I went to work today, like I do every day, positive and punctual. I had a plan in my head of all the things I was going to get accomplished before the other manager came in, but the universe had other plans and turned my morning into a three ring circus. There were people coming in to re-set merchandise, there were deliveries, and of course there were needy customers. No big deal. I’m a go with the flow person. At noon, the new manager came in and asked if I was ready to take a break, which I was. I went on break and came back and clocked in. It wasn’t about 15 minutes later, my kid text me and asked me to come get him from school. I have my sister’s car this week so I figured he was just taking advantage of the situation. I text him back and asked why, but he must have just sent the message and turned his phone back off. So I told the manager I would be back in a few minutes and I went to pick him up. As I pulled up, I saw all these kids leaving with their parents and I had no clue why. I went inside to sign him out and asked why all the kids are leaving and the office lady says, “Eighth grade dance.” Oh.
Mel comes out with all his stuff and gets in the car. I ask him why he didn’t tell me about the dance. He said he told me a month or so ago and I asked him if he was going and he said he didn’t know. Then I asked him why he didn’t remind me. He said he knew I probably couldn’t afford to get him a tux and all the stuff that goes along with a formal so he had just decided not to go, but then he kept talking about how he wished he had gotten a ticket just in case. At that point, I gave him the talk about how I never have money for anything, but I always make it happen one way or another, especially if it is for him or either of my other kids. He basically brushed it off and said he wouldn’t miss his high school dances. And then I dropped him off at home and went back to work.
When I got back, the manager was up front ringing up a customer and as soon as I got back, she disappeared. She is new to our store and I’ve only worked with her four times and two of those times, she stayed in the office literally my whole shift. The other two times, which included today and the other day, she stayed in the office for half of the shift I worked with her. And I’m not saying she is not doing her job. I’m not even saying that I don’t like her, because I do. What I am saying is that after the conversation with my son, I couldn’t help but think how I always end up working for people who make two or three times more than me and seem to be doing two or three times less work than me. I work my ass off 90% of the time. I do all that stupid upsell stuff that is asked of me. I fill in for people. I work holidays. And even at 40 hours a week, I still can’t afford to live like a regular person whose kid doesn’t have to skip a dance because he doesn’t want to stress his mom out about buying him a tux and some shoes. And the more I thought about it, the more pissed off I got.
I’m not placing blame and I’m not having a pity party for myself. I am where I am because I have always prioritized parenting over everything. I could, no doubt, be way further ahead in life than I am, but I chose not to work long hours. I chose not to sacrifice time with my kids for love of money or the finer things. I choose not to marry someone who will take care of me just so I don’t have to struggle. I have always been a single mom, and especially with my youngest, if I were to work grueling hours, he would be parentless. So I always chose the lower paying jobs in order to get the flexibility of being able to be a participating parent. And I don’t regret it, until days like today. I felt like such shit that he didn’t ask me to make it happen. I’ve always made things happen. It’s what I do. I make magic out of beans. And a part of me feels like he didn’t ask me because he didn’t trust that I could do it and I’m a little heartbroken. The other part knows that he probably really doesn’t give a shit about the dance. He’s in his room as I write this trying not to be too loud while cussing at his friends through his PS4 headset without a care in the world.
Needless to say, after I dropped him off at home and went back to work, I was pretty damn unproductive for the rest of the day. I left the productivity to the new lady. It was her turn anyway. And I’ve been in a pretty shitty mood ever since. So shitty, in fact, I ate frozen pizza out of a box for dinner. I haven’t eaten out of a box in almost 2 years, which is probably another reason why I’m always broke. Damn unprocessed food! But, I know it could be worse. I know it could be much worse. We have our health, we have a roof over our heads, currently we aren’t in danger of losing that, I have a great relationship with all of my kids and I’m pretty sure no kid ever turned into a serial killer because he missed his 8th grade formal. At least I hope not.