You may be wondering "success sis, really?" Yes, really!
Here's how my Single Mom story goes: I found out I was pregnant my senior year in college at the age of 21. My mom was not impressed, nor did I expect her to be. She forwarned me early in life about sex outside of marriage, having babies without help, and the consequences that come along with it. I already knew the relationship was a whole hot mess, so I immediately braced myself for being a "single mom".
I'm the eldest of 5 children and I felt I let not only my parents but my siblings down too. Before pregnancy, I had dreams to take an internship at Disney for Information Technology and (at the time) earn my Master to Doctorate degree for FREE. I was the only Black person and Black young woman that majored in Computer Science at Lakeland University (College) class of 2009, I had a plan y'all. I was on track to graduate early and everything. THEN...
...Things changed once I had Kennedi. I moved back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and stayed with my parents. Long story short, I knew I wanted my "own" stuff so I rented one of my mom's properties for 6 months. During this time she continued to talk to me regarding homeownership. After deep consideration, and thinking about my daughter, it finally registered and I moved back in with my parents to save money for my downpayment. I bought my new car, and 9 months later bought me a home for my daughter and me. (I do suggest buying your home before your car, but I didn't know better at the time.) I'm so blessed to have a mom who spoke positivity and encouraged me to buy a home at 24 years old.
Here's a list of some or most services I applied for that helped me:
Education- State Choice Program I always wanted Kennedi to have one of the best educations. I applied for the Choice program as soon as she turned 3.
First Time Homebuyers Program Household and income size allowed me to qualify for special down payments and programs in the area.
FoodShare (Food Stamps)- Help me put food on the table. Even though I got $136, I was grateful!
WIC- After two months of breastfeeding, I couldn't keep up. This allowed me to pay for my baby's formula,
State Insurance Benefits- I was a part-time employee and couldn't afford the healthcare plans from my employer. When I transition to Full-Time, I had to pay a premium of $21. This helped a lot because Kennedi went to the doctor often.
Those are honestly all the programs I used! Being able to start there and be where I am at today is a blessing. So sis, If you're reading this, put your pride to the side. Partake in the system designed to HELP YOU. HELP you get where you want to be. Help you save money!
Always put yourself in a position where you can WIN for you and yours.
So many people were shocked to find out I had the Wisconsin Choice Program and worked a good job. While others were shocked to find out I had FoodShare. I truly had to put my pride aside and do what I had to do. Always put yourself in a position where you can WIN for you and yours, even if that means signing up for one of those programs. I was a young single mom, being in my senior year in college, and I wanted to finish school. I secured sitters if I could (only my mom, siblings, and best friend) could watch her. If they were not available, Kennedi was on the road with me driving 45 -60 minutes to Lakeland for two classes. I knew I had to grind and there was no time for excuses.
Once I found better employment and no longer qualified for those services, I surrounded myself with like-minded people. These people will automatically push you to be great and want more. During that time I figured out how can I continue being a better mom and provide for my daughter. Later on, I enrolled into a Master's Degree Program while working Full-Time and I knew I couldn't be stopped.
Sis, don't beat yourself up, you got this! You can find success during this single period in your lift too. Don't forget to treat yourself to vacations, then include your kids. Take your child out to dates and enjoy that mommy time. Once you meet the man of your dreams, things may change - have more kids, less time spent with one another, etc.
I hope I encouraged you to find success as a Single Mom. You are doing an AMAZING JOB!