Thursday, August 13, 2009

Financial Help For Single Mom's- The Perils Of Helping Someone Else By Taking In A Roommate

Here's one for the books on single mom-dom. In my book, "The Single Mother's Survival Guide" I suggest taking in a roommate to help out with the bills, household chores and overall general home life that requires constant nurturing. Taking on a roommate can be a Godsend, but only if it's the right roommate. The wrong roommate can send you down in a fiery pit of flames faster than an Indy stock car on a wet track with bald tires. Here's the 'horror story' of my two roommates and what I plan to do to rectify the situation.
My first roommate, whom I'll call, Jean, moved in with me very shortly after I found myself a destitute single mom with nowhere to live. By the time I met Jean, I had managed to put my son and I in a very small 1 bedroom apartment, and I was pregnant with my second. I met Jean at the public library where she told me that she was living in her car. I told her she could come and stay with me, but that I was a struggling single Mom and couldn't afford to have another adult living with unless she got a job. I knew someone who was hiring and she did do the job, but this guy wound up screwing us both out of our pay, for which I promptly got the blame.
After that, we agreed to start a small online business together and for the better part of a year and a half, it's how we survived. Of course, we didn't make enough to pay all of our bills, and I was still begging and borrowing to make ends meet, but at least we weren't facing total homelessness as we were in the beginning. Of course, as with any partnership, there's always a feeling of one doing more than the other and bitterness can ensue, and it did.
But then, something happened. It turned out that one of her friends was homeless, living in a car, with a teenager, in another state 1,000 miles away. I said if she could get the gas money to drive down to us, she could come and stay with us. I probably should have given this a lot more thought before I opened my mouth, but the words were out and she was going to hold me to them. So, I did what I could to raise some extra cash and we sent the friend bus tickets for her and her son.
Now, I don't know about you, but if a single mother of two small children went out of her way to open her home to me, I would be stepping up saying, "listen, I don't have a job right now, but I'll do whatever you need me to do to help you keep your household running." I guess manners like that are lost on people who think the world owes them a living, because when I asked her to learn how to do a few simple things to help out with the work I do to keep the house running, this woman had the nerve to say to me, "Well, do you want to teach me to do this for myself, or do you want me to work for you? Because I can tell you right now that I'm not interested in working for you."
I'm sorry.... whaaaat? I don't think I quite heard that right. And so, while taking in a roommate might be a big financial help to a struggling single mom, if the roommate is in need of 'help' herself, be sure she already has a job that she's been at for a while and can contribute a weekly rental amount to the house. Be sure the 'help' she needs isn't the 'help' of 'enabling her to sit on her proverbial ass playing on the Internet all day while you work to keep the lights and water on. If the 'help' your prospective roommate needs consists of letting her sit around because 'the world owes her a living' RUN. I'm not kidding! Run like Hell!

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