I Didn’t Win The Battle….

As I said before there are some big changes going on around here in an effort to simplify my life into a more manageable creation than that kaleidoscope mess that it currently is. After looking at my schedule I have come to the hard realization that I cannot both found my not-for-profit and run my housekeeping business. I have gotten to the point in the not-for-profit where meetings need to be attended, fundraising needs to be started, and some serious work hours need to be put in. This has become more than a full time job people. So how then, if that has become a full time job, am I also able to have a full time job running my housekeeping company?
I can’t.

I can’t make it work. It’s gotten to the point where it has to be one or the other. I sat down and I looked at the pros and cons of each company. The housekeeping business is bringing in money, albeit after taxes and my RIDICULOUS liability insurance payments, it’s not much. Only about $200 a week. I look at the future I have in that business and it scares me. I see my body breaking down, I see the damage done to my insides after years of being covered in chemicals, and like I said, it scares me. My kids only have one parent and I want to be healthy enough to be around for a long time. I also know that on a full schedule I’m not even making our financial ends meet. I’m working myself to the bone, I still can’t provide for my family, and I don’t see it getting any better.

Then I look at the not-for-profit. It’s a project that I believe so deeply in, just thinking about the women that I will be able to help heals my wounds. It makes me feel like my path was worth it. Like everything that I went through wasn’t in vain, but yet paving the way for my purpose in life. It feels right. It feels more right than anything else has ever felt in my entire life. It feels like it is the reason that I was put on this planet, like it is the purpose of my soul’s creation. It feels like the answer to all the times that I screamed up to the sky and asked “Why!?”

Perfect, right? Except that I’m not getting paid to work on the not-for-profit.

I’ve spent the last several months juggling two careers, being a full time mother, spending hours of my week recovering my son from a suspected brain injury, teaching strip tease to survivors, and I can’t do it anymore. Especially when I have no family help. As I mentioned in my post “My Life Is Completely Unrealistic,” I have come to the obvious and yet somehow unnoticed realization that my life is unrealistic. I am not, nor should I be expected to be, Superwoman.

I’m at that pivotal fork in the road where I need to make a choice in which direction I want to go with my life. I’ve had so many of these life altering decision making moments in my life and my path is littered with the fallout of choosing the wrong ones. My walk has forever been made harder by the baggage that I carry with me from all the horrible “souvenirs” that I pick up at each hellish location of a wrong decision.

I’m terrified to make the wrong choice again.
What do I do? Should I stay with the housekeeping business that I have, in a dead end career that is at least bringing in a little money? Or, should I abandon that and work on the not-for-profit, while knowing full well that it will not be providing an income for my family right now?

After much thought, debate, internal struggle, and many sleepless nights, I have decided to narrow my housekeeping clientele down to 1.5 days a week in order to dedicate my time to getting the not-for-profit up and running, while supplementing my very meager income with money I hope to bring in by teaching strip tease empowerment classes two nights a week out of my home (plus my one free class for survivors).
The plan for the not-for-profit is beginning to unfold. Doors have been opened with such ease that it affirms to me that this was meant to be. Other not-for-profits are calling me on a weekly basis asking if we are ready to start accepting clients and it reminds me that the need is so great that there are many women waiting, waiting for me. Waiting on me.

What does that look like for my family? Well, we will be in an even worse financial situation than we are now. I’ll be living mainly off of my meager tax refund and hoping that something, somehow, works out for me. Praying that funding comes in and that donations are given. I hate this. I hate jumping into a decision when I can’t see exactly where the road ahead of me is going. Call it a sign from God, call it fate, call it whatever you believe in, but so far every question that I’ve had has had an answer that points me in this direction, yet I’m still terrified.

I don’t want to fail my kids. I don’t want to fail myself, but I don’t want to be stuck where we are forever. I can’t even feed all of us some weeks and its always questionable as to if I will be able to keep the roof over our heads. Something has to change. I can’t float around on this sinking raft forever. At some point I have to just jump in the water, start swimming, and hope that I am heading towards land.
I’m jumping in the water. Please, oh please, oh please let me find a few life rafts along the way, as I am keenly aware of how very much I have to lose.

I hope I don’t drown before I reach land. 
I really, truly, feel that founding this not-for-profit is what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I really feel that every hardship I’ve had, every tear I’ve cried, has been leading me to this moment. I’m stronger now. I’m stronger than I have ever been. I watched my entire life burn down around me and I wasn’t suffocated by the smoke. I rose out of the ashes broken, but not unfixable. I can see the light now. New things are blooming, great things are growing, and I’m healing. I’m also selfish. I don’t want to be the only flower in the field. I want to look around and see all my fellow wounded women blooming beside me. They deserve to rise, bloom, and see the light just as much as I do. I made it out.

Now I’m going back for them.

My ex used to tell me that nature is designed to weed out the weak. He was right. By all accounts, by every meaning of reason, I should not be here, yet I am. I am here because I am supposed to be. Nature didn’t weed me out because I am not weak. I was never weak, I was in training. This world has a purpose for me, it always has, and I was just being prepared for what that purpose was. I survived and I intend to go back for my fallen comrades. I am not the only one who deserves to have made it out alive. This not-for-profit will save them, it will give them the chance that I have fought so very hard for.

I may not have won the battles, but I am going to win the war. 
**Make sure you read the update to this posting! “So maybe I should have added a few more details”**
© Not My Shame To Bear 2014
Photo Credits 

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  • Lotus
    April 1, 2014 at 4:07 am

    You are incredible. You're making the best possible decision, even if it's scary, because it's what truly matters to you. You're setting an amazing example for your kids, too. All the hard work you've put in to rebuild your life is now something you get to share with other people who need it. Not to mention, you've got some serious karma headed your way, girl! Sending you the best of the best positive vibes <3

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 1, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      I’ll love your positive vibes right up!

