CarolBy Carol Steegman

Hello, everyone! The past week has been a trying one for me! Trying to remember how far I have come in all the mess. I am a single mom raising two daughters. Not only that, but they both have disabilities, and their fathers are not usually present in their lives and one is usually back and forth on paying support.

It’s so easy for me to be mad and hateful … but the real trick is to keep going forward!

Anyway, what would “typical” middle class people do in this situation? First off they would contact a lawyer to discuss their options. They would make an appointment to meet with the lawyer and find out they need to bring all the documentation they have regarding the case. Then they would meet with the lawyer and bring along all the communication from the absent parent. They would let the lawyer be their advocate and take all the recommendations because the lawyer has their best interest in mind. It may also be of help to contact child services to have them be the “voice” of the child (if it gets to that point).

On the other hand, what does someone in poverty do in this situation? From my own experience I know that before I completed Getting Ahead I did a lot of crying and usually finally gave in to his demands. It always ended the same way: nasty words, fighting about the same thing (him not being present or paying support), and the fact that he was probably drinking when I picked her up. (Not to mention it was always me doing the driving to and from!) Making unheard pleas for him “to just sign off and I’ll forgive the unpaid support.” End result: allowing the father of one of my kids to be the controlling factor in the situation and having to put up with it. End result #2: me stressed out and not sleeping well!

Through Getting Ahead I learned to look at all my options and sit down with a plan of action that would be positive and move me forward. I decided to take the high road and am meeting with an attorney from Legal Aid this week.

To be continued …