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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Working Mom Blues and The Case of the Guilty Giant Cheesy Puff Ball Astroids from Outer Space

Despite my being in the middle of working 2 - 12 hour night shifts, I had errands to run in another city. OK, I'll confess it, I had to re certify my baby for WIC. Now that you know, I am "one of those" women........., I will spin for you the tale of the Guilty Giant Cheesy Puff Ball Astroids from Outer Space.

I've almost got it all figured out when it comes to being thrifty. My husband drops me off at "Porgies" the local consignment center. There I find out what my credit from selling clothes is and I shop for what the family might be in need of. After Porgies, I walk myself, my baby and my 6 year old over to McDonald's where I discovered that they both can get a free "kiddie cone". I really don't need a whole "super sized" ice cream cone and sharing Moonbeams cone with her is enough for a sweet snack. So consignment store shopping becomes free and so does an ice cream cone at McDonald's. Just call me white trash. Yes, I am learning, though at the speed of a herd of turtles.
After I successfully completed todays clothing and snack mission, I moved on to the grocery store. Since the budget was zero today, I diligently calculated my purchases. Sale fruit, sale bread, etc.. Cashing in WIC vouchers is usually quite traumatic for me. No matter how many times I read the print, I inevitably get it wrong. Me and probably 90% of the other mothers who participate in the program. I am always feeling a little self conscious walking down the grocery store aisles with my green packet. I am just bound to run into some medical person I know, so I am trying to stealthily peek into my purse at the list. People most likely wonder what it is that I am so fixated on in there.
Then to complicate matters further, Cat man wonders why "chocolate happy bombs" aren't on the allowed WIC cereal choices. Then the guilt sets in. I didn't buy him french fries at McDonald's. I'm not going to be home to cook him a big dinner. What kind of a mother am I anyway? I'm gone this week for 2 whole nights. As if on cue, the little child inside of my brain rehearses to me that I am a lousy mother and that my children will most likely suffer permanent emotional scarring due to my picking up this extra shift. No french fries, no $4 a box chocolate happy bombs. OK, so I will make it up with some other kind of snack. I suppose every working woman feels some kind of guilt for her absence from her children. Well I do anyway. I'm only gone once a week (twice at the most), but the guilt is always there. In an attempt to appease my guilt, I let Cat man pick out some of the sale chips which happened to be giant cheesy puff balls. They looked quite exciting to him and it seemed to appease my guilt at the moment, just a tad.
Despite my whole hearted efforts to get the WIC right, once I was up in front with a line behind me, they had to send me back to exchange my milk. This was nothing compared to the time that the lady got confused and began arguing with me over beans and other oddities. She had accidentally rang up some of the vouchers forgetting to add everything in. By the time she got to the end, there was still a little pile of grocries so she tried to make me buy what was left over. Since I didn't particularly want to buy the beans, she gave me a dollar out of her pocket telling me "its easier that way". By then a line was forming and I was mortified for the people watching. She hadn't found a price on something I was buying either and so she had also sent a bag boy to go check. Since she wanted to get rid of me after that she told me that he probably couldn't find a price and that I would have to go without the item. Do you ever notice that you are treated differently when you are perceived to be in the "low income low intelligence" class?
Any way, today I had to exchange all of my milk. Cat man walked out of the store with cheesy puff balls the size of asteroids which consequently were so big that they could not fit into his mouth. Once in the car, he opened the atomic snack only to rip the bag from top to bottom hurling the guilty giant cheesy puff balls all over himself and his baby sister. I tried balancing what was left on pieces of the bag, but wound up dropping more on the babies head. By this time, we were driving along on our way to another city to drop me off at work. Orange residue covered all three of us and it dawned on me that buying this snack for him had not done him any favors. On a very small scale it was like the work-a-holic parents who buys their kid a new fast sports car. The snack had made a disaster. I asked him later "did you enjoy your snack?" Brows furrowed, he said "not as much as I thought I would". He would have been just as happy with something healthy and less guilt pacifying on my part.
After nursing the baby one last time and attempting to wipe more cheesy powder residue off myself, I kissed the kids good bye and strolled across the hospital walkway. There's just something amusing to me about living like this. One hour I am deemed competent to manage a busy hospital floor or emergency room. The next, I can't manage to correctly interpret my WIC vouchers. Its a wonderful life.


Blessings each day said...

Wow...how do you do it all?

