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Old 02-19-2008, 11:15 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,247 times
Reputation: 15

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I am a 30 yr. old single mother of one beautiful 3 yr. old boy. I have recently split (4 months ago) from my ex boyfriend who I was a house wife (or should I say house-girlfriend since we never married) for, and a stay at home mom to my son.
I have my Bachelor's in Fine Arts Photography. However, since I graduated in 2001, I have almost all given up on a photography career since I was told that you really can't expect to be paid for your work until you have interned for many years for an experienced photographer. Also, the equipment and studio rentals were unquestionably expensive to lay out. Since then I have mostly worked as an exotic dancer on and off between unworthy jobs on the books that didn't pay enough for me to exist and pay my student loans. As a result, I have defaulted on my loan, ruining my credit.
I never really enjoyed working as a dancer (especially knowing that I am too well educated to be an exotic dancer) and I really don't want to go back to dancing now that I am a mother. However, I need to start working again doing something that will pay for my son and my living expenses (rent, car insurance, utilities, student loans, food, clothes, etc.) an yet allow me to take care of him during the day so I don't have to pay an extra expense for daycare. (I can probably find a friend to keep an eye on him while I am working as long as he is sleeping. Then I would pick him up after work.) Or else, I was thinking of finding a roommate to share a house for rent and trade nightly childcare (making sure he is safe in his bed while I work) for other duties ( ie.;I could do the cooking and housework during the day.) I feel that due to my circumstances I have little options. I want my son to live in a safe environment and be taken care of with the best possible life. I know that being a dancer isn't exactly the choice profession for a single mother, however, if I work on the books then I will risk loosing the Medicaid health care for both of us and my paycheck will be reduced automatically to pay off my student loans. I am temporarily staying with a friend who was nice enough to let my son and I sleep on their living room floor until I can find a place to live and save up enough money to afford it. I feel like I just may have to dance temporarily to come up with enough money for first months rent and security before we wear out our welcome.
Since my son's father has never really acknowledged his son or sought out visitation, he cannot be counted on to help with expenses and childcare. He sends child support rarely if at all and it is little help when it does post. On one hand, it is hard not having a father for my son to look up to right now, on the other hand I know that down the road not having an ex seeking out his son every other weekend will help me avoid a sticky situation when I begin to date seriously again. (If I ever have the time to date again...haha.)
My major hurdles are: knowing where I should direct my energy as far as a career path that will support my son and myself on Long Island without having to swallow my pride to dance, my damaged credit score, no family to rely on, no savings, lack of employment experience, the need for daycare for my son and finding affordable housing.
Though my circumstances are harsh I know that I have some positive attributes to rely on: I am a very hardworking, diligent, detail oriented person who would love a challenging career. I am still young enough to make a great life for my son and I, I have nothing holding me back from relocating if need be, I am very strong willed and determined to survive, I have an education with honors, my son is still young enough to start over with me elsewhere if need be, I have many great skills for employment (computer experience, account service experience, customer service, phones, filing, very detail oriented and multi task abilities, child care experience, great cook,great housekeeper, etc.) and I believe that where there is a will there is a way. I am just not sure what that way is right now.
If anyone can relate or offer advice I would greatly appreciate it. I have no mentor or family to turn to and could really use a wise point of view. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my lengthy post!
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:50 PM
 
33 posts, read 230,357 times
Reputation: 29
Lightbulb A lawyer can help you immensely

Dear Kcat,
My colleagues and I have been down this road with a hundreds of exotic dancers in the last 20 years. Your needs are getting in the way of your success. You are right to say you need a mentor and a map for your life.

I urge you to see a lawyer who handles clients in your field. One who has a good reputation and is will treat you with the respect you deserve for all the hard work you do. There are actually a number of professionals who work with people in the adult entertainment field. We know ways to help you achieve all you hope to achieve, including moving out of the business and into new ventures and chapters of your life.

Good Luck.
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Dead end - Long Island,
999 posts, read 1,961,007 times
Reputation: 354
I would give you a chance if things were better, unfortunately though we have let more people go...

