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whiteliondreams's avatar

What could a person do if they are stuck in life?

Asked by whiteliondreams (1703 points ) July 19th, 2012

This is very personal. My sister is in her 40’s, separated, has a son going to college this year and a daughter who has two children and a low-income job. My sister is unemployed with no formal education and no professional skills. My niece is in the same boat. Her “boyfriend” is out of the picture and so the children have no father and my sister is taking that role to help her daughter. My sister is stressing more than she can manage because her bills aren’t being paid, her husband lives with another woman elsewhere with an additional two children, and my sister is set back from her plans to move back to New Jersey from Florida to find a job and move on with her life. She calls me and we talk and I feel horrible that I am in no position to help her with the exception of listening to her. She cries to me and spills her guts about her aspirations and concerns, but our sisters and mother are of no condolence to her despair. Childcare is expensive, everywhere is a considerable distance to drive (it’s Florida), and of course, the job market is not strong.

If you are going to consider answering to this forum, I only ask for respect and ideas. No jokes please.

What are your ideas in finding a solution for a situation like this where a plan can be implemented and a family can get back on their feet again? I can only imagine the millions in this situation, but this is family and I have no other alternative as I am heartbroken.

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18 Answers

picante's avatar

I am sorry for her situation and your heartbreak, @whiteliondreams. While I can’t give specific recommendations, I’m wondering if she has skills that could provide her income by working from home. While she might not possess “professional skills,” she may have some superpowers that could be developed as a source of revenue. And I’m also wondering if you’ve explored social agencies in your area that might provide support and training to get her back on her feet.

jca's avatar

First of all, are all the men in the picture paying child support? If not, job #1 is to take them to court to get that taken care of. That would help with the bills and that’s something that the fathers are obligated to do, it’s not an optional thing. If the moms apply for Social Services, then Social Services will make them pursue child support.

Shippy's avatar

I can completely hear where you are coming from. Of course lending a listening ear is a great help to a person going through any type of hardship. So that in itself is of help. I am sort of in a similar situation, I wont go into detail, but perhaps focus on the things she does well. Often peoples natural talents and enthusiam for it can become a great source of income.

There is such a spiral with this type of thing, whereby it just feels worse and worse and more difficult to pick oneself up. But often rock bottom is a good place to begin a new start in life. I have learned too that we focus a lot on age, when we should move our minds away from that. It is like a self defeating idea.

Other than that if you want to help physically, how about each of the family sending a little? Sometimes a little is a lot to a struggling person. I agree with @jca the fathers need to be brought to book. It may seem like a hard task but any steps in the right direction do help.

creative1's avatar

Can she go to a temp office and do some temp work??? They offer training at some of the temp places so to get stronger workers?? Its at least something and it will also give her away to get better at the different office skills to help her find a permanent job in the future.

gailcalled's avatar

I am inferring from what you wrote that your sisters’ grandchildren are young; why not start a daycare center at her house if she has the evergy and patience? The job comes to her, the grandkids get to stay at home. and some income is generated.

Google the FL laws for setting up a childcare center.

Is there nothing you can say to your mom and your other sibs to make them at least a little more compassionate and sympathetic?

You can help her with getting child support from the father of her daughter’s children. He is still, it seems, her legal husband and thus has responsibilities no matter whom he is living with and how many other kids he has.

mowens's avatar

How long has she been in this situation? Does her college going son live nearby?

mowens's avatar

Also, does she have any outstanding debt, or is it just monthly bills that are killing her?

SuperMouse's avatar

First, let me say that in her 40’s she still has plenty of time to work toward having the life she wants and deserves. Not to discount her daughter and grandchildren, but your sister’s first and main focus needs to be on herself. By doing things to improve her station in life she sets a great example for them and since they are all seemingly in this together, improves all of their lives.

Is she interested in going to school? She could visit the women’s resource center of the local community college to get information on the educational programs they offer and discover what might be of interest to her. She can learn about scholarships and other sources of financial aid and get occupational outlook information for the fields that interest her. If her daughter is of college age, they can both do this. There are lots of programs through the Department of Health and Human Services (at the state level) to support single parents through school. They offer Aid to Families with Dependent Children, SNAP, child care, etc. to help facilitate gaining financial independence.

@jca‘s point about obtaining judgement’s for the payment of child support is really important. Most areas have legal aid agencies that help with these types of things on a sliding scale or for free. If that doesn’t work, see if a nearby law school has a legal clinic that provides help.

