Yes, it’s shit.) (I’m honestly getting paid what I deserve… on most days… but it’s still shit if you’re trying to raise a family.) But, if you think back to what I just said I’d be making for my kid to go to a cheap ass daycare, I’m making about the same, if not more money, working part-time as I would full-time.

The pros:

  • I get to spend more time with Cheeky, Jr. – first and foremost, I’ll do what I have to for some quality time with my baby.
  • The only person who stresses me out on the regular is my boss, who can sometime resemble a 9th grader, but is actually a grown ass adult, which means I can tell him he’s acting like a 9th grader without worrying I’ll get sent to the principal’s office (if you’re reading this, boss man, and you’re expecting me to apologize, you’ve got the wrong lady…)
  • My boss is one person who sometimes acts like a 9th grader, compared to 120 actual 9th graders acting like 9th graders all the time (see what I did there?)
  • I can stay home with Cheeky, Jr. when he’s sick without having to worry about using all my sick days (and working from home is an actual possibility, as opposed to most full-time jobs)
  • The money is (about) the same
  • There’s, like, at least 15 more that I could rattle off, but I’m not trying to bore you to death, and I think you get it…

The cons:

Daycare

Well, thanks to my ovaries’ incredible sperm selection, and because Papa Cheeks and I make less than a certain combined income, Cheeky, Jr is provided assistance for daycare through his Native American tribe. That means they pay about 80% of his tuition to a private daycare (where CJ’s aunt just happens to work – win win!). The paperwork is a pain in the ass, and you have to follow a whole bunch of rules (makes sense – they’re paying a bunch of money for your kid, right?), but it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Student Loan Payments

Because I work part-time at $12 an hour, my loan payments have gone from $90 a month to $0 a month.

Health Insurance

Since I don’t make much money, I can’t afford the regular health insurance, so I’m on the equivalence of Medicaid.

What better time to ride out government health care than when you’re in your 20s, right? CJ gets EVERYTHING for free (even though he already does through the Native Americans, but additional FREE health insurance is a plus), and my insurance is only $40 and covers all the essentials.

(From what I understand, I pay $4 for an ambulance ride. What do you pay?)

The Prospects of a Full-Time Job

Daycare

A full time job means the combined income between me and Papa Cheeks would be too high for the Native Americans to pay for CJ’s daycare. Even if I only  made $2500 a month (which sounds legit compared to what I’m making), $900 of that would go to daycare, or we’d have to find another, cheaper place to take CJ during the day (which is not happening). That leaves me with a whopping $1600 left over. Again, more than I’m making now at my PART TIME JOB – but not by much (at all).

Student Loans

A full time job also means my student loans will come back. So, we’re at $1600 a month now? That would be AT LEAST $90/mo for student loans, so the income I’ll actually see (not including all my other bills) would be about $1500 a month (getting closer to what I make with my part time job…)

Health care

Sure, health care would be better. I’d have more OB/GYN options, I wouldn’t have to have a referral to go to any “special” doctor, my regular doctor options would be broader. But again, I’m in my twenties, and hopefully by the time CJ is in kindergarten, Cheeky Things will be a raving success.

Time

Too many kids in CJ’s classes get dropped off before 8 a.m. and get picked up after 5 p.m.

If these kids are like CJ, they’re probably going to bed at 7 p.m.

By the time these parents leave work, pick up their kids, and settle at home, they’re spending less than 2 hours a day just hanging with their babies.

No thank you!

The Point

What’s the point of slaving away at a full time job, that I’d probably hate and resent because it’s taking precious time away from CJ, when I can make just about the same amount of money, work less, spend more time with my baby, feel less stressed, work on my own business, and still get all of the benefits of a full time job?

Another Point

No wonder why people stay on welfare for so long! They’re getting everything they’d be getting if they worked… but they’re not working.

The Fucked up (but also super awesome) Point

Some countries allow parents – that’s PLURAL, moms AND dads – PAID leave when they have a baby – for up to THREE YEARS. In America, we’re lucky if we get six weeks of maternity leave, God forbid we expect PAID maternity leave (yeah, right – start saving now, sister).

WHY?

Who knows, honestly? Probably has to do with an underlying expectation in this country that you either work hard for what you want, or you’re a piece of shit.

who knows, though…

The Moral

  1. I could have probably just put a post with my bank account history of the past two years and saved everyone some time, so, uh, if you’re still reading on… thanks!
  2. Babies need their parents love and attention as much as possible when they’re hot out of the oven, so don’t feel guilty if you’re like me and you decide that milking the system for what it’s worth is going to give you as much time (as you can afford) with your babe. It’s SO important in the long run to establish that connection with your little nugget – and I refuse to let “corporate America” take those precious moments away from me.

The End.

I sincerely hope I didn’t bore you to death… I really thought this would be more of a controversial post….

Okay, really… the end.

-Momma Cheeks

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