So, I got a job.
It’s just a job. It’s not a career. That’s what I tell myself when the alarm goes off at 5:40am. That’s right. As in, before 6. As in, clocked in at 6:30.
What in the name of all that’s holy was I thinking?
I opened my fat mouth sometime last week when the director of Amelia’s daycare/preschool said that they were having trouble with their cook. Somebody’s givashitter was broken and the result was cold and yucky food. And, apparently, the personality of a wet mop.
Well, if you get rid of her, let me know. I’m a great cook.
Fast forward to Tuesday. I am hired.
I go from being a drain on society (Funny. But only partially untrue.) to working full-time, 9 hours a day 5 days a week. But…I get to work where my kids play. The pay isn’t great but isn’t terrible.
It kind of puts things into perspective.
I am a single mom. Just like millions others.
I work more than full time at a job that pays less than 10 bucks an hour. It also does NOT offer health insurance or life insurance. The only benefit is that my kids get a very reduced daycare rate. (Both of them for about $125/week for the summer and then about $65/week for just Amelia in the fall.)
I get home from work…I started on Thursday…and I crash. I am wrecked. I am dehydrated. My back hurts from loading and unloading 2 household sized dishwashers all day. The bottom rack hits me at my ankles.
The girls are wrecked as well. Actually, Amelia is okay. She gets a nap. But Ella melted down no less than a dozen times between school and supper yesterday, causing me to miss fat camp. (More on that later.)
I am the second person to clock in for the day. I leave just in time to get Ella from the bus. When school is out next week, I’ll be there about 45 minutes later.
I am the cook. The only cook. I cook for about 80 kids (will be 105 once school is out), 2 snacks, breakfast and lunch.
One of the reasons that Amelia goes to this particular center (previously only 2 days per week) is because a vast majority of their food is made from recipes. There is very little prepackaged anything and what is prepackaged is due to child request or time restraints. The kitchen always smelled really good at drop off and Amelia was very happy to eat whatever was put in front of her.
I’m on a mission. A mission of the Food Revolution kind. I get a little bit of say on menu items. Or, I will once the current groceries run out. I have already planted the anti-HFCS bug in the directors’ ears and I have pointed out to them some of the yummy things I can make from scratch: gravy, biscuits, spaghetti sauce, muffins…not to mention I can make the hell out of the comfort foods. And make them better.
Today it was muffins for breakfast, cheerio treats for snack (like rice krispie treats but with cheerios), grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch and vanilla yogurt for afternoon snack.
How many things on that list have HFCS? 3. Tomato soup, the marshmallows in the treat and the yogurt.
I have some work to do, for sure. But I can make it my own.
If, and this is a big if, this works out. I’m severely cranky that I had to miss Fat Camp last night but it couldn’t be helped. I couldn’t take my big girl out in that condition, mostly because of the fallout later. Combine my barking dogs (read: mama needs new shoes) with cranky kids and my muscles potentially atrophying right in front of my eyes…I’m not sure it’s worth 9 bucks an hour.
I figure that, this summer, I will clear 1k/month. That’s my take home.
We are fortunate in that we have other resources other than my employment. But can you see why people are so miserable? I fit the profile of so many other single parent families.
Mom works more than full time. Kids need childcare. Mom is tired and aching from working all day but the house still needs tending. Dishes, laundry, reading, baths. (Instead of going to the gym after work, I mowed the lawn.) There is not time in my day to take care of mom’s physical needs. Not enough sleep. Not enough real food. Certainly no time to take off for a sick kid. Not enough money or time for the gym.
This? May actually be why poor people are fat. I feel fatter after 2 days but I know that’s not true especially given that this is the first time I have sat down in days. I haven’t had a real meal since Wednesday. But I also haven’t been good about taking my vitamins. And I am too tired for anything other than some tv and computer time.
Does it take a measure of affluence to be healthy? Because I don’t feel healthy. Not a the moment. In fact, I don’t like how I feel at all.
I took the job, and thought that I would really enjoy it, because I thought I could make a difference in the lives and the health of these kids. I had all kinds of ideas about what I was going to make and how I was going to do it and I’d get the directors to realize that with a few small changes (or even as simple as changing brands) could make an impact.
And then reality sets in.
And I miss my house. And my naps (oh, sweet baby, how I miss my naps). And my days filled with puttering around the house and errands and the ability to drop everything and take my mom to lunch or be able to watch my nephew for a few hours.
So I don’t know how long this is going to last. Summer, maybe? Maybe in the fall, I can re-assess. Or, maybe something will come up. Maybe.
But the littles are pleased with the new arrangement. They get to see me whenever they want and Amelia brags to all her friends that her “mommy is the best cooker ever and you had better eat all your food.”
This is hard, being a working stiff. If this were my sole source of income, we’d be on food stamps and that’s no lie. How is it possible to work so hard, for so little? Shouldn’t your income reflect the effort?
An interesting experiment, for sure.