  • Sara
    April 1, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Don't non profit companies still pay salaries to their employees? I'm sure you don't have to work for free once it's up and running. I think it's good you cut back on the house cleaning, that's a dead end. You can't clean houses forever.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      They do but its all politics and logistics. Its looked down upon for the board member with the most voting power to be the paid executive director, so you walk a fine line of needing to make sure a majority of the donations are going to the people you are helping and not your own salary, so we really need to be up, running, and helping clients before I am profiting.

  • Joel
    April 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    To not take this chance on the non-profit is to fail. You will learn so much that even if in the remote chance that it doesn't work out, you will still have learned SO MUCH that you will have become a valuable prospect for other similar organizations. In a worst case scenario you will have found a way out of housework forever.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Thats a really good point, thank you 🙂 I didn’t think about the fact that it could be resume building.

      I’m not sure if I’ve seen you comment before, so if you are “new” here, welcome to the blog!! So happy to have you Joel 🙂

  • afairytale84
    April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I think you did the right thing. This non profit sounds like it's really about to take off. Besides, you definitely can't do the cleaning for the rest of your life. Not only would it never go anywhere, but it'll make you sick, or worse.Do you have any indications of when your non profit will be bringing in money? Because even non profits have paid employees.I wish you the best of luck. Fingers and toes (I'd cross my eyes, but that would hurt!) are crossed and I'm sending good vibes your way. 🙂

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I’m not sure to be honest. At least a few months. There is a fairly specific timeline that needs to happen before I can draw a salary, I’m just hoping that it goes smoothly!!

  • Anonymous
    April 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    What about your house? Can you keep from losing it (and if not, then where will you and your kids be… will you be having to use your own non-profit as a customer instead of a staff member, because you will in the same position as those women?)I'm certainly not saying pick the housecleaning, in fact I think it's a very good idea to stop using up your physical body and health like that on a dead end low paying set of tasks like that (talk about selling one's body, pro type housecleaners sell their future to get a pittance in the present. They all have health problems later on, believe me.)But you need to get recompensed somehow for your time and work with the non-profit (there is nothing wrong with getting paid in a non-profit, regular expenses like power and rent and staff(!) are expected, it's only PROFITS that must be plowed back into the “cause”.)However, while you are setting that up (consult a tax lawyer about that, they should be able to help you) you might need some help. It would be foolish for you to lose your good deal (as you'd said before, your house is less expensive than a tiny rental crackerbox, right? Therefore it makes far more sense to hang onto it, at all costs! Especially because of your children.)Let the blog readers help you there… they are actually helping you with the non-profit (by ensuring your roof, so you can continue being part of the non-profit!) Get the word back out about the “fund” towards the mortgage, etc. It is NOT begging, it is being PRACTICAL. You have this goal which is a very worthy one, it doesn't help for you to get cut off at the knees while trying to work on it. (!)Best of luck! (Remember, half of any effort is getting all the paperwork done properly. There is always a way to do something, you just have to consult the experts to figure it out. Millionaires find loopholes you wouldn't believe… I read somewhere that one guy paid less in taxes -probably percentagewise, it wasn't specific- than his own housekeeper.) !!!You can do this, just be sure you do the homework to figure out HOW!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Ok, lets see if I can answer all the questions lol.

      First, my house. To be blunt, I don’t know. I don’t know what will happen. Worst case I lose it. Best case, I don’t. Where I am at now financially every month is a gamble and I don’t want to live that way for the rest of my life so I HAVE to make a change. But in order to make that change, I know that I’ll be even worse off financially for a while. I met with someone from the local shelter and was approved for shelter services. That was really sad, scary, and heartbreaking, but I’m not dumb enough to undertake this big change without making sure that my kids will at least have some kind of roof over their heads. With that being said a shelter roof isn’t really what I had in mind, but we are always so close to ending up there anyways…. I get scared that if I lose my home I’ll never be able to dig my way out and into a real life.

      I do have a tax lawyer and he explained to me everything that needs to happen before I can draw a salary from the not-for-profit. I will most likely definitely be without any income for at least several months, but I have to start somewhere.

      Yes, the paperwork!! My gosh it was a LONG process. My tax attorney and I started the paperwork in December and just finished filing our 501c3 status this week. Blech

      I’m not against the blog readers helping me out, but it just feels wrong to ask. I don’t want people to shy away from this healing space because it becomes about money 🙁

      I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you SO much for caring!!

  • Steven Theiss
    April 2, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Scary choices, Eden! Here's my $0.02. Before you make any big changes, sit down and figure out, as best you can, how much money you spend in an average month on mortgage, food, etc. Include all the necessities. Then figure out how much you would be bringing in with your reduced cleaning workload, strip classes, etc. The difference is the money you somehow need to raise in some other way. Why not try an IndieGoGo funding campaign to build up enough $$ to fund that gap for, say, 6 months? Worst case scenario is that you don't raise all the money, but then you're no worse off than if you didn't try. Best case scenario is that you have a 6 month cushion to get the non-profit up and going, and hopefully providing some modest revenue to you. I know I would chip in! One other potential benefit would be that it would keep the funding pleas more separate from this blog, which might alleviate some of your concerns.Either way, I admire your strength of purpose and fierce determination!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks Steven!

      I did sit down and figure everything out. My budget is stricter than strict so that I can stay on top of it easier. Before I scaled down my cleaning clients I was falling roughly $400 a month short, and now with adding dance and dropping clients, I’m falling $750 short a month.

