NaBloPoMo – BlogHer – March 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014
Do you do more for yourself or for others?
I definitely do more for others; always have. I looked after my mentally ill Mom, while I was growing up. My first daughter was born when I was only eighteen. I wanted her to have the things I never had; nice clothes, shoes, and to be popular amongst her friends. Her father was an alcoholic and hardly ever held a job. I had to be the one, so I dropped out of college and got a factory job, where the work was steady, the pay was good, and insurance was provided for my little family.
Once my little family was settled in our own home, I worked a forty-hour, (sometimes more), job, looked after my mom, my daughter, and my alcoholic husband. At one point, I did go back to college taking night classes. It wasn’t long before it all became too much for me. Then we were told that we had to move; they were shutting down the mobile home park to make room for a new mall. It was very tiring to find a place to move our mobile home to and a pain to get it moved, but eventually we landed back in the country where my mom and dad had grown up. They were kinfolk all around me willing to help.
My job was a thirty-minute drive, one-way. College was close to an hour’s drive away from my home. We settled in, I learned to grow a garden and raise goats and pigs. Eventually, we were able to buy our own land and we put another mobile home behind ours, for my mom to live in. She was a big help to me at that time. She had grown stronger than she was when I was growing up and caring for her at the same time.
Ten years after my oldest daughter was born, I birthed another daughter. The two were never close, because of their 10 year age difference. My mom helped a lot with my youngest daughter.
The factory where my mom and I both worked, was beginning a shut-down. They were shipping more and more of our work over-seas, cutting out the over-time that I depended on, and dropping our pay rates, little by little. My oldest daughter was nearing her last years of high school and I was determined that she would have the best. I quit my job of sixteen-years, and went to work at a large bakery where the money was fantastic, but the work was hard and long; sometimes I worked twenty-hours or more.
During my daughter’s senior year, her father and I split-up. His drinking was getting worse; he was wetting the bed at night and vomiting all over the house, for me to clean up. I was disgusted and just couldn’t live with a man I had no respect for.
It has been a long hard road for me, but I made it through. Once my oldest daughter finished college and got married, I quit my job at the bakery, after six-years. My mind, body, and soul were broken. I knew I had to do something for me, but what?
That was about the same time I met my second hubby. He was my savior. He held me up when I was down and encouraged me to do what I wanted with my life. He worked and I knew I could trust that he could keep a job and help me raise my ten-year-old daughter, along with his thirteen year old daughter.
I took an aromatherapy course and became certified. We started a small business, while my husband still worked his 40-hour a week job. I ran the business from home, at first, then we moved to a kiosk in a local mall. Things went well for about a year, then the economy took a turn, and people stopped buying. Again, I found myself working from home selling on e-bay.
Eventually, I went to work for the local school system, but still worked from home on-the-side. I went back to college, taking night classes, and finally obtained an Associates Degree in Human Services.
Once again, I went over-board and worked constantly, seven days a week. So much of me went into that job; I fell in love with the children, I would do everything in my power to help provide the things they needed, and I helped the parents that wanted help. Soon, I found myself carrying a heavy load, that broke me once again.
My health started failing and I was diagnosed with one chronic illness, after another, until I had to resign from my job.
It took me awhile, to stop feeling like I had to do everything for everybody, but eventually I learned to slow down. Now I take life slowly, one day at a time. I love being needed to babysit my grandson. I love being responsible for my two grandchildren that live in Kentucky, when they come to visit in the summer. I love to go visit my three granddaughters, when I get the chance and they are at home. The two oldest ones are involved in all sorts of activities and it is hard to pick a day when they don’t have something going on.
My mom is happy, safe, and secure in her home in the elder housing project. I, now, have some time to do for me, rather than constantly doing for others. I chose to finish the last part of my life in writing. Writing is therapeutic for me and it gives me a chance to get my creative juices flowing again. Writing is something I can do while I take care of myself by eating right, getting some exercise, and keep my brain learning something new every day.