Not Sure What to Do

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for over 7 years. For 6 of those years I’ve been working as a freelance copywriter to earn a little extra money. However, I’m not earning enough money to keep up with rising costs — you see, my husband hasn’t gotten a raise in over 6 years. He’s also unwilling to change jobs because he hates being the new guy, so the burden of making more money is on me. I can’t just “write more” because there’s only so many hours in the day and freelancing doesn’t pay very well.

So, I need to get a real job. I need to put my youngest baby in daycare and go back to work. I make more than minimum wage with my writing, so working at Walmart isn’t going to cut it.

Before kids I worked in a laboratory and I have a science degree. I’ve thought about going back, but those jobs don’t pay very well around here. I’d be making less money after accounting for daycare. I need something that pays at least $50k. Oddly enough, in-house copywriting positions seem to pay what I need. I think. I’m not completely clear on how much before and after school care for the older kids and full-time daycare for the younger kid will cost. I know it’s a lot, but I’m not sure quite how much.

I’m overwhelmed at the idea of going back because on top of working full time again, getting the kids to and from their various programs will be 100 percent on me. Even if I get a good paying job, my husband is going to be making more money, driving farther, etc. so it’s all on me to not only find a way to bring in more money, but to also work it out with the kids.

I’ve thought about teaching, but I’d need to get a license and right now I just don’t have the money for the licensing exam, especially if I need to take it more than once.

I’m so stressed out trying to find a way to make everything work financially. I wish my husband would look for a new (better paying) job, but he won’t. He hasn’t had a raise in 6 years and hasn’t left the company, so I don’t think his employer for feels like it’s terribly urgent to give him more money. At the same time, regular expenses (like water and electricity) have doubled. I’ve put off doing something about it for too long and I hope I can find a solution soon.

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Tenure in Schools Needs to Go

Everyone loves to talk about how America’s schools are failing. They all have their ideas as to why — everything from funding to the No Child Left Behind Act. Most school administrators would tell you it’s a lack of extra support services.

Do you want to know what this mom thinks? I think it’s the tenure system.

Every teacher or family member of a teacher that just read this is probably groaning, rolling their eyes and possibly clicking away right now, but hear me out.

My oldest has been in public school for 2 years now (she’s in the 1st grade). Both years she has had less than great teachers that spent more time out of the classroom than in. It was bad in kindergarten with the teacher disinterested in the curriculum and leaving the classroom an average of once a week, but in 1st grade, the teacher is out more than she’s in. When she’s in the classroom, my daughter tells me she frequently screams at the kids and tells them they’re not doing enough.

She hates her teacher and what’s worse is that she hates school at this point. She’s in 1st grade. She’s supposed to love school.

She has nightly homework which consists of reading, math and vocabulary words (we were pressured to finish all of the 1st grade sight words within the first few weeks of school). If she has any unfinished desk work from the day, that comes home too. She gets home in the afternoon at 3:30pm. If we have any after school activities or would just like to just enjoy the nice weather a little bit, there’s very little time left for homework, so she winds up having to stay up late to finish it, leaving her tired the next day. I tried skipping the homework on days when she had activities, but the teacher found out and screamed at her along with the other kids that had been doing the same thing on days that they had any other obligations.

All of the parents in this classroom know the teacher is screaming at the kids. We all comment on how frequently they have substitutes (2-3 times a week) The other teachers in the school know. The principal knows. Everyone knows. This is not unusual.

I questioned the substitute issue. Apparently on days when the teacher has an IEP meeting with a parent, they call in a substitute for the day. Apparently there are a lot of kids in that school with an IEP and she can’t meet with more than one of their parents per day. I’m making some broad assumptions here, there’s only 20 kids in the class.

The screaming issue however, the teacher vehemently denies. She says she gets a little excited. I told her the kids are interpreting it as screaming. That was a mistake. She screamed at the kids for telling their parents she was screaming at them.

The school can’t remove her. She’s not physically hurting the kids (only mentally) and she has tenure. Ah tenure. I hate tenure. Job protection should not exist in a performance-based field. If a teacher is unable to teach because they have lost their passion or are just plain crazy, they should not have job protection. It should not take hurting a child for a teacher to be replaced. The schools should be able to always have the option of bringing in better people.

I know that there are districts that would abuse this ability by constantly bringing in younger teachers at lower pay grades, so make them justify the firings to the school committee. I think being bat-shit crazy and yelling at kids almost daily would be a justifiable offense though.

Money Saving Tip: Use Ebates for Online Shopping

If you haven’t heard about Ebates, you’re missing out. Ebates is the site that gives you cash back on your regular online shopping. Amounts vary from 1% to 30% depending on where you go! (Spoiler alert – ProFlowers is at 30% cash back just in time for Mother’s Day!)
The site also gathers coupon codes and shows them to you when you select a store to shop at, so you’ll never miss a deal ever again. It’s fantastic and best of all, it doesn’t cost a thing to join or to use!

That’s right, you can sign up to Ebates ABSOLUTELY FREE and start saving money with coupon codes and cash back. Once you’ve accumulated enough cash back in your account (hint: amounts never expire), Ebates will send you a check to the address you give them. It’s REAL cash back, not points or gift cards.

If you like hearing about deals and ways to save money, say thanks by using my referral link when sign up to Ebates. Creating an account takes just a second and you’ve got nothing to lose.

iPhone Unsubscribe Feature: Does it Work??

Like most people, my email inbox fills up twice a day with dozens of messages, most of which I don’t care to read. More often than not they’re from mailing lists that I signed up for in order to get a coupon or to enter a giveaway.

Unfortunately, I spend more time than I should deleting these messages each day and every time I get a notification that I have a new email, I run and check my inbox in case it’s something important. It rarely is. Unsubscribing to these messages is cumbersome and can often take 2-3 steps to do. It’s nearly impossible on a phone because the links are tiny and the web pages they take you to take forever to load.

However, I’m an iPhone user and I recently found a feature that I thought was great — the UNSUBSCRIBE link. When you read an email on your iPhone, at the top of the message it says it’s from a mailing list and asks if you’d like to unsubscribe. I clicked the link on a few to see if it would work and….

It does not. At least not on the ones I tried. Boo. 😦

So fellow email warriors, if you want to unsubscribe from a newsletter or mailing list, it looks like you have to keep doing it the old fashioned way.