      Not good my friend, not good, but the $350 a month difference didn’t seem like a big enough reason not to do it. I was already broker than broke and not going anywhere, now at least I’m broke and hopefully moving in the right direction.

      I thought about doing an online fundraiser but since I’m an anonymous writer I can’t exaclty tell anyone which not-for-profit I founded and having an online fundraiser for a no-name not-for-profit will look kind of shady. If I did it for people that I know, then the people I am planning to invite to my benefit in a few months might be less likely to come (and donate a higher amount) if they have already donated. :/

      Thanks for your input though my man. Very smart, very smart

  • Anonymous
    April 2, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Is there any way you could share your house with another mom with kids who might be able to help pay a share of the monthly costs? Somebody who would rather live in a house (home!) with another mom than crammed into a crackerbox rental with their kids by themselves, and can bring some income to the table? (Obviously somebody sane and reliable, not somebody flaky or with issues or a scary ex… but you could certainly screen people and get references, or even friend-of-a-friend type thing, people have cousins and sisters etc., etc.) Sometimes pooling one's assets can be good, especially when it comes to grocery shopping and babysitting, etc. (And it wouldn't have to be forever either, just until you got on your feet more.) ?! Just a suggestion!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      You know I thought about that when my ex first left. I even met with the deacon’s at my church to talk about possibly having another single mom move it, but ultimately we decided it probably woudn’t work for a variety of reasons. Its something I should reconsider 🙂 Thank you!

  • Ruth Cooke
    April 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I came across this blog post today (http://www.bestbusinessyear.com/mindset-becoming-an-unstoppable-force-for-good/) that seems to speak to your predicament.As for asking blog readers to help: Ask, and ye shall be given! (Not my words…) It's fine to give of yourself, but others need to give, too. Many people want to be part of your success. Will you let them?(((Hugs)))

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      It just feels so wrong to ask for money. I already rely so much on other people to get me through life, I hate to ask more of them 🙁

      I’m going to go check out that link now, thanks hun!!

  • Anonymous
    April 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Having had well-intentioned, good hearted projects wither despite the best planning, lots of work and even some significant fiscal resources I have this to say: you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself first. Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. There will always be women in trouble. People will always need help. But you cannot be expected to bail others out when you don't even know where your next meal is coming from or whether or not you'll have a home to live in. Deal with this now, get through the uncertain part and center yourself financially. That is, put that energy into getting your family to a place of greater stability and take care of yourself. Maybe reconsider other, more consistent work options- temping, childcare, maybe go back to the PT aide work, receptionist, retail, customer service- something that will give you a relatively consistent income stream so you can work out a budget that will allow you to make better fiscal projections over time and develop some family stability. Your children will soon be in school part of the day, and eventually will be independent enough to not require complete supervision. The time will open up. It'll happen fast enough. Then you can look at the NFP again and say “hey, time to get this truck on the road”, and you can steer without worrying that your back wheels may fall off at any moment.Try to think long-term, not moment to moment. Use the present time to really do some serious strategic thinking with lots of revisions and consideration. Meet with someone who knows about running a NFP or NGO & see what all is involved. You can certainly help women and do a lot of good. It just doesn't have to happen This Minute. All those potential helpers & donors? Take names, keep in touch, send a monthly email update, maybe meet twice a year with potential board members. I can say from experience that running a NFP is exponentially more work than running a regular company, hands down, no question. More complex, different expectations, etc. I may be the only grumpy voice in the bunch, here, but I've lived through this, I'm older now, and have experience with NFPs- it's no picnic, especially when your attention is split worrying whether your rent check cleared or you're dialing away between meetings trying to drum up a new source of revenue to pay the bills. Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. You can't help them breathe if you're passed out.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you 🙂

      Trust me, I know how much work it is and is going to be. It was pretty overwhelming at first but its getting better. I’ve met with every not-for-profit in the area and learning all I can and have two founders from rather large not-for-profits working as my mentors.

      The 501c3 paperwork is filed, the board is up and running, a benefit is in the works, we are well on our way.

      It was definitely a lot of planning before I took this step. It was not a decision made lightly, lots of meetings with lots of people including a financial planner. PT aide work pays $10-12 an hour and retail work even less. Both of those jobs usually require evening and weekend work as well, and a sitter would cost me $10 an hour, plus daycare for the 9-5 hours. Supporting two kids after taxes and with all the sick days my kids have, I’d still be falling behind every month like I am now.

      It really came down to now or never for the not-for-profit and taking a chance on my future. I could get a minimum wage job, but realistically I would still be unable to support us. So why not take the chance?

