Single Mom Struggles To Keep Her Home

Posted: February 19, 2010 in homelessness
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Rebecca Admire is an unemployed single mother of four. Along with the daily struggles of balancing the needs of her children, she fights an ongoing battle to balance her checkbook from her weekly unemployment check.

On Wednesday, Rebecca Admire sat in the Missouri Career Center for her four-week review. Unable to find work for five months, she looked for help at the center and was waiting to see a counselor, more than ready to take the next step into a new job.

A single mother of four, Ms. Admire lost her job at the Family Guidance Center for Behavioral Healthcare, a position she held for more than four years, in September. She has yet to find another job and is one of the 8.6 percent of St. Joseph residents who were unemployed in the latest count.

“It’s been hard to pay rent, and I have shut-off notices on all my utilities,” Ms. Admire said.
Living in a two-bedroom home with her children, her cousin also moved into her attic with her two children. Eight people in one house adds up in Ms. Admire’s utilities and emotions.

“I cry every time a bill comes in the mail,” she said. “Every time.”

Ms. Admire works for a temporary employment agency whenever they need help, but still struggles.

“If I work two days out of the week with a temp agency, I can’t claim unemployment that week,” she explained. “Sometimes it’s not worth it to work a couple days out of the week and have to skip the larger unemployment check.

“I made a promise (to the children’s father) that I would never go after him for child support,” Ms. Admire said. “Just as long as he did stuff with the kids.”

She takes care of her children with assistance from her mother, Nancy Bowman, and her boyfriend.

“I couldn’t live without (my mother),” Ms. Admire said. “And my children love my boyfriend because he is so good to them.”

Although the economy makes her life hard, she knows how lucky she is to have strong people in her life.

“I would have fallen apart many times without (my mother),” Ms. Admire said. “She’s come over and cleaned for me, cooks, and watches the kids. I couldn’t live without her.”

Being a mother has been difficult on Ms. Admire.

“There have been several occasions where I broke down crying, questioning if I’m a good mother,” she said. “I have asked them if they are happy, and they say, ‘We don’t get to go out and do stuff,’” Ms. Admire said. “They say, ‘But we know you love us and that makes us happy.”

Ms. Bowman helps out as much as she can. “She’s my daughter, and these are my grandkids,” she said. “It’s no problem to help.”

This is the first time Ms. Admire has been without a job.
“I have always been able to take care of my kids,” she said. “I was depressed and had to go on medication because of all the stress and anxiety and depression.”

Heartland Counseling Services has seen people suffering from depression because of unemployment.

“People who have lost their jobs go through a range of emotions,” said Shirley Taylor, psychologist at Heartland. “They get angry, scared, discouraged and, if they can’t find a job after a while, they become embarrassed.”

Ms. Taylor said men feel a little more discouraged than women in a time of unemployment.

“Some men’s egos get really damaged,” she said. “It hurts their identity and sometimes they think something is wrong with them and look for someone else to blame.”

Ms. Taylor said looking toward the future with a positive attitude will help people searching for a job.

Trying to turn her life around, Ms. Admire collects food stamps and has been on Community Action Partnership’s utility assistance program.

“I have called CAP, called Catholic Charities and a few of the churches for help,” she said. “We were adopted for Christmas, so that helped, too.”

In her two-bedroom house, plus the attic, her four children share one room. All children sleep in one bunk bed. She places two on the top bunk and two on the bottom.

“It’s bad,” Brandon Brown, 9, the oldest of Ms. Admire’s children, said.

Life outside the bedroom is also a challenge. Brandon Jr. is unable to play in sports activities, which cost additional money.

“Sometimes kids at school talk about sports that I don’t play,” he said. “They ask questions, and I just don’t talk.”

Looking toward the future, Ms. Admire said she hopes to start a job soon, but will have to rely on tax refund money to get by temporarily. She continues to seek help from the Missouri Career Center and put in applications anywhere that may be hiring.

“This could happen to anyone,” she said. “Before people judge, I would tell them to look at it from my side and be willing to walk in my shoes.”

Re-Printed by permission

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