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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Being a Charity Case

Have you ever felt like you were just a charity case in the eyes of others? Like you haven't done enough for yourself, so others are having to pick up your slack? I know I have. More often than I care to think about. Every time, I feel grateful, but also ashamed. I was raised and surrounded by people who gave. I'm happiest when I'm doing for and giving to others. Sure, on my birthday or Christmas I can enjoy a gift without the guilt. But on other occasions... Not so much. 

This past week, I received more than one call from my kids' school. The first time, I was informed that all three of my children in school were nominated by their teachers for a charity program that gets the kids clothes, shoes, toys and/or games. Before I say anything else, know that my kids are not wanting when it comes to clothes. I don't let them keep clothes that are ripped, shredding, or otherwise defected. They get clothes from both of their grandmothers. I actually had to thin out my daughters drawers and closet. She had more than I do. 

Then I get a call asking if we need a turkey dinner donation. We were chosen to get a box of food. I appreciated the offer, but we are not starving. Yes, we get assistance to get food every month from our government. Again, I'm not proud of this. But it keeps us going until we can get back on our feet. I told them to give it to another family who needs it more. 

Finally, I get a call about shoes. My youngest son tore up his latest pair of shoes. This is not the first time I've heard about his shoes from the school. Sadly, I think this will be a constant thing. I don't know how he does it. His last pair, I had to hot glue back together. The Velcro fell apart. I patched it as best I could and told him I would get him a new pair soon. Right after this, maybe a week later, I get a box from my mother. She had sent a pair of shoes that were nearly new. They were my oldest sons size. So I gave him those and gave his old shoes to the younger son. It was perfect timing. My older son was beginning to complain that his shoes were tight. And I was thanking God for once again watching out for us. My mother didn't know we needed those shoes. But within a week or so, my younger son had torn up those shoes too. The soles were coming off. Almost completely. This time, hot glue wasn't working. So my husband pulled out duct tape.
When you have nothing else, you bite back the shame and do what you must. The counselor has my boys in a weekly lunch meeting program they are running to talk to kids on a more personal level. They noticed the shoes and asked if they could give him another pair. Inside, I was screaming, NO! But outwardly, I said yes and that I was very thankful for their assistance. Again, God is providing where I failed.

One son is getting a new backpack as a Christmas gift from a friend. His is threadbare with holes forming. I'm one of those parents who can't donate to every fundraiser, event, and party they have. You know how mad I get when my kids tell me that their teachers said if everyone doesn't participate, they don't get the special rewards every other class will get? I pay more to be in a better area, with a better school. But the trade off is, I can't have my kids participating in everything else. I also would not be surprised if my older son told his teacher that "Mommy is broke all the time." I don't lie to my kids. I don't have money to toss around. I'm careful with my spending more now than ever before. We are a single income family. I have money to pay the monthly bills, nothing more. We can't go out to eat. I can't afford those new toys. We can't go to theme parks. Movies are expensive. They ask, I say no. They ask why, I tell them the truth. I'm broke. I pay for necessities. I keep them taken care. Then I get the other question. How come daddy can do all those things? My oldest three came from a previous marriage. One that I am more than happy is over. My ex blows money to make them believe he is the cool parent. He gets them only 2 weekends a month. And every time, they get to do and have things that we can't do here at home. Talk about testing my patience... I can't bash their father to them. I won't. I have to be tactful with how I answer. I tell them that he has more money than I do, because he doesn't have children living with him. He doesn't have a family anymore. I do. I tell them that he also cheats his debts. He doesn't pay everything he is supposed to like we do. Being responsible hurts. It is a hard path to walk. 
Then comes the biggest charity point in my life right now. Because of my back issues, I'm very often in pain. So much so, that my children have begun to notice and ask questions. I can't hide it all the time. "Why can't you run anymore?" "What's wrong with you, Mom?" "Why do you hurt all the time?" So we talk about it. I tell them that Mommy is broken. My body doesn't work like it should. That I need a doctor to fix me. My oldest then asks when I'm going to the doctor. I'm not. Why not? I can't afford to. It is more important to me to pay the bills and keep them taken care of than to fix my physical brokenness. What does my oldest say? "Take my money, Mom. Use it to pay for surgery." 