      Thanks for caring and thank you for pointing out things that I might not have known 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Check with your church, find another single mom, post on the blog, be willing to accept mortgage help… your very first priority should be the literal ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD! (Yes, people do have their kids with them in a shelter, but why choose a shelter over your home if there is any possible way to figure out how to keep the home? The home should come FIRST! There IS a reason for the old saying “Charity Begins At Home!”) Especially as your children are both special needs kids and thus it is even more important for all of you for you to try and keep the house (you'd probably never be able to get a deal like that again ever, so despite your feelings about taking the chance for your non-profit, you need to realize THIS chance is equally important if not MORE so… i.e., you may never have the chance -to have a real house vs rabbit warren living- again if you let it go.) I agree with the other Anonomous about the oxygen mask and putting yourself first. You should be approaching this entire puzzle from the aspect of keeping your home as a top priority. !!! Head of the list. First on the agenda. Whatever you need to do, put that at the forefront and foremost. So try and get some help with that specific goal (house! home! keep! continue!) any way you can, don't be too proud to accept whatever you can find. (!) There IS something out there (some sort of help or solution, temporary or permanent,) you just have to reach out for it, and do whatever you need to. So as to create and keep that safe environment of “home” for your children (trust me, you do NOT want them to be in a shelter, it is more stressful than you remember, things happen there, and they see things they don't need to.) Not to sound judgmental or critical, but you really should put as much thought and care (more!) into your own roof (first!) as you have for this glorious idea (no sarcasm there, it really is admirable) of the nonprofit (once again, charity begins at home, oxygen mask first, all that sort of thing.) If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of others. Not without using yourself up in the process. (Giving up your home is huge.) Obviously you are a wonderful mom and you are going to take excellent care of your children no matter what (but it is just much harder to parent them when they live in the back seat of a car, that's all I'm saying.) You need to fight for your home first, and between the blog and finding another mom to share with, you could do it, but you have to adapt to accepting help in a variety of ways that you know and admit you have trouble with. (Maybe this is another life lesson for you, it will help you with your non-profit to understand emotionally just how it feels to be on the receiving end?) Anyway, good luck with everything, just remember to weigh all the aspects before you lose something you need to keep, just in order to -try and- help people who didn't have the choice to keep theirs. (Last but not least, you owe it to your strip class to hang onto the house, and no sarcasm there either, they get something important from that class, so you have to keep the venue to hold it in!) !!! 🙂

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      I’m not against accepting help, I just don’t know where to get it from. My friends don’t have money seeing as how we are all young mothers, and I don’t have parents or “my parents friends,” so it definitely leaves me in a bind. My church does help me as much as they can, they know my situation, and I do accept the help when given. 🙂

      I think I probably didn’t make it clear enough in my original post, but either way I would probably be losing the house. The cleaning job wasn’t providing enough to keep it and no minimum wage job that I could get would allow me to cover all of my expenses either.

      When I sat down and really faced reality, I realized that I am going to be where I am now five years from now if something doesn’t change. Working my ass off at a low paying job will still never allow me to get ahead. Without the means to make a decent income, I’m screwed. I really need to go back to school if I want a good job, which would mean abandoning the house and moving into a woman’s shelter while I was in school. Otherwise my option is to create a job. Now by no means am I doing the not for profit just for myself, but I do think it is both an opportunity to create a lasting career and accomplish my mission.

      It just sucks that in order to really make my life better, whether its with an education of the not for profit or whatever, each choice leaves me in a bind while I’m getting to the goal location.

      I’m hopeful that something will come in in the meantime and I am planning a fundraiser, but obviously there are no garauntee’s in life.


      Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Your goal is truly admirable, but think very carefully before prioritizing your dream before your children's needs… while you focus your drive on your charitable aspirations, you are missing the forest for the trees, just a bit. (It is truly a wonderful intention you have, and clearly it feels like now is the time and this is the moment. But just don't throw away everything in your life for it, (because the needy will be with you always, and Mother Theresa was only able to choose to give up everything for her actions because she did not have small hostages to fortune, aka dependents.) Your choices directly affect them, so look ahead to the future and see how they will feel themselves when they are 18 or 20, about what path you opt for now. (You owe it to them. They are your first responsibility.) I had a friend who felt so driven to become a healer that she left her children with her former husband and dedicated her life to years of training and work in her field. One was 6, one 9, and one 13. The two youngest never got over it, they are both in their 20s now and just total messes. (And they don't care how noble her goal was, and that it wasn't bar-hopping or being on drugs or abandoning them to run off with the pool boy, but helping needy struggling women with severe female health problems and difficult obstetrical issues, all that mattered to them was their home and life and world was turned upside down and they never got it back. So she robbed her children to give to other women's children. Ironic, huh?) Clearly you put your children first, of course, it's obvious from everything you say and do, but you need to remember (viscerally) that their safety and security and familiar surroundings and comfort really should be a higher priority than self-sacrifice to a noble goal, right now, no matter how virtuous the intent (and how hard the struggle to keep ends meeting otherwise.)

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Hum, I don’t really know what to say to that. 🙁 My children are a big part of why I’m doing this and I’m sad that I didn’t adequelty portray that in my post.

      The way I see it, my children only have one parent. No second parent, no grandparents. I want to be around for them for a really, really long time, and if I continue cleaning houses that isn’t going to be the case.

      In order to have a future with them, I need to change our present. I can’t change our present without changing our lives. Working a minimum wage job isn’t going to get me anywhere. It will not cover our bills. Our only really option for success is if I either get the not-for-profit up and running or if I get an education. My best bet at this point is to keep working on the project I’ve already started. If six months down the line it fails, well then I’m back to where I am today, which is abandon the house and live elsewhere while I get an education.

      I’m doing the best I can and I this is the only way that I can think of to at least try and have a career and give my kids the life they deserve. Is it the right choice? Maybe not, but it feels like the best option that I have right now. Either it works out, or all of blogland can watch me fail. :/ Wish me luck…

  • Anonymous
    April 5, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Could you SELL the house (instead of LOSING it?) Would that help? (At least it might help your credit rating, if nothing else?) Or rent it out for the full cost of the mortgage, or nearly so, and just keep the dance section for your own living space? Only for a while, until things improve? (I knew a guy who did that… actually he moved into his garage, turned it into an apartment [of sorts] and rented out the main house. It wasn't ideal, but it kept him from losing it entirely!)As suggested, It's hard to believe that you can't somehow find another struggling mom out there who would love to share, even if you have to bunk together like college students in a dorm room, it would still be WAY better than a shelter!Put an ad up somewhere, you can always screen the applicants, you probably have a pretty reliable B.S. detector, and obviously even the good ones would also have to be a good fit with you, but it's not any harder than dating (and the rewards right now would be much greater!)Good luck! (And if you do think you'll lose the house, be sure you get all your personal stuff out asap, and put it safely in storage, so you don't end up like the folks on tv that lose their homes, where they show up at the door and march you out and you lose all your personal property!)Take care!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 5, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      My best bet would be to rent it. With the housing market so low I’d have to come to the closing with quite a bit a cash because even the short sales don’t seem to be doing very well.

