In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The life we live...

It amazes me...after all we've been through in our lives that people would feel we live in the lap of luxury...that we get everything handed to us and that the way we live our lives isn't "fair" because they have to work so hard for what they have.

Four and a half years ago, we lived in a beautiful newly built house in an upper middle class neighborhood.  Since I've had children, I've never worked outside of the home.  Although, I worked hard for my family, I always have and I always will.  I guess, in a sense, I had everything handed to me, but yet, I was never faulted at all for the way I lived my life.  I fit in with the "norm".  We had the house with the white picket fence enclosing an expensive playset and every outdoor toy you could imagine.  Our house was tastefully decorated and we spared no expense when it came time to daunt our children's rooms with a "theme".  We had nice cars, we all wore nice name brand clothes and shoes.  We ate well, never craving anything we couldn't have.  Our groceries were mostly delivered and no one took care of us quite like our "Schawn guy" did.  I used expensive name brand cleaning products.  It was often hard to chose which family pass we would use or which venue we would seek for family entertainment.  We went on family vacations. We lived a very comfortable life financially and we wanted for nothing.  I guess I was stuck up in my own little way, downing people who lived below my means. day...all of that changed!  I realized that our picture perfect family and lifestyle was as far from perfect as you could possibly be.  Literally, in the blink of an eye we lost everything and our lives would never be the same!  My family went through things that no one should ever have to go through.  The fear of losing it all never entered my mind, as the only thing I thought about was everything except the materialistic things in my life! We went from being an upper middle class family to living well below poverty.

Today, I have a new "husband".  We live in a house in a lower class neighborhood easily refered to as "the ghetto" I work hard for my family, I always have and I always will.  I'm not sure where we "fit in" now, as we are far from the "norm" and we live well below many peoples' means.  We do have a fence, but it is just a rusted chainlink fence enclosing the few outdoor toys that our kids have.  Our house is not "decorated".  Our rooms have no "themes".  We don't even have curtains or blinds and the few window coverings we do have are old sheets or blankets.  Our furniture does not match and most of the "new" things we get are from someone elses garbage (no we don't dig through garbage, but things are offered to us before someone takes them to the curb).  I have a van that gets us where we need to go, we have decent clothes but not very many of them, we have name brand shoes but only one pair each.  We eat, but I do often have to say no to things we don't "need" at the grocery store and since our refrigerator can not cool properly in this heat of the summer I keep the bare minimum in it when it is this hot and keep drinks in a cooler so the kids have access to what they want/need without getting yelled at for holding the fridge door open.  I don't buy expensive name brand cleaning products, I clean with natural products and make our own laundry detergent.  We don't have passes to anywhere, but we look for free places to entertain our family.  We don't go on family vacations.  The boys in our house get their haircuts in our own kitchen and us girls are treated about once a year to ours.  I don't get my nails done or my eyebrows waxed as I used to.  We have provided our new son with what he needs by buying everything used or things that were given to us.  We will not buy him diapers or wipes, but we have invested in a new cloth diaper stash for him and I can't wait to use his cloth wipes and homeade bum solution.  We were blessed with a wonderful shower for him at which time we received a lot of clothes and a new pack and play for him.  We are able to pay our bills and provide our kids with what they need without asking anyone for help and to us this is financially comfortable.  On more than one occasion we have lost most items we store in our basement due to raw sewage backing up there and on those occasions we've had to shit, shower and shave outside of our home for anywhere from a day to a week.  All but one of our bikes have been stolen out of our yard, we keep our basketball hoop locked to our fence.  We live well below the poverty level, but yet we do not seek the "welfare" we would qualify for.  Instead, we receive the minimum of government assistance available to us.  My children are covered under state medical insurance, simply because their sperm donor (aka, the legal father of  Macaw, Emu and Duckling) can't exactly provide insurance for them from his prison cell...however, this does not mean we "have it made".  Often, we don't have a choice of doctors or specialists and getting medical treatment approved is not always an easy task.  Having numerous children with health issues, we are truly blessed with this coverage but it doesn't come easy and we don't always get the treatment we need, or we have to wait an extremly long time for it.  We have been appealing Emu's growth hormone therapy for more than 7 months now, Eagle's lung medication had to be fought for as well, and just getting Hawk's allergy medication is quite a task and yes, my daughter does get her braces paid for because they are now a medical necessity however, we did not get to chose our orthodontist and by the time she gets them it will have taken about a year to go through the process.  My children are ensured the best education they could possibly get.  We are stuck up in our own little way, downing people who live above our means and those who think they are better than us. 

