There is nothing more heartbreaking than listening to your child cry “dada” while he is off at work. We have a two year old little girl who has no idea what we are doing for her, for our family.
My husband was promoted at a company where he worked for seven years. I am currently fighting to finish my college education. My husband’s schedule is unpredictable at best. Sometimes we go 48 hours without getting to interact with him, but he is doing the right thing.
We did everything backwards as far as society sees it. Our daughter was born in 2010. A few months later we eloped, mostly due to pressure from our families to get married. We decided financially, I should stay home. Daycare is expensive; it costs more money than I could bring in. We signed up for all of the government assistance programs, but life was far from easy.
My husband took on a second job; I suppose that was just the way he was raised. I was thankful for the financial support, but we still lived paycheck to paycheck, and he was not able to provide much. About six months ago he finally received the promotion that they had dangled in front of him for a year.It seemed so promising. The income, the hours, the benefits, all seemed too good to be true.
As I sit here in a quiet house I can tell you, it was too good to be true.His shifts never end when they are supposed to. The benefits we pay for eat into the income he brings home. Since he is new, he is constantly looking for ways to set himself apart. He has driven hours to close other stores with the thought that someone higher up will notice his efforts. Most recently he has ventured off to Chicago. I just hope these efforts are noticed. I know he is doing it for all the right reasons; once he gets promoted to an area manager, he will have normal business hours, so we have been told. However, that position is probably ten years away.
A lot of days I wonder where my family went. I do my best not to talk about the emotionally draining days I have, but I am close to my breaking point. We are no longer on government programs, but financially we are still in limbo. The only thing that holds me together is the hope of family dinners and smiling faces. I hope, I pray, that when I graduate in May these things will come with it. I also fear that they will not. Then what? What do we do when we have worked so hard to dig ourselves out of the hole we created and reap no reward? I think the fear of this possibility paralyzes me.
I am keenly aware that my husband’s lack of a college education will keep him in the position he is in. Now I can only cross my fingers and hope there’s abetter promotion in his business. When our daughter was very young, she did not seem to know the difference; however, every day that passes she becomes more and more aware that her dad is not around much. Is it too much to ask for him to read her a bedtime story at night?
— As told to Chelsea Roberts
Ball State University
Interpersonal Communication Major
Class of 2012
This story originally appeared in Facing Poverty, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by TEAMwork for Quality Living in Muncie, Indiana.