      Because my mortgage is so incredibly low I’d probably do alright renting, but because I have no real provable job I would still be unable to turn around and rent a place for myself.

      As per finding another single mom, there are a few reasons why that wouldn’t work. Its such an obvious “next step” in my situation that you guys are just going to have to trust that there is a reason I’m not doing it. 🙁

      My best bet if I can’t afford to stay here is going to be to rent the place, use the rental income to rent a storage space for my stuff, and move into transitional housing with the kids.

      So much to think about. :/

  • Anonymous
    April 5, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    I think people have offered some really solid advice, but you don't seem interested in any of the suggestions. You've dismissed everything out of hand. There's no “magic job” that will arise with better pay out of nowhere, and cash isn't going to materialize. Nor will the ability to go to school, until the kids are older.You may have to do what a lot of us have done, and really didn't want to do, but we bit the bullet. Cohousing- Try looking for someone who already has a place & move in with them, thus no issue with having to procure the lease on your own. I know married couples who had to do this, older folks, even people in big cities with great jobs have roommates. #1 easiest thing to do to drop the cost of living. Even a quiet student would help. Maybe someone studying education or early childhood dev? Hey, no one likes having to share quarters if they don't have to, but it is an easy and demonstrably clear way to drop your baseline costs.Co-op purchasing- find a group of people (celiac's, crohn's, health nuts) who are willing to pool money to buy GF staple foods in bulk for a discount. I know at least three people (all with special needs kids, by coincidence) who have created and still maintain co-ops for buying groceries, supplements, special dairy products. Some also do communal kitchens once a month for gf cooking. Collect a few people, everyone splits the cost of food (bulk, again), agree on menu, spend one Saturday a month cooking, all food gets divided evenly and packaged in single servings for freezing. Saves time & money, creates community.Job with low but predictable income: the occasional windfall that comes with freelancing is nothing compared to the predictability of a salaried job in the long run. A $10/hr job should net $275-300/wk after taxes. That's already more than the cleaning is bringing in, and you can budget & plan accordingly. The steady income stream will help you be able to prove a predictable income, should you eventually be able to rent on your own. Also, staying in one job leads to promotions- even moving to a low level manager's post can mean a pay increase. If you do well, who knows how you may be able to rise through the ranks? Good workers are hard to find!As for the not for profit, well, you do know it is professional begging? Completely unpredictable? Subject to the whims of the economy and personal circumstance? Your #1 job is asking people for money. Every day. Put on the suit, make the speech, ask for money all day long. Income generated via solicitation is extremely unreliable (I cannot stress that enough), and most orgs run on the work of volunteers, interns and part-timers for a reason. Salaries are the biggest bite that comes out of the budget of any established not for profit, and in general, people don't plan to draw salaries from their orgs until they have established several years of service and have demonstrated to the board a sustained ability to grow the income stream, and/or procure larger blocks of funding (annual or multi-annual commitments) from other, larger foundations. It also doesn't look good to be the primary beneficiary of your own org.I think you need to slow down. Waaaay down. Take predictable job until kids are in school. Start taking single classes at college until you finish your degree. Get a better job, etc. This will take years. Why is that a bad thing? What would be wrong with waiting until the kids are ten and don't need so much intensive care? I think you're missing the boat, here. There is some real wisdom from the last few posters, good cautionary info.I think you're putting all your eggs in one basket thinking the not for profit is going to solve everything. It is really shortsighted, and it is not the panacea you think it is.The other posters also have some really valid input about the needs of your kids (not just financial, but your time, your energy, consistency), but you don't seem to even be taking these things on board.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      You seem to be under the impression that I have made this choice with absolutely no planning what-so-ever, which is untrue. This is a blog, not a complete detailed outline of my life. You also made assumptions based on incorrect assumptions.

      Look, I’m not going to sit here and go back and forth on why I have made the decisions that I have made, but just to throw out a few examples

      Yes, I can go back to school. There are TONS of single mom educational scholarships out there, several which I have already applied for and been awarded if I choose to accept them. School would not be an expense out of my pocket. Transitional housing would cover my living expenses and my daycare while I went back to school. It would be a sucky couple of years but I would come out farther ahead then a long term education plan.

      Co housing is not an option for me right now. I’ve said that multiple times on here and I can’t help it if people choose to continue thinking that it is. When I am having ongoing legal issues with my stalker of an ex husband, an active order of protection, and a very real constant threat, no one wants to live with me and I can’t knowingly take those issues to the home of someone else. This isn’t a joke problem people, this is a serious issue that other people can’t be put in the middle of when the target is me and my home.

      This was not an uneducated decision. This has been months of planning with the deacons at my church, my church mentor, a financial planner, several attorneys, multiple meetings with other not-for-profit founders, and many other people.

      Going back to school is my best bet. Stopping along the way to see if the not-for-profit works out is not going to make anything worse. Its easy for people to say “Just get a $10 an hour job.” I can’t even find an $8 dollar and hour job that would have me working 40 hours a week during daycare hours. Its not for lack of effort or trying, its the fact that I live in an extremely populated area where we are all fighting for the same minimum wage jobs.

      This is what I am doing. This is my plan. If the plan fails, then its on me, but this is what I’m doing and I don’t need to keep defending myself to anyone. No one ever thought I would come as far as I have, and if I had done everything the way everyone else thought I should, or the way everyone else that had gone through things like me had, I wouldn’t be near as far along as I am.