No amount of money could buy the love and happiness that fills our home.  I want for nothing more than I have today!  My children are spoiled, they have most of what they want and they never go without anything that they need. They help those who are less fortunate and they are taught never to judge.  My children are not snobs, they care about people for who they are on the inside not how they look on the outside.  They have learned that certain people, even family members will look down on us and judge us for the way we live.  I hope that they see that the way we live and the house we live in makes us no less than any of "them" who think they are so much better than us.

If we still lived in this house, in this neighborhood...would THAT really make us better people?  Would that make us more deserving of respect?  Would people be more willing to accept that I make my own laundry detergent or use cloth diapers?  Would people assume I live more financially comfortable simply because it "looks" like I do?  Would it make it more acceptable for us to get the minimum assistance that we qualify for?  Would it make it "ok" for me to have another child?  Would it be more acceptable for a grandparent to buy my child a gift, or would that still be considered a handout?  Most any of that really anyones business? 

For the record, I do not get everything handed to me for free and I often live in conditions that most people could not fathom.  Falcon and I work hard for our family, just because we don't have the same income as everyone else doesn't mean we don't work hard for our family.  For 7 months I handwashed laundry for my family of 8.  Not one person who found out about it said they would do the same for their family...does that mean I am more willing to work harder for my family than you are for yours?  Should I look down on you because you aren't willing to do the same and work as hard for your family? 

We do not ask anyone for help.  I do not have everything my heart could desire and I often go without things I need.  We do not try and keep up with anyone's "means" so that we are judged to be better people.  We live to satisfy no one other than ourselves.  Our happiness does not come from the amount of money we have and it can surely not be seen by the looks of the outside of our house and I don't see your family dancing in the rain.

As I look back at what brought us to this point in our lives and compare the life we had to the life we live, I am so very thankful for the broken road that led us here...this is right where we are "suppossed" to be. 

It amazes me...after all we've been through in our lives that people would feel we live in the lap of luxury...that we get everything handed to us and that the way we live our lives isn't "fair" because they have to work so hard for what they have.  If you want your children to be abused, so that you don't have to pay for their medical expenses or you want to live a life like ours and still strive to teach your kids that there are alway families that are less fortunate than you are...go right ahead and you will see that is isn't as cracked up as it appears to be.  Our lives are not easy, but my kids will be better people for it!

One thing is for sure...the way we got here, wasn't fair...but I still wouldn't trade my life for the world.  Most people could not walk a day in my shoes but I truly do love the life that I live!

The point is...I wasn't trash or looked down upon when I lived in "that" house with "that" lifestyle.  Becoming poor did not change who I am, in made me better. It just angers me that I left all that behind to do what was best for my kids and now I am judged for it and people look down on me and my family.  Instead of people seeing what amazing sacrifices I've made to keep my kids safe and judging me as the mother I am, they feel my kids are being cheated or not cared and we are judged simply because of the way we live now.  If you are one of "those" who judge me...ask yourself how you would judge me if I had kept my kids in that house and kept the lifestyle we lived then.  If I would have forced one or more of my children to endure horrific abuse so that we could sustain the lifestyle my children "apparently" deserve...what kind of mother would you think I am now, if that was the choice I would have made! .    

THINK...before you judge!

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