Needing Some Help
—Alamance County, NC, aid recipient—
I was in Maryland when I was pregnant with Jayden. And then, I received the cash when I was pregnant with Jayden because I needed to be able to get some stuff for my baby when he was born. But after a while I just got off of it, and I started receiving food stamps when I moved down here, which was two years ago. I need them [social services] for the food and medical but I don’t really need them for the financial part as far as receiving money because, his dad is on child support. He just don’t pay. So, whenever he decides to pay, hey, we’ll all right. As far as, right now, I don’t have no job. I just babysit my sister’s kids while she go to work and just kind of be in the house, so it kind of benefits…you know, I have stuff to feed them and, take them out. When I take them out to the park, you can have picnics. So, it kind of benefits. I just help my sister out and I’m pretty much, I don’t really know nobody around here.
Long term goals for me: I’m trying to do the school thing with BHA [Burlington Housing Authority]. They have a scholarship so I’m trying to do that. In the fall, try to finish, like do nursing. I’m going to try to do school. I’m probably going to still be on food stamps and medical until I finish. But, I want to do school, and once I get a career, I’m not going to be on it. I’m going to be able to take care of my household without depending on the system to help me.
So, I see myself moved out of BHA, in my house. And better off than I am right now.
And a nurse. Taking care of somebody else.
Struggling as a Single Parent
He’s been on child support since Jayden was six months and he don’t pay. He’s in Maryland, so when I came down here and try to enforce it, it’s like I haven’t really heard anything back from them. He’s just out there doing what he wants to do. So, I’m just taking care of my baby trying to figure out how. How am I going to get the things they need?
But, yeah. His dad don’t pay child support and he has another child that he pays child support for but he just doesn’t pay for my baby. So. And when I go to Maryland, I sometimes feel like I want to call and go off but it’s pointless because it doesn’t solve anything. I just say like, when the time comes and they finally get him, he’s going to have to pay. Whether he likes it or not or either he is going to be locked up. I don’t really care either way. I just don’t want him to be out here taking care of everybody else’s kids and not mine because he only takes care of his daughter and then other people’s daughters. He don’t take care of my son, so. And that’s his only son that I know of from, like, last talking to him when Jayden turned four.
And my boyfriend, he helps a lot too. I mean, we’ve been together since Jayden’s been one. So he is his father figure. He helps me too. My mom helps and my friends that have little boys sometimes because my son is so small and everybody else’s kids grow so fast. He kind of reaped the benefits of utilizing their clothes. I don’t mind. I can get it and he can use it until he can’t use it no more.
Because if I didn’t have that [support from family and friends], I don’t know. I probably would be mad all the time. Angry. But, I’ve gotten over it because I used to be worse. You know, because I just didn’t understand. I feel like my child don’t deserve the treatment that he receives as far as his dad’s side of the family is concerned. So when they reach out to me I don’t know if it’s just because they want to know if he’s okay, you know, just so they can sleep good at night. Because nobody calls, nobody, none of them. They don’t do nothing. And I know that it ain’t really his parent’s job, but I feel like when he was locked up and his daughter was born and she needed things or whatever, they did it.
Tough to Work with No Transportation or Childcare
I don’t have a car. So, if Burlington had public transportation I feel like it would be a weight lifted off. I would be able to get a job and keep a job because depending on somebody else to try to get to where you need to go is… it kind of don’t work out all the time because people start feeling however. Or they might not want you to use their car. Or, whatever their excuses are. But, I feel like if there was public transportation we would be able to get a job and keep a job.
Because I had a job when I moved over here and then they let me go because I didn’t have transportation to get from here to there.
It’s kind of crazy when you have a kid and you are the only parent trying to give them the best life you can and you can’t really get back and forth to work. That kind of pisses me off. I don’t try to dwell on it. I mean, I do enjoy staying at home and kind of being able to be here with him too, but after a while, I don’t like being in the house. I like to be out making money. That’s why now, it’s like I’m not really rushing to get no job. I’m just going to go to school and get a career so that I won’t have to worry about…. I mean, even though people with careers sometimes get laid off or something.
I don’t really have to worry about losing my job every time I turn around because I had three jobs. One job I quit because I just couldn’t do fast food, but then the other two jobs that I had, they just let me go. I worked at Dollar Tree when I used to live over by Huffman Mill. I used to work at that Dollar Tree and then I worked at K-Mart. And I worked at Cook-Out. And I let Cook-Out go, but I was working at K-Mart for the longest time, and I was kind of, almost six months and I was pissed when they let me go. Because I actually was a good worker, and I actually did my job, and anytime they needed me to come I came. But, when I lived across the street it was easy to just walk to work.
But then, when I got my house I wasn’t going to say no I didn’t want to get housing because I needed my own space. No way from over here and I dang sure wasn’t walking. If I had a bike, I probably would kind of sacrifice, riding my bike. But then again, I wouldn’t have had nobody to really keep my son other than my sister, and at the time she was pregnant. So, I didn’t want to put all that strain on her so I just said whatever. It was nice working for you.
And now they’re hiring, so, obviously they wasn’t doing too good.
[Q: And child care?]
Child care. Yeah. I mean, I have vouchers but it’s like, if you can’t afford to pay the difference it’s pointless. Because a lot of them are so expensive that it’s over half your paycheck. And then if they’re getting that and you’re paying your bills, you’re left with nothing. You can’t buy nothing for the house, and I can’t get my son the stuff that I know that he needs because that’s my priority right when I get paid. I try to make sure he don’t have to want for nothing. I be trying to give him things that he be wanting because he don’t ask for much.
Tiffany is a homemaker and aid recipient. She is African-American, age 27, and was interviewed by Elon student Kristen Bryar on June 14, 2013