When Everything Falls Apart

I almost had to enroll my son in school. To most people, that’s not a big deal, it’s the norm. For us it would’ve been devastating. B has never been to school and thrives with an unschooling environment. He’s free to choose how he spends his time and what he wants to learn. That freedom is something I always want for him.

This summer was beyond challenging for me. My nanny job ended when the family moved, I tried to launch an Etsy shop, worked a couple of part-time babysitting jobs, but nothing was coming together the way I needed it to, financially.

I applied for full-time nanny position after another, only to be turned down because I wanted to bring my son. My qualifications and references are amazing but people get hung up on that one aspect. I guess it seems hard to believe that I could manage their children/ household as well as my own, while homeschooling. Funny, when I write it that way it does sound superhero-ish. It’s just the way it’s needed to be so that I can give my son what I believe is best for him.

So, we were broke this summer and muddled through with some help from dear friends. I kept applying for jobs, crying when I’d get turned down, and sometimes taking to my bed for a couple of days at a time. Depression is hard to stave off when you can’t provide for your family.

The part-time babysitting job I had for September, was for a single mom like me. She’s trying to work full-time and go to college full time. When she was suddenly laid off, we were both left floundering.

The little I was making, was now gone and desperation setting in, I had to give a lot of thought to enrolling B in school. It’s so painful that my child, in this society, could be an obstacle to gaining employment. So many feel forced to put children in school so they can work to support them.

Luckily, at the final hour, I got an email from a family who had originally turned me down. They had reconsidered the arrangement and wanted to give me a try. They have one baby who will be my only responsibility. While he naps, B and I can spend one on one time. Most importantly, my son gets to continue learning in the way that suits him best, while I earn a paycheck and support B in his self-directed days.

I start full-time on Monday and I’m looking forward to it. Some of the bills that I’ve gotten behind on can get caught up and I can reduce the weight that’s been on my shoulders.

Use this as a reminder to take nothing for granted. You never know how much worse your situation could be until you’re there.


  1. tahenryauthoress · October 15, 2016

    I am so happy to hear this will work out for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A Simple Village Undertaker · October 15, 2016

    Congratulations. I wish I could harness that kind of determination in myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. La Quemada · October 15, 2016

    I’m so glad this opportunity came up for you! My sister unschools her kids and they seem to flourish in that situation. It’s definitely made it challenging for her to work, however. She’s lucky because her husband has a job that pays most of the bills. She makes money giving music lessons, which is easier now that her kids are a little older, but it was really hard while my super-active nephew was younger. For a while she tried working on weekends, while her husband was home, but she was exhausted from never having a break. It’s so good that this family realized you could be a good nanny while your son is with you as well. It also seems like such a great chance for him to truly understand what it means to care for a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melissa · October 15, 2016

      Good point! For the past few years we have worked with children closer to his age so this will be an eye opener for B!
      Glad your sister is able to make unschooling work for her family too. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. redheadmom8 · October 15, 2016

    I’m so glad you were able to work it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. miss chievous chai · October 16, 2016

    I feel you. I have been in your shoes for the last ten years now. My home learning child is a teenager now and mostly able to do things on her own. But we have had desperate times because of my wish to keep her out of school learning. It would interfere with her education……
    At the moment I’m like you, doing the Etsy shop, I have been fiddling about with it and still have to make it work, but I also know it takes time to find the right audience for the shop to do well. And like you, I just need the money now, not in a few years.
    Friends and family have been saving me time after time and that just gets old. Always relying on others feels like I have my hand out always .And I don’t feel like I’m doing nearly enough to make a living and my daughters’ needs are never met.
    At the moment I’m working towards my goal to get my Chai shop up and running again. And that’s also why I’m blogging, to keep track of my progress in life, so I can see where I was struggling and what the good times were. When life is desperate it is good to remember where you are headed and how many times you got up already. You are strong, and you do this. Good luck sister!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Melissa · October 16, 2016

      Yeah, the Etsy thing is like everything else. It takes money to make money. Hopefully I can get back into mine too.
      Best of luck to you. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Camie · October 17, 2016

    I’m happy for you and pray things continue to improve. You’re an awesome mommy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melissa · October 17, 2016

      Thanks! I think this is the beginning of great things ahead. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ranie · October 19, 2016

    Melissa- I’m online, looking for answers, and stumbled across your post… I’m a single mom trying to unschool with 3 (14, 9, and 4). Today was a day that required me to ask a police office to our home to speak with my eldest about his behaviors and treatment of me and his sisters. 😦 I’m trying to go to school (online) PT, and am getting desperate… for 2 years, at least they read anything/everything… (and, I have a lot of books, and an entire library system to choose from)… now, they won’t DO anything- goof off on tablets, watch TV… yell at me and each other… thinking this isn’t working, and seriously considering public school… thinking I have NO other option. They don’t even want to unschool/homeschool… they want to attend PS. But, my reasons for withdrawing them have only gotten worse within our District. Families are pulling their kids and choosing other options in record numbers- and, we’re just a rural WI district! I still don’t know what to do… BUT, at least I don’t feel like an utter failure! I see that we need to have some more discussion about WHY they like/dislike both options… they need to have say-so, but I need to make a choice that workds best for all of us… They want to go for daily access to “friends” and tech. We stay busy with activities outside the home… but, not to the point of being crazy! When they were in PS before- it was tears on a daily basis, mine and theirs. Why would they think anything has changed or improved? They’re bored. Is this a phase?? You’ve helped me see a bigger picture… Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melissa · October 19, 2016

      Sounds like pros and cons lists with the kids involved would be good. Something’s not working for them and maybe they need the open dialog to figure out what it is they really want. With three kids of such a wide age range I’m sure it does make it difficult to engage them all in whatever their interests are. Maybe a mentor, especially for the eldest? You’ve got this. The fact that you’re online looking for answers, shows me you’ll find a solution! I’ve found my online community here, on Facebook and Instagram have been so helpful! It gives me fresh ideas and let’s me see others also struggle.
      Hang in there!


  8. coralswimming · June 4, 2017

    I don’t homeschool, I don’t work from home, and I don’t take my children to work with me…but I can’t even tell you how much I can relate to this post precisely at this point in my life. Just thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melissa · June 4, 2017

      You are very welcome. I always love to hear that others can relate to my stories. Makes it so worthwhile to share!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Artie Duncanson · August 13, 2017

    Congratulations on making it through this difficult period. Your patience will certainly pay off when B gets older and truly grasps how fortunate he was to have a mother who recognized the value of unschooling her child. His chances of finding happiness will increase exponentially since he was allowed to pursue his own educational goals, and your bond with him will be forged tighter than most parents. Good things are to come.

    Liked by 1 person

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