      This is what I’m doing and if it makes everyone angry then so be it.

      No one is forcing you guys to read and stay here. If you are here to watch me fail, then yea, maybe you will get a great show. I can’t predict the future, but as much as you would all like to think that I’m looking at the short term plan, I’m not, you just can’t see that because this is a five minute blog.

  • Anonymous
    April 6, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Eden, hun. All those “anonymous” that you are replying too, its the same person. We all support you and trust you are destined for more than what you have been doing.

  • christina
    April 6, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Don't let anyone get you down. People will always tell you that you can't do something. People will be jealous that they didn't follow their dreams or they will doubt your dedication because they don't have the same passion. You are a smart girl who has shown a lot of perseverance in the face of adversity. If anyone can do this, it's you. Challenging yes, but not impossible. no one knows your situation but you, and no one has proved more love for her children than you. whatever you choose, just know that there will be a lot of bloggers praying for your success.

  • Anonymous
    April 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I read these as people with age and experience wanting to help, and sharing what they know to be common pitfalls, and wanting to help you keep your situation on the positive incline of progress. No one is here to piss in your cornflakes, no one doubts your commitment, no one is here to discourage you. They wouldn't comment otherwise. What kind of jerk beats up on people in a tough spot for no reason? It's just input.With age and experience come life lessons, and many of us have been in a very similar boat, tried similar things, had both good and bad results. I didn't suggest anything to you that I didn't wind up doing myself over the years. I did exactly the very things I suggested to you, and things really did turn around dramatically. Over time. I, too, started with maid service, waitressing in terrible places, an abandoned degree, ongoing health issues, big bills, no family support, no car, inescapable drama, endless problems with the ex. It got better. Much better. But it started out with a lot of grumbling, resentment, bitterness. Who wants to have to do things they feel will make life possibly worse? No one. I was skeptical and angry, but I did it and I'm glad I took the advice I was offered.It has nothing to do with “passion” or dedication, or jealousy, or good intentions. You said it yourself- why are you being given so little when you work harder than everyone you know? This comes BECA– USE we've got passion, dedication, achievement, goals, and we got there, we recognize it in you, and we've got information to share. Sometimes it isn't about you. It's external circumstances beyond our control. A big smile and pure intentions won't stop the donations from going from 10K one month to zero the next. Zero. NFP is a tough row to hoe. Donors pledge & don't follow through, their own funding gets cut, board members move… I'm just trying to say as much as you have faith in your project (and let's face it, no one works for NFP's unless they have unshakeable devotion to the cause), it depends on others and it is unstable. They grow best when they grow slowly. That is fact.Note I neither said nor implied it is “impossible”, “not worth doing”, “too difficult”, “doomed to fail”, “beyond reality”, or anything else judgmental. I am stating facts gleaned from years of direct experience and observing others in the field. That's all. You're free to use that info as you see fit.And no, “anonymous”, can you believe those prior “anonymouses” are actually different individuals, save for my reply? Unless you want to ask the page owner for ISP's, Is it not conceivable that others might share my viewpoint? That others may have literally “been there, done that” and want to offer concrete info?

  • Anonymous
    April 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Oh no it is NOT!! I'M one of the Anonymous posters and I can vouch that there are at LEAST two of us (as I know who I am NOT, who has also commented,) and probably more like three or four of us! (At least.) I even mentioned that I agreed with -one of- the other Anonymous (the oxygen mask one), at one point! And, I am CERTAINLY not the most recent one who commented on “magic jobs” and “professional begging” (And the oxygen mask one was quite supportive about non-profits so I doubt they're this recent one either!) AND, I know I am not YOU, when _I_ am being Anonymous! (So if you aren't the one that talks about oxygen masks or “professional begging” then YOU now make -at least- FOUR of us! Unless you are the same one as the “begging” remark one, in which case you are lying too, because you KNOW you didn't write MY posts!) !!!! I think if Eden does enough checking around she can find some help, and I do NOT think that getting some when you need it is professional begging nor do I think trying to get out of some dead-end profession is wishing for a magic job. We would all like to find something that pays well enough to support ourselves, and depending on what part of the country we live in and what our personal skills and background (and education) are, what opportunities are available around us can vary widely! And her comments about restraining orders and such do a lot to explain why some of her demurring comments in response to suggestions sound excuse-like. So, Anonymous “hun”, don't speak for the rest of us! (And btw, it's “to” and not “too”, _I_ don't make that mistake in MY Anonymous posts!)”NOT the 'same person' Anonymous”

