I have regrets no doubt. I have done a lot of stupid things in my life that if I had a chance to undo them, I would. But having my baby girl is not one of them. While I do agree that it was not a very ‘intelligent’ thing to have a baby despite knowing that the father of the child did not want anything to do with the kid and when you were just 20 years and starting out in life, I do not regret the decision ever.
Amanda was born when it had been only a year since I had started working. I got maternity leave and promptly went back to work after my 12 weeks were over. Since I was a single mom who had had a baby out of wedlock, there was never an option about going back to work. Without work, the baby and I would would have been in the streets. So Amanda went to a day care center and I went back to working as an executive in a storage firm.
Things were going well for the two of us. I got two promotions in one year. My salary increased, I had a group of five people that I had to oversee and Amanda was doing well too. In fact I was considering sending her off to a playschool in the coming year, but then the economy came crashing down on us. The pink slip became a common term in our company and layoffs were hitting almost every department. My fate was not too good either. I was called in by the management to let me know that while my work was appreciated, there was no way I could be retained at my salary. A 45% cut in my salary was the only way that I could be retained. I was given a week to give in my decision. My heart sank. Since I had started working I had never switched job. This was the first real job that I had taken up and continued here since then. There was not much else that I was trained for and I also knew that looking for another job during these times was not going to be yield much. This bought to shore my regret of never having gone to college, but this was not a time for regrets, it was a time for action.
I accepted the offer of a cut in salary and continued with my job. In a couple of weeks I realized everything in the house was cut down. I did have some savings but did not want to touch them unless absolutely necessary. The child care center that Amanda was going to was getting to be too expensive and so I began to look for cheaper alternatives. Needless to say, the cheaper ones were not matching up and worse still Amanda was so well settled that I did not want to move her and create a panic in her mind. With my current income there was no way I was going to be able to continue with the kind of care Amanda was getting. This started to weigh down heavy on my mind.
I tried to see if there was some way I could pick up another job in order to add to my income but since I was working full time already, there was not much time to utilize otherwise. All I had was the weekends and could not find much for those two days, plus Amanda was with me on weekends and so there was no way I could step out to work during this time. In order to save more money around the house I started making most things in house. There was a friend of mine who is very good at cooking and I asked her for a few recipes like guava jelly and chocolate sauce to ensure that Amanda got what she liked but that it cost me lesser. While talking to her I learnt that she was having a difficult time with the layoffs as well and was desperately looking to find some help with her office work but did not have the funds to hire a full time person. Since she ran a salon, I offered to help with the inventory, the tally and also the record book. I told her I would work from home and would do a physical check on every Sunday afternoon. The deal worked for her and she offered me a rather decent amount for this job. We started from the coming week and I got that much needed financial help that I was looking for. With the extra money coming in I was able to keep Amanda in the child care that I wanted too and also run my household without dipping into my savings.
Most of the methods that I was using to keep the salon inventory were the ones I had used and mastered in the store house. This was a much smaller scale and with my skills and speed I was able to wrap up work within a matter of a couple of hours. Even as things improve at my regular job, I continue my work at the salon since it is decent money for very little effort on my part and helps me to save money as well as not compromise on the living standard that I have so far been able to enjoy. There are times when I still smile at how I had called my friend for help of a certain kind and ended up being helped in an all different way.