I am a woman in my mid-40’s finishing school (student teaching interview scheduled for next month!) and planning a whole new career. I was a single mom and I still deal almost daily with a vindictive ex-husband. I know how hard change can be and I know there is hope. I also have a 22 year-old step-daughter who had her first child as a senior in high school and second two years later. In a couple of weeks she starts a four year university on a full scholarship. With hard work and commitment to self-improvement, your sister can improve her outlook.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have a male relative in the same position: single, 2 kids, no money. Here’s what I tell him. Life and all its trials and tribulations is much easier when it is shared with the right person. Every problem and every solution is better faced if you are healthy and in good shape.
Today, right now, grab control of your life and start exercising like you are training for your own Olympic event – the Rest of Your Life event. It’s free. Just do it.
Look in the mirror. Would you want to date you?
If you are overweight, start to knock off the pounds. Walk and take the kids with you. Do it every day. Meet your neighbors. Progress is slow but it will happen and in the meantime you will start to meet people. Go to the library and hang out. Read. Do something positive rather than complaining to other people about how bad your life is.
You have control of what you do every day – even right this minute! Life is short. Don’t waste it complaining. Do something positive right now.
And absolutely avoid: drugs, alcohol, cigs, and questionable sex partners. They only waste your time and money.
By the way, I do not tolerate others continuously venting their problems to me. I will accept it willingly once or even twice. But the third time I hear the same story, I cut it off right there.
If they want to waste their life rehashing on their own issue, fine. But I will not let them waste mine.

Pandora's avatar

I do not have an immediate solution but if she belongs to some church in her community they often have some outreach program for people in the community and can lead her to opportunities. There are also grants to help single mothers get educated and learn a job skill. I know of a women in her 50’s who just took a test to become a medical insurance file claimer on line from her home. She had trouble with getting employment outside of her home because she needed a car to get to work and had to rely on rides. If she gets a work from home gig than she will be able to work anywhere she wishes to live.

Pandora's avatar

@gailcalled Has a great solution.

jca's avatar

Perhaps she’s depressed and that’s part of why she’s “stuck.” Maybe if she has health benefits she can get some counseling, and if she doesn’t she can look for mental health resources in her community. It wouldn’t be surprising if she were depressed.

Pandora's avatar

@jca It does always go hand in hand. Feel stuck, get depressed, feel depressed, get more stuck and so on.
LuckyGuy may have a point. Wallowing will often make depression worse. You may need to offer some tough love and tell her to be creative and come up with some solutions herself because she can’t be helped if she isn’t willing to stop focusing on the negative and find solutions on her problems. Sometimes people will put all their energy into what is dragging them down instead of actively looking for things that will bring them up.

poisonedantidote's avatar

You need to dedicate more time and resources in to earning money. It is what it all comes down to, a bill is just a glorified permission slip, and you need more of them.

Yes, easy to say I know, harder to do. If we are honest, it is really what it always comes down to. We associate money with freedom, our identity, our self worth, and all kinds of other things. So when money is lacking, even if life is relatively nice compared to the 3rd world, it still gets you down.

Without more information on you, your area, your possibilities and all that stuff, all I can say Is more time and resources on money finding.

Before you totally dismiss it, just ask your self if any of this would be a problem if you had a cool 10 million sitting in the bank. The problem would be gone instantly.

Good luck, and try to fight harder.

whiteliondreams's avatar

I cannot support her with a little because I myself am being supported as a full time student by my fiancĂ©e. However, I do give her moral support and that is why I am trying to help her find solutions. You all are amazing humans and I cannot be more happy or grateful for your sincere assistance. I almost gave up on humanity. @mowens the situation just changed. Money was coming in and economy on his end is kicking in negatively. @jca my nieces “donor” is in jail for missing curfew and thus, violating his probation. Yes, I know, I cannot do anything about these kids choices in males. What we were discussing earlier, she says that she wants to go back to work and that it won’t be an issue inasmuch as if she wasn’t consumed with assisting her daughter from failing as a mom, alone, and now working trying to “make it”.

jca's avatar

@whiteliondreams: What about your sister? Are her children young enough that she should be receiving child support for them?

Response moderated (Spam)
snapdragon24's avatar

Everyone here has good suggestions… Basically she should look up temp jobs, use her own personal skills to build some kind of venture… keep a positive attitude and if she is depressed, maybe she should go running half an hour a day, call some good friends… Speaking of that… Can’t a friend help her get a job? And also, time for those men to man up and take responsibility.

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