  • Anonymous
    April 6, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I am a fellow Anonymous who just replied to that other one who claimed we are all one (and vouched that we are NOT!) I think what you were saying in this last paragraph of your post is something like, “no, we are not the same one, we are indeed actually all different, can you believe it? It's just that we all share certain opinions based on experience. (etc., etc.)” It didn't quite come out like that at first read, but I know what you meant. I do think it's hard in print to always adequately convey a TONE, and yours -in your previous post- might've sounded a bit harsh if read without context. Going back to it and understanding your intent better might help Eden if she re-reads your post (me, I can actually hear a bit of exasperation in it, myself, which I can relate to just a bit, we're in the position of “been there done that” and we managed to get ourselves on our feet, and know it can be done, if people stop saying “but” and start saying “o.k.”.) The thing is, we're the successes in that (of sorts), but there are failures in that effort too, and we need to remember that sometimes the doors ARE just closed. We kicked them open, but that doesn't always work. Not every time and not for everyone. (Although granted it helps to try the knob first and not tackle the hinges first.) 😉 Now me, I think Eden needs to make a really BIG change. (!) If I were in her shoes I would look into moving out of the state, candidly, a totally fresh start and the opportunity to get well away from every aspect of the abuse she has fended off. (After all, the ex won't have the gumption to follow, right?) There are some states (such as Hawaii, surprisingly enough) that are quite generous about helping newcomers. But she has chosen to stay put and fight, for a variety of reasons, and now she just needs to find the best solution within the fairly trap-like (sorry) situation she has. (And her “best” solution choice doesn't currently appear to be such, to outsiders. Might not even be at all, but at least she is trying.) I think her idea about renting her house out (in order to keep it) is probably her best choice, and being in transitional housing (which probably has more security than she currently has) may be her best answer. I do agree with you that the wisdom gleaned from many of us having been where she is now, and our perspective gained from solving similar struggles, is something she could profit by, if she listened without being on the defensive, but when has any younger generation really listened to the older ones? (Every group reinvents the wheel, unfortunately.) I wish her luck as she experiences the same pitfalls and does the same things we did, when WE didn't listen… until WE learned the hard way. 😛 (And while I do totally agree with the truth within your comments, all of them, some of the phrasing like magic job and professional begging, though also true, are a bit loaded, and despite their very concise shorthand summation of such thinking as was being described, can unfortunately upset folks who are already programmed to be defensive, and prevent them from recognizing the sage advice being passed on within the whole.) Let's hope Eden recognizes the sincere supportive intent, as well as being put off by some of our various comments (with which she takes exception.) In the end, we all do want her to succeed, and that's the important part. 🙂

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Wowzers, this comment thread is getting a little…I don’t know lol. Its a lot to take in. I’m going to leave it with this;

      I truly appreciate the time that it takes you guys to write to me and I love that you care enough to offer your insights and your suggestions 🙂

      I may not always do what everyone thinks is best of me, but I’m in no way disregarding what you are saying and I appreciate that you took the time to write it.

      Love and hugs everyone!

  • Anonymous
    April 6, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Im the anonymous that said all of the other anonymous people were the same person. I find it hard to believe that you really are different people based on the fact that you “all” replied this morning at 10:35, 10:46, and 11:16 am. So all of you just happened to check the blog within the same hour, possibly from different countries but at least most likely different parts of the country, but all within 50 minutes of each other? Considering that none of you are registered, that would mean you aren't getting email notifications that someone has replied, so you “all” just “happened” to check the blog comments at the same time?

  • Wry
    April 7, 2014 at 5:00 am

    I have a language question. You call your project “not for profit,” I've typically used “nonprofit.”. Is there a difference? I wouldn't support a nonprofit whose founder/chairman/president was living in a shelter. I'd think the person has poor organizational skills, and wouldn't be trustworthy tohandle finances.

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Well, I'm the one who got offended that you implied I was the other one, and you have to remember that the times shown on the posts are not always based on everyone's actual reality (i.e., it's after midnight here, for instance, but it might say I posted at 3 am or at 9 pm or whatever the receiving computer thinks the time is there, not at my end.) Actually, if you consider that busy people usually only sit down at their computer at certain times, and those times are probably in the early morning or late night (and there may be a 3 hour time difference between their time and yours, so their 7 might be your 10) or even at lunchtime, it's not totally inconceivable that it will be more often clustered at similar times of day. Especially if we all happen to be in America, which from our comments it sounds like we all are. We don't spell our words with extra “U”s like the Brits or use grammatically awkward sentence contruction as if translating from another language.) And if you will notice, I also replied to the other Anonymous who made those less than tactful remarks, and why bother to do that if we're both the same person? (I suppose I could be wasting my time playing some bizarre game, but I'm not. Unlike you, of course, who seems to enjoy causing controversy with no constructive goal, by being argumentative, suspicious, and patronizing to no purpose.) No, actually I changed my mind, yes, you got me! I am YOU! Yes! I am arguing with myself, since obviously ALL the Anonymouses are the very same individual so we are all one and thus I must be you since you are anonymous too so now I'm questioning my very existence. Or, no, wait… I'm a multiple personality! That's it! So, tell me, which one of the personalities are you? (And yes, I am making fun of you here, just in case you find it hard to believe that I'm not really you… since you claim to find it so hard to believe there is more than one Anonymous… hope it isn't a huge blow to find out that you really are NOT me. I don't think anyway….??) Seriously, _I_ know for a FACT that there's at least three of us, since I'm definitely not the oxygen mask one nor am I the controversial magic job one. But yes, I am you, the one who thinks we're all the same person and we post at the same time. But no, wait, you (or is it me?) posted your cynical skepticism at 2:46 pm on the 6th and this comment isn't until the next day (gasp!), or,10 hours later anyway, by MY time… so, gosh, who am I? I guess I must just be ANONYMOUS! 😛 !!!!! O.k., sarcasm and annoyance aside (hard as it is to do, as really, your suspiciousness is enormously irritating both for its naivety and its almost smarmy tone) I am absolutely NOT the same Anonymous as you are, nor am I the same one as two others which I have at times responded to or commented on (and frankly, if you really can't tell the difference in style, vocabulary, tone, punctuation, spacing, and overall “voice” between the different ones, then you should probably start paying more attention to those details instead of placing too much significance on coincidental timing. Which as I pointed out isn't quite as “coincidental” if you consider the situation of access to computers based on real life schedules.) But you know what, come to think of it, who cares what you think? If it makes you happy to think we're all the same person, then whatever. (Just know that there are people out there laughing at you, and/or sneering, because we all know for a fact that you are absolutely wrong.) 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2014 at 7:57 am

    And there you go… I see that my 12:47 a.m. was called “2:47 a.m.” by the blog, for my post. (So just FYI that the times are entirely fictional on this thing. The various postings by we separate Anonymous folks may be far greater than 50 minutes apart, in reality, depending on which time zone we are in. One person's 11 a.m. could be another person's 8 a.m., or 2 p.m.!) So, add that to your calculations!