Sad to say I once again got SO upset reading that someone treated you unfairly/unkindly/less than respectfully due to your economic status...that burns my red head up!!! But I will pray about it for sure!

Just one troubling question though...you spoke of the three of you on this errand run and then you said you kissed the children good bye and walked away...so who drove the car off, the cheese puff eater or the baby (hooray for you for nursing your little one!!!)???

blessings and hugs,


Sunshine Mama said...

Hey, the income limit for WIC is pretty high, so there's a LOT of people who qualify.
We use WIC.
The whole thing where they don't ring up the right amount of items and then tell you you can't get it? That used to happen to me because let's face it, there's a lot to look for on those checks.
I completely solved the problem when I would separate my wic items and put wic items that go on one check in its own separate pile. I won't even let them start checking out the items on the wic check until I've had everything pre-separated and then I hand them the check for them to check.
Also there's a box on the wic check that says "correction" for the express purpose of if they make a mistake. You could point that out if it happens again.
Hope this helps. But it sounds like you had quite the afternoon. I hope it gets better.
Thanks for your encouraging comments on my diet.

Anonymous said...

WIC saved us when we had four children under four, I separated the items too - The grocery store clerks do act like the transaction is going to be a pain - you know though that the grocery checkers would probably qualify too. The weird item on the coupon to me was the carrots, I used to love those pesky cheesy balls, dipped in sour cream, yum.
I appreciate your honesty in revealing your "splurge" purchases, I've done the same thing at times, I just get so tired of trying to figure out how to get what we need without spending a thing, sometimes it's a fun game other times it makes me crazy (oh, say about once a month) and I'll make some "crazy" purchase. Just know that your not the only Momma out there saying no to what some people consider normal - Keep up the good work, raising your children in the Lord and not in consumer goods!

Jackie at 3littleones said...

So sorry to hear your story!!! That sounded like a frustrating day! Try not to feel guilty - I know it's hard - I used to feel guilty when working as well, but remember, you are doing it for your children!!

And I know how frustrating the WIC checks can be - I used to be a cashier at a grocery store and those things can be confusing (although I do not think it's fair for a cashier to give you problems about it - you didn't make them so confusing!!!!)

"Indescribable" said...

I know the feeling of trying to "make it up" to the kids - or is it "get rid of the guilt" ? SUCKS! until you just tell that mean 'Ol Ms. Guilt to TAKE A HIKE!

What's up with a cashier that tries to give you a buck b/c she can't get the order right....UGGG....

How about the bright side of this story....You get the opportunity to pray for these knuckle heads!

Work is good for making money and helping moms to appreciate their kiddos ( and hubby's and homes)

Hannah said...

Funny!!!! Your stories are great! Thanks for the Congratulations!

CailinMarie said...

ugh. I shrank inside myself reading this. I loved your parting shot - amazing how you can deemed comitent by the hospital but layed low by WIC and judged by the cashier! personally I'm glad you grabbed the cheese balls. If you'd tried to explain that he really wouldn't like them he wouldn't have believed you. Some lessons have to be experienced for ourselves.
Then I made the mistake of glancing at Wednesday's weigh in, briefly, while I eat vanilla ice cream much too late at night.
thanks for stopping by my blog.

toytrkman said...

Okay, so you qualify for WIC, so what. We both know that we could both work 40-50hrs per week and buy all the latest toys, nicest clothes, finest foods, newest cars, nice house, etc. Baby, we made the choice and I don't think we have any regrets. You are the closest of any woman I've ever seen to the "Proverbs 31" woman that the Bible says, "Who can find one?" You can do all the home and family chores, homeschool, keep in shape, run an emergency room, spend fun time with the kids, and keep a husband happy all at the same time. The Proverbs woman provides food, clothes, all the basic needs, and makes money too. Your amazing. I think you have found a balance that few people find. I know lots that go one way or the other, but few that balance like you. I personally think that the guilt comes from other peoples jealousy. I love you.

Anonymous said...

Have a little ice cream today
Saying Grace In A Restaurant

Last week, I took my children to a restaurant.

My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.

As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank
you for the food , and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us
ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a
woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today
don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it
wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and
God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached
the table. He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God
thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my son asked.

"Cross my heart," the man replied.

Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose
remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God
for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My
son stared at his for a mom ent, and then did s omething I will
remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed
it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this
is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul
is good already."