money

Going, Going…..

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It’s been a while since I have written in this space and not because there is a lack of things to write. I have poetry fragments, real life ruminations on mami’hood and other matters. Pero honestly I have been fighting against a funk. The pace of my vida makes it easy to just role with it, especially since it’s the summer and I don’t get many breaks from being a mom.

I’ve been applying for jobs because a leaner summer tutoring schedule has lowered my weekly take home cash flow. So far the one interview that was scheduled was a no show, meaning I dressed in my interview clothes, printed out my writing samples and resume, and waited outside the office for 15-20 minutes. No one ever came. I’m pissed about it because it was work that I could easily do and it was close to casa mala, pero I’ll take it as a sign.

The truth is that no matter how smart I may be, I’m not very marketable as a single mami college dropout. Because poroto isn’t potty trained yet my childcare options are limited, not that I could afford outside childcare anyway. I can do many jobs that I see listings for but my lack of a degree usually means people won’t give me a second look. And here’s the sad shit, some of the work I have done for other people to help them get degrees means that I should have three b.a’s and three master’s degrees.

An ex of mine called me a stereotype, a statistic, which in some ways is true except for the multiple ways it’s not. The time that I dedicate to my writing and organizing work, to mami’ing, to tutoring other children, isn’t valuable according the the system we live in. I am worth way more than my net worth tells you, but all the matters is that credit score or paycheck, especially to the landlord and utility companies.

I’m looking forward to the Allied Media Conference in a few days. I’m looking at it as somewhat of a retreat, a moment to recenter myself and my work, besides I am going to be in the company of women who inspire me and surround me with love. I am excited to share this experience with my older daughter, la mapu.

Even though SPEAK! cd sales and a scholarship from the Women’s Equity Media Summit have helped pay for airfare, when I got my cheap ass flight I didn’t realize that I would have to pay extra if I wanted to sit next to la Mapu, which is kind of important since she hasn’t flown since she was um 4. I’m hoping I can pack both of our clothes onto carry-ons so that we don’t have to pay a luggage fee, then there is ground transportation and food. And um do you have any idea how much almost 12 year olds eat? carajo.

So please consider making a donation to me or to any of the other amazing mujeres who will be at the AMC in a few days, it will help sustain us and the work we do.





The Universe Needs to Give a Mama a break

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I’ve been trying hard to write here everyday, and write meaningful cosas, poems, experiences etc etc, pero no te voy a mentir, it’s feeling hard.

I am struggling to feed my kids and keep a roof over their heads.
I am fighting for health insurance for them which I already wrote a little here and my kids still don’t have their insurance cuz apparently my caseworker has never had a client that has filed her own taxes online. Really?

Then my tia has gotten worse. Her brain cancer has spread which is causing all sorts of family drama.

Parenting a moody tween is taking it’s toll on me. La Mapu is fierce and little too much like me. We will have a sit down this weekend and map some strategies.

Add to the mix brokeness , tech issues, and heartache and well you have the makings for one moody mala.

I’m trying and I guess that’s all I can really do.

What Mujeres like Nadya Suleman and I Deserve

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I was looking forward to my tax refund this year. It totaled almost two month’s worth of rent and meant that maybe I could get new chairs so that my kids and I aren’t sitting on stools from the 99 cent store. I was excited about buying a proper sofa bed for la mapu to make casa mala look and feel more like a casa. Oh yeah and I was gonna register my kids and I for the Allied Media Conference.

The only reason I got a tax refund this year was because I don’t make that much money at all, enough to qualify me for the earned income tax credit plus the child credit. I even paid money when I did my taxes this year because I am self-employed. I did the right thing, paid money into a system that would use it to help pay for wars and ICE raids certainly the system isn’t paying for me to have health care or even eat. And yes, I am one of those millions of people in the U.S. who has debt, one of them being a student loan from years ago to help cover what a scholarship wouldn’t. Pero check it, when you are living day to day (fuck week to week) the big bills are lower on the list than diapers, food, rent, light, gas. And I made the mistake of looking forward to something a little greater than living hand to mouth, something a little more than telling my kids to make sure that bottle of juice lasts cuz I’m not sure if we can afford another one.

The feds took my earned income tax credit and my child tax credit, every penny of it, and applied it to my debt. Many will say, well that was smart, well you owed them the money, and implied in the message and by the actions of the feds is that I, as a poor struggling mother am not worthy enough to decide how to spend money so someone else will decide it for you. Forget that I was looking forward to not stressing if I would have rent money for little while. Mujeres como yo should never be so comfortable.

I am thinking of Nadya Suleman, who isn’t even named anymore but rather has been transformed into some sort of comic book villainess, and how she is slammed for being on food stamps and daring to get a manicure. I’m a mother of two and I would love a manicure, a few precious moments without children, a few moments that are completely mine. She has 14 kids and is under a media and social microscope. Let the mujer have a damn manicure. Pero mujeres como ella should never be so comfortable.

We should never forget our place and think for a moment that we can breath without a weight on our espaldas, even for a minute, an hour, a week, a month. Such privilege is not for mujeres like us.

In the Mami’Hood : One Familia, Three Levels of Health Care

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No entiendo.
No entiendo how in my little familia, the three of us have three different levels of healthcare.

Today I went it to recertify my kids for their State Child Health Insurance, aka S-CHIP, in NYC it’s Child Health Plus.
La Mapu may have scoliosis and may need a brace. I was hoping that the shift in my income, from partnered parent to single parent would at least move my kids from Child Health Plus into Medicaid so that I could get braces for La Mapu. Medicaid pays for braces, Child Health Plus doesn’t. Maybe I would even qualify for insurance and get an IUD.

I called my local recertification person, with whom I had been playing fun tag with for days. She told me to come in today, right away, since the insurance is set to expire soon for the kids. So I grabbed my papers, put poroto in the stroller and walked 15 blocks to the office. I walked up stairs with a toddler and a stroller only to meet a note telling me that she was having lunch.

Really?

I called her cell phone and told her I was here. She stopped eating and opened the door.

Pero no.

I faced two challenges. The first, because my income barely covers my rent, there was a question if the children could qualify for anything. This was the same problem I faced when I applied for food stamps. Porque I have decided not to apply for cash benefits, and submit myself to that level of hell and humiliation (not that I am putting those down that receive cash benefits. I can survive, barely, without it so one less govn’t intervention, the better), I make too little? I even told the interviewer that I didn’t understand a system that made it so hard for people to get help when they need it. She told me, in Spanish, I don’t make the rules.

The second challenge, was that once I had explained and shown enough income, the three of us, my children and me, all have different levels of health care access.

Miss Poroto qualified for Medicaid.
La Mapu qualified for Child Health Plus. No braces for her.
I qualify for nothing. Thank god I’m not getting laid anyway to worry about getting pregnant.

Next challenge: paying rent when child support hasn’t come in it.

Thank god at least we have food.