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I can't do that. I won't do that. I love my children. They have inherited my curse. They love to give. Instead, my husband has been saying that we have to wait on the Lord and see where His will leads us. At first, I felt like I wasn't being led anywhere. Then I started getting a nagging thought. Ever heard of GoFundMe? You start up a fundraiser and strangers help your cause by donating. I had started one a while back when I wanted to fight for full custody of my three older children. Then the lawyers told me it was hopeless case unless something drastic happens to the kids at the hands of their father. Just the way the laws work here, protecting the wrong people. So I refunded everyone and decided to wipe my hands of the website. I told my husband that I couldn't get rid of the thought though. And he admitted that it sounded like we should think twice about it. Then, something happened that made him say we should do it. I've been having lightheadedness and dizziness daily. I turned my head to give him a kiss and got a charlie horse-like sensation in my neck that scared us both. It hurt so bad. I had a headache and tense feeling in my neck afterwards. I was begging for it to stop. These things are getting worse. The pain has always been there. But I can't always ignore it anymore. I pop Tylenol nearly daily. Might as well be candy at this point. I don't sleep. Not well, at least. When I try to do things like jog, I feel as though my legs are bruised. Not sore. Bruised. I can't live with it like this anymore. So we started a GoFundMe. And we agreed, if I get donations to it, I'm going to see a doctor. It will be out of pocket costs, since I have no insurance. But I'm going to get answers. I'm going to find out what it will take to get back to some state of normalcy. To where I don't have to rely on charity anymore.

Why? Why am I having all this to deal with? Why am I having to be treated like everyone's charity case? My husband reminds me that we all have to be humbled at times. That we can't always stand proud. He tells his Southern wife these things... HA! Boy, do I have a lot to learn then. It's going to be a long, hard road for me. For my family. And I don't want to walk it. But I won't let this body keep me back anymore. I'm going to push harder. Fight back. I know what kind of wife and mother I want to be. And somehow, I will be that woman again. I want to be an active part in this family's life. For a long time.

58 comments:

  1. First of all this would be your 4th back surgery. Does anyone understand what is involved in that? This isn't like your asking for holiday funds. And remember how you feel when you give to others in need. Well by letting others help you they get to feel that joy. That is a blessing to them. I had to learn that myself. By allowing others to help me (and God is the true giver. He allows people to know our needs without us telling them. It is called putting things on heart). I remember giving a friend some soap I had at home but never used. I felt stupid for giving a friend soap but she later told me they had run out and their check wasn't for another week. And if you guessed it was their brand. They had skin issues. Now who could know all that? Anyhow, I felt great to get used by the Lord. No shame in letting God fight for you.

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    1. I don't think many people can relate to that many back surgeries. I guess I never thought of it as they got joy from doing this. More like they felt sorry for me.

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  2. Ive been feeling like this a lot lately; mainly due to unemployment after a BIG move. A lot of things fell through that people knew about, making me look like a failure. Which is funny, because I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who feels like that. But idk. I appreciate this post a lot.

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    1. I have often felt like a failure in others' eyes. But my husband keeps reminding me that I'm the only one seeing myself in that way. I hope you get back on your feet soon!

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  3. You shouldn't ever feel like a 'charity case'! There's a lot going on in your life and sometimes you need a helping hand. Others should understand that and help you out!

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    1. Thank you! There is a lot going on. Just hard to stop feeling like I should be so much more than I am.

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  4. It is true when they says it takes a village to raise a child. Accepting help and other's expertise is nothing to be ashamed of ... you are doing the best and more importantly right by them!

    ❥ tanvii.com

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    1. Funny you should mention that. My mother in law said the same thing. I'm certainly trying to do my best for their sake.

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  5. I don;t think you should feel that you are a charity case. Maybe try to look it in a different way, people are thinking about you and your family and they do want to give a little bit, to help. It's not easy to go through 4 surgeries and also be strong and be there for your family. I'm sure everyone is well intended. Think that there will be a time when you will replay the favour :)

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    1. I certainly hope so! I'm grateful to everyone that gives and to those that are helping. I could not get by without it.

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  6. My way of thinking is as long as your children are warm, fed and loved then they will be fine. It's difficult especially in times like this, even now it can get a bit oh my gosh due to winter and Christmas. But by accepting help from others there's no shame in that.

    I hope you manage to see a doctor about your back x

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  7. I think everyone feels this way at one time or another. BUT the way I look at it is that we NEED and WANT to help each other, it's our social responsibility. Life happens, tragedies happen, stuff just happens....and we have to lift one another up!

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    1. I think you are very right! And I think I needed this reminder.

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  8. Your children are happy, healthy and cared for! Thats all that matters!

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  9. My relatives always make me feel in this way even thou I work so hard and have accomplish many thing! Nothing is enough and I'm not enough for their standars and it doesn affect

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    1. I hope you don't let what they think, drag you down. Sometimes, with family, that's just how it feels no matter what.

