Back in February, I made birthday resolutions...let's check in on those, since my next birthday is looming large in front of me...
I picked 5 things I wanted to do in the next year:
1. Volunteer more.
2. Blah blah, exercise more.
3. Eat more fruit.
4. Go on vacation.
5. Get more child support.
Hmm...I know someone is keeping track somewhere, so let's see how I did:
This will be easy...
#1 - nope
#2 - nope
#3 - YES
#4 - nope
#5 - YES!!!!
2 out of 5!!! That's almost 50%. Not so great---but let's look closer....
#1: I actually had a bit of a GI issue come to light in late February and from May - September, I was on ultra-super-light duty. I was told my surgery success rate is currently 50% and one of the ways they suspect it will be successful is to have very little physical activity. Most of my volunteering events are not very physically active anyway, but um, 50% success rate? I will do ANYTHING to make it a success. So I cancelled my planned events for 4.5 months.
#2: See #1.
#3: YES - I did eat more fruit, which wasn't actually hard considering I barely ate any to start with...but GI issues LOVE fruit. Nuff said.
#4: See #1. Surgery is expensive. 4.5 months of very little activity means no vacationing allowed even if I had money. Nuff said.
#5: WOOHOO!!! Anyone ever try to raise a teen on $400? You can't. You just can not. My ex-husbands share of the support for the kid has been at $200 since we got divorced. That is supposed to cover half the monthly cost of raising the child. Ha, are you laughing? Me too. $200 is NOTHING.
If someone doesn't quite get the big deal on child support, let me enlighten you:
When you have a child, you are pretty much required to have a larger living space. If my son lived with his dad (heaven forbid), I would live in a 1-bedroom apartment or condo. OR I could share a home with someone. It's not very practical to share an apartment with someone when you have a child. Possible, YES, of course---but not ideal.
When you have a child, you can't just go on vacation wherever/whenever you want. You have to buy TWO tickets out of your own pocket, and expect to pay for a gazillion things you normally would not have needed to.
When you have a child, they will have friends. Their friends might want to spend the night. They might need to eat dinner/breakfast/snack while at your house. Little costs like that add up. They will want to go to the movies when their friends go. Movies are what-$32 a ticket now. They will want to join sports - the registration fees are $100, the uniform is $60, the mandatory snacks are $30, the trophy and coaches gift is $40, and that doesn't include the gas it takes to drive them to practice 3X a week AND games 1-2X a week. AND ugh, if they are really good--you might have to drive far away for some championship games.
When you have a child, your electric bill goes up by 24 billion. They leave lights on, they take super-long showers, they let the water run a LOT, they open both the fridge and freezer at the same time and it's almost mandatory they stand in front of both and think for a very long period of time (until frostbite kicks in on their fingers). The laundry baskets are always full so you're doing laundry non-stop. The heat has to be up higher because they won't feel the same about just adding layers if you're cold.
When you have a child, you can't just go out. You have to pay for the babysitter. Back in the day (WAY back) when this was an issue for me- babysitters were running about $3.50/hour. Sometimes I would find some random teen and pay them $2.00/hour (sorry Danell!).
And did you know that public schools aren't free? Well, no, they are not. You have to pay extra for special class fees, band-ugh, we bought a trumpet and a uniform and had to pay some special fees-and entered some competitions which were not free either. After-school activities of any kind have a fee. Oh-and school supplies??
Medical insurance, wow, don't even get me started on this one...I know the pain of not being able to afford insurance for your child. I know how it is to struggle with this debate and believe me, this is the worst!
Recently, since the teenage years have come about, the food bill in itself is about $200 extra. Seriously, how can you eat 6 meals a day? How do you grow out of your entire new wardrobe within 4 months? It's absurd.
The point being....YES I know a lot of this is optional. YES I know that it is very possible to do without a lot of the above (and believe me, I did for many years). YES I know that I chose to have a baby, blahblah.
HOWEVER - the point is that paying $200 in child support is NOT really supporting your child. It's helping...but it's not supporting.
And no, his father wasn't wealthy and living large (though I know there are stories out there like that) - however---he was fortunate enough to have an attorney when we got divorced and somewhat screwed me over way back then. He was fortunate enough to travel yearly, including 3 wks to travel through Europe last year, and 2 in Japan the year before. He is fortunate enough to be able to afford a small house on the beach. He's never purchased anything for his son on the side, he often sends nothing for holidays or celebrations.
I'm not saying he should suffer...but c'mon....SUPPORT YOUR CHILD a little? Thanks, that would be great.
And thanks to a chunk of change which I would have preferred not to spend, a wonderful attorney has helped me kick my support amount up a bit for the next 2.5 years. AND the biggest plus is that I finally get the tax exemption (which I should have had from the start). Fair is fair, that's all I'm saying.
**and for the record: if his father made ANY attempt to be a father and was a kind-hearted, compassionate human being by ANY definition of the word --- I would not have hired the attorney. I would do anything to help that man step up and be a father, but it has been a decade of him being selfish and manipulative and making no effort. I'm done with him. So excuse me...I need to go shopping. For my son, of course!!!