or Oh Crud I have to go to the state for help
As a single parent we all at one time or another have to swallow our pride and go into those doors that hide those angry questioning eyes that are so judgmental. Whether they are judgmental or not there are many times that they appear to be and our perception is what really counts in life for us personally.
“Why are you here today?” is a question that makes us look at our reasons, question if we really need the help we are requesting, and if we deserve to be asking. It is not a choice at this point; most of us would not have walked through those doors were it not a matter of life and death to those we love the most.
We look that individual in the eye and say “I need to apply for assistance”. The next question makes us wonder if we know what we are there for because it is usually “What type of assistance do you think you need?” If it is your first time walking through those doors you may not even have a clue what they are offering; you just know that you are at the bottom of the barrel and out of choices or you would not be there.
How do you give an answer to a question that you have no idea how to answer~honestly. Explain your situation, look them in the eye and ask your own question “What would you suggest I consider” or “What programs do you have available”? They probably will not tell you what you need, but they can offer the information on programs and it stops their questions until you begin to fill out the paperwork.
Many times you will get that worker that has been there for a lifetime, heard all the stories there are to tell, and has seen all the tears they care to see. They have become jaded because of those individuals who are looking for a hand out. We are there for a hand up and we must remember that FACT because it is a fact. Remember that the individual setting across that desk from you is an person doing their job to the best of their ability with limited resources who has to say no to some who will call and scream and make their life a living hello because of a decision that was made due to pre-set guidelines.
There are those that are working the system and they make it difficult for those who are just looking to get restarted and are at that moment in their lives out of choices. We all face our own battles and if we can remember that in our dealings with other people then we can treat them as well if not better than we want to be treated in our lives.
This blog is not to tell you what you already know; this blog is to provide information that might make looking them in the eye with confidence and telling them what you need and want a little easier.
- Prior to your appointment do some research and find out what office offers what programs.
- Make appointments all on the same day that way you can arrange a baby sitter and get everything done at the same time.
- Call the offices and request an application, many will mail it to you so that it can be filled out prior to your appointment. This saves the workers and yourself time in the long run. (Not all offices will do this and they might say no. But they cannot tell you YES if you never ask).
- Gather all necessary documents and make sure they are neat prior to attending your appointment. This makes you appear more professional in your manner and gives the appearance of professionalism.
- DRESS FOR SUCCESS. When you go to these appointments dress as if you are also looking for a job. This is an interview and it makes good practice for those employment interviews that you will have. They are professionals, treat them as such.
- Believe in yourself, remember that you are there for a hand up not a hand out.
- Ask for the help you need, also ask about other assistance with employment, clothing for employment, job trainings, school options, etc. Each state and sometimes counties have different funding for different programs. You have to ask the right questions.
- Build your list of goals. You can not ask for what you do not know that you desire.
- If at all possible do not take children with you; they get bored and because you are off your game a bit this brings your parenting skills into focus. Even great parents who have perfect children find that when they are stressed their skills show deficits. Maybe trade babysitting with a friend or another single parent that you know so that you can both make your appointments, go job hunting, have some self time, etc.
- Don’t get comfortable on assistance; it is a temporary solution, that eventually ends. Begin making plans to build your future. As your children watch you work toward your future, they learn to work toward theirs.
These are not musts / have tos / or you betters ~ they are simply ideas that made that walk through those doors easier for me when I was out of choices, out of options, and out of ideas.
DISCLAIMER: The previous words are for informational and entertainment purposes only. I am not a licensed anything, just a 25+ year single mom who did the best she could with what she had available to her at the time.
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