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Wow you're pretty stupid. Yes, the are the same thing, but what the fuck does Eden's living situation have to do with running her nonprofit? Would you rather support a charity where the director lives in a mansion and all your donations are supporting him? I can't believe you would be rude enough to say that to someone trying to get their life together. Do you even read this blog? The fact that her life has worked for this long is a testimony to her “organizational” skills. Choosing to move out of her home for a better financial future does not mean she can't handle finances, it means she knows the best uses of her money. You are so incredibly stupid you should probably just shut your mouth now. Not to mention a shelter is not the same as transitional housing, which clearly you don't understand either

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Wow you're pretty stupid. Yes, the are the same thing, but what the fuck does Eden's living situation have to do with running her nonprofit? Would you rather support a charity where the director lives in a mansion and all your donations are supporting him? I can't believe you would be rude enough to say that to someone trying to get their life together. Do you even read this blog? The fact that her life has worked for this long is a testimony to her “organizational” skills. Choosing to move out of her home for a better financial future does not mean she can't handle finances, it means she knows the best uses of her money. You are so incredibly stupid you should probably just shut your mouth now. Not to mention a shelter is not the same as transitional housing, which clearly you don't understand either

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Note to the skeptical cynic who thinks all Anonymous are the same one… THIS Anonymous is CERTAINLY not ME (is it you?) and, from the style of expression I would say not the oxygen mask or magic job Anonymous either. Hopefully you will note that, and observe that this Anonymous makes fairly direct personal judgment comments and uses some salty adjectives and really does not sound at all like the rest of us. (Doesn't mean they're right or wrong, just saying that they are definitely not any of US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, they might be YOU, I guess…. ??)

  • Lotus
    April 8, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I would support the nonprofit of an abuse and assault survivor who was trying to use her experiences to help others even if she lived in an old, worn out sandal. :)P.S. If you're concerned for Eden's monetary well-being while she starts up this nonprofit, there's a little PayPal “Donate” button up there that you could use to help her 🙂

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Haha, too funny Lotus

  • Mary Anne
    April 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, Eden, I went back and read these posts today after reading your current posts…isn't there a way you can block posters if they are anonymous? I think if they are afraid/ashamed to own who they are then you/we don't really care what they have to say!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Haha, I started getting so buried alive in comments I just stopped responding! Thank you to everyone who said nice things!

  • Joel
    April 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    My mother was a newspaper carrier for 20+ years. When she “retired” she had nothing to show for it. No savings, barely a place to live, and she hadn't had health insurance her whole life (eligibility medicate was a blessing.) She didn't plan at all for the future and so relied on the universe to get her by. I hate to see anyone just getting by.And yes, your memory serves you. This is my first (well, second) comment. I've been reading for a while, and I've read from the beginning.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Im sorry to hear that about your mother. How is she doing now? That scares me, no offense to your mother or references to her as person, but I don’t want to be like her and that’s exactly where I am heading 🙁

      I need to get ahead now, for my kids, for myself, and for our future. It wont be fun, but it has to get done!

      Well Im glad you came out of the shadows 🙂 Nice to have you Joel

  • Joel
    April 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    (edit) “…eligibility for Medicare…”

  • Wry
    April 10, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I apologize for being rude to Eden. I shared my thoughts. Transition and shelters were both mentioned. I think people should help others after they are in a stable position. I volunteer about 30 hours weekly, and I have for 25+ years in several organizations, some 501c3, some not.Without knowing the nonprofit, it's mission, or it's structure, I can only comment on what information has been given. Eden has a dream, she has energy, imagination, and drive. She also has money issues. I stand by what I said about donating to a struggling founder/leaderI've read this blog from the beginning, but I rarely comment. I wish you well, but think you may have a better result with a large donation to get you stable before you start.

  • Wry
    April 10, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Eta:volunteer at any point in life., but help by quitting your job and possibly losing your home is counterproductive.

  • Anonymous
    April 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Wry are you not reading? She was losing the house anyways. She left cleaning to try and make a better future and teach strip. The difference is $200 and she had a better shot at a future. Seems like a risk worth taking

  • Anonymous
    April 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Eden, I feel you are winning the battle 🙂 Hang in there my Love!Nathaliexoxoxox

  • jamie
    May 10, 2014 at 4:38 am

    “Then I look at the not-for-profit. It’s a project that I believe so deeply in, just thinking about the women that I will be able to help heals my wounds.”NO, STOP. Before you start your own non-profit, PLEASE gather experience at an established non-profit. Non-profits are NOT meant to heal your own scars. If you're using your involvement at a charity for that, you need to re-assess your involvement. SERIOUSLY. this is not meant to shame you or whatever. If you're devoted to a DV/SA resource center to heal your own wounds, that's very unhealthy and every professional would recommend against it. I'm NOT trying to shame or discourage you. You can help other women, but you have to help yourself, first.

  • Quinn Vaccarino
    May 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Eden,I found your blog today and have been moved by every entry that I have read. You are a wonderful person with an incomparable amount of strength. I am an artist who draws made-to-order designs on sneakers. I donate $5 from every order to the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes organization. I would absolutely love for you to take a look at my work. I also would love to hear more about your not for profit :)I have a website in the works, but for right now my custom shoes, otherwise known as “Qustom Quinns,” can be seen on Instagram @QustomQuinnsYou can also contact me at Drawingsbyquinn@gmail.com

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