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  10. Most people have all been in a similar situation, myself included. Yes, at times it does suck because you feel like everyone looks at you a certain way but I think most people that offer help offer it from a place of love and kindness. I hope things get better for you soon and you don't let get you down!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

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  11. Awww Emily my heart goes out to you and your family. And not because you're a charity case (you're not!!), but because you sound like a wonderful woman who's taught her kids some real honest values that money can never buy. Sending loads of love and I really hope you get your back sorted out

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    1. I truly try. It is a daily battle. Thank you so much!

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  12. Your husband is right, we all get humbled at some point or another. Sometimes, it seems like there are some that get more than their fair share. I can understand that you feel like a charity case, but you aren't. You are doing the best you can for your kids and it's not a bad thing to have to accept help from others. I really hope that you can get your health taken care of soon. Sending positive vibes to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate the encouragement.

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  13. parenting is probably the toughest job in the whole world and sure sometimes it must be terribly unbearable but at the end of the day you have to always remember that your best is good enough and doubting yourself is okay as long as you remember exactly that - you're good enough :)

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  14. What a beautiful family! Your kids looks really happy! No, you not a charity case! You are such a super mom for me!

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  15. If you feel like you are a charity case you probably have issues with yourself not accepting you for you. Don't know if it makes sense....you are doing what you can in a difficult situation. Are your kids fed? Safe? Healthy? Loved? Supported? If the answer to these questions is Yes, well then you are doing a great job and money has got nothing to do with it. When your kids will grow up, they will remember that despite money issues, they had a great family. Probably now they don't see it, and it is not their job to, they are kids and process things differently from adults. Take the help when you need it to, breathe a little. You are doing great!

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    1. Your words came at a time when I desperately needed to hear/read them! Thank you so very much for this.

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  16. Emotional read for me. I am not a mother but I do feel what does being mother means. I salute each mother on this planet.

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  17. I know the feeling of feeling like everyone's charity case. I don't feel like I need the help but I think maybe that's just my pride getting in the way.

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    1. That is often what happens for me. I don't want the help or don't feel like i need it.

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  18. I understand the feeling but do try to see the good in it, peoples kindness and generosity in a time when there is so much hate in the world. I am sorry to hear you are in so much pain. The US in terms of insurence for health seems incredibly challenging. I hope the paint will get better for you but do take care of yourself <3

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    1. You are right. That's a good way to view it. Insurance is a joke here.

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  19. We all need a little charity in our lives and I love when I have the opportunity to give back.

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    1. I love giving back. It makes me feel good.

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  20. You shouldn't feel like a charity case at all! It's so nice when there are people to help. What you give to the universe it gives you back and that's kindness! You are a kind and good person and you are teaching your kids to be like that as well and it's coming back to you in this way. You are strong woman! You are a superhero to your kids and you will always be and don't let these kind of things to bring you down. Be grateful and move on! I'm with you and I'm so sorry about the back pain, I hope you will find some solution for it.

    Sending lots of love,
    Ana

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    1. Thank you, Ana. I do hope we find something soon to help.

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  21. I do not know if this was already mentioned, but I noticed coming from a family of 5 that it seems families with more than two kids are seen this way. Like, there are so many of you however could you afford yourselves?! But I agree sometimes we need the humbling.

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    1. Exactly! I've been looked down on when I was 1/10 kids, and now as I have 4 it is the same.

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  22. Thank you for being so vulnerably transparent here. I am certain there are others who can relate to what you shared here. I'm so sorry for the physical pains you're suffering through, and for the difficult blended situation as well. Praying for His PEACE and GRACE over your beautiful family this season and beyond.

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    1. Thank you. It is not easy being so open to everyone. But I do hope others find it encouraging.

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  23. You have a lovely family! I know how it feels to be ashamed when you are in need of help, but there are times in everyone's life when they couldn't manage without aid from others. Pride is a tough fighter but try to reason with it. Your children will be the better off for having learned the value of things. You'll be taken care of by God and I hope everything will soon go smoothly for you all. <3

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    1. You are so right. We all need help sometimes and I'm learning to accept and even embrace it.

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  24. Love your writing, its very relatable. I would say never feel ashamed of being in need as we all go through it at some point.

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  25. Oh geez... I understand how you feel. Have you thought about using your website instead and calling out to people who can afford to provide such help? There are people out there who will probably be glad to donate them!

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    1. I have, but I don't know how to start. I have posted the link to the fundraiser, but have not had any luck with it besides from my sister.

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  26. I always feel the universe is more powerful than you actually think it to be, there is no need to think of yourselves as a charity case.

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  27. I understand why this would make you feel like a charity case but it’s so great that your kids’ school is so willing to help.

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  28. I understand your feelings but it's totally okay to accept help when it's needed. It's all being done out of love and care for you.

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  29. Sometimes, help is needed and that is fine! Keep your head up and a smile on your face!!! <3 Thinking of you and hoping for the best!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

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