Looking back at my life let me tell you from experience; when I spent months on NAU assistance after escaping my abusive marriage I really appreciated the ability to stay at home with my kids but did not appreciate having Government water the seeds I had planted.
I only left the house in the days if I had to get groceries and while they were at school and the baby was sleeping I cooked, cleaned and prepared hand-written, home-made leasons for my school-aged daughters to supplement their learning.
When food ran low before our next voucher, I sat with my older girls (then about 7 and 6 yrs old) and apologized to them for our struggles, I held them and cried and made them promise not to make my mistakes – I told them they would only go hungry with me a few times but if they concentrate on their education then when they become women like mommy they will never be hungry again and they had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and never have to make them.
I gave God thanks that my life was the sacrifice for them to see what happens if you dont take your future seriously and commit to walking right.
My focus remained making them top academic leaders; I stayed tough and reminded them daily that their freedom lied with knowledge. I spoke to them woman-to-growing-women and was not afraid to criticise myself and beg for their forgiveness – I never made myself feel that as an adult my children were not worthy of my humble admittance to the wrongs in my life that were affecting them.
I apologized for not choosing a better father, for not being able to afford to buy them new clothes, for not having $2 for dress-down days and that their friends knew they were on welfare…
… when I was alone at home – I cried, I screamed, I pulled my hair and trembled with shame and regret – I refused to accept what I had allowed to happen in my children’s lives through my own stupidity and I refused to become comfortable with the dependent existence I had forged for our family at that time – I prayed and made a committment to NEVER stand in line at NAU again when it was over (and still praying!) because it was too easy, too simple and my kids deserved my sweat, my blood and my hard work.
I applied to jobs everyday, ensured my kids were comfortable, I put ads up on classified websites and did people’s hair, lash extensions, sold mail order clothes and products to make a few hundred dollars a month extra to supplement our welfare benefits and so my kids could at least have cash for field trips, dress down days and so we could take the public bus to the beach… I knew Bs and Cs werent good enough and I knew my kids are just as capable as any others to be at the top… I knew they deserved more, deserved the best and deserved even more than I could give – but I was willing to give all I had. It took rock bottom to figure it all out.
There is NO EXCUSE to remain flat on your ass… NO EXCUSE to not persevere through hard times… NO EXCUSE to not overcome trials and NO EXCUSE to not put your children first. Even if you cannot feed them for the 18 yrs they are your babies, set them up with knowledge and education so that they can feed themselves!!!