Do you drive i might be able to get you something doing deliveries, that place is located in bohemia/ronkonkoma area, i would imagine the hours are 8 to 5, or 8 to 4...i don't know what the ED pays and what you're used to
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
46 posts, read 161,617 times
Reputation: 50
This is truly sad, but your options are limited. If I were you, I would try to place the child with a relative or even in foster care, and go back to school for something that will support you both. This would probably put you out of his life for several years, but it would be worth it in the long run. Working at menial jobs that don't really support you is going to put you out of his life most of the time anyway, and it's a situation that won't improve. I know there are plenty of people who will tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to, and if it's your wish to listen to rah rah rah, you should do so. But the simple truth is that none of the possibilities open to you right now are really good ones, so you're going to have to choose the lesser of the evils. Sacrifice for the next five years or so is preferable to a lifetime of menial jobs and no security for either of you.
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:28 PM
 
148 posts, read 468,721 times
Reputation: 128
I can not offer any help but I hope you get some from someone on here. The one piece of advice I would give is this: Do not give up your child to foster care. We(my family) lived in complete poverty as a child but it was worth it to be with my mother. Good luck.
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:40 PM
 
525 posts, read 2,118,342 times
Reputation: 470
Foster Care?? Beware of advise offered on the internet.

I wish I had an answer, I really do, but foster care, IMHO, is a bad answer and enrages me at the same time. I think CatLaw1 has offer much better advise.
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:26 PM
 
36 posts, read 157,819 times
Reputation: 31
Foster Care ????????????

and fortunately, from the way you speak, I cant imagine that you would take that advice.

You sound like a strong, determined and great person. YOur son is lucky to have to as a mommy!

This is such a tough situation,and Im so sorry that youre going through this.

Have you applied for any state funding (WIC checks, welfare,etc?) to help you out ?

What are some areas of expertise for you in addition to photography ? IF you dont feel comfortable doing the dancing, dont do it. Like someone else said, it's more important that you ARE with your child, regarldess of how much money you are making.

Have you tried babysitting? Maybe offering to babysit for someone, where you can bring your child with you. There are many of those ads on craigslist.

Tell us a little more about your interests and maybe what jobs you are capable of, maybe we can help you more.

sending you lots of hugs, from one mom to another.

Stay strong, you're an inspiration !

Keep your chin up, you can do it !

Please keep us posted. I hope it all goes ok.

Wanted to add: Im trying to brainstorm what organizations can help you out. I know "Birthright" helps newly preggo moms, but maybe they can guide you in the right direction somehow ?
Birthright International - 800-550-4900 or trying calling Long Island Cares Long Island Cares - Home Page

I would say try to do photography for a good price, but do you have a camera and the time to be able to do that ?
Can you work as an assistant to a wedding photographer (while affording a babysitter?)

Last edited by oceanblue; 02-20-2008 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:10 AM
 
101 posts, read 329,002 times
Reputation: 39
Ok with your degree you could definitely find work with a photographer on weekends part time off the books. I am a photographer who is on maternity leave and know that my boss struggles constantly to find people to work with her. So my advice to you is get out the phone book and call around local photographers. If you can find someone to watch your son weekend nights you could easily make from $20- $50 an hour as an assistant or second shooter. If you are able to work doubles (afternoon and evening parties) on the weekend you could seriously make $600-$1000 a weekend. I know that may be hard with a 3 yr old but honestly he is old enough to start understanding what mommy does so anything you can do to avoid stripping again you must.

I know on the books work will hurt you with medicaid BUT don't look down on doing some hourly work. I know this may sound ridiculous but working at a mall based studio can get you valuable experience, benefits and they promote from within to management. With your degree I would definitely out in applications to manage a studio at a mall. They have amazing manager training programs. While I was in college I worked at one as an assistant manager and acquired people skills that I have to this day. I have to say it also allowed me to develop my skills with children and I went on to own my own studio back in the day that was very successful. I owed allot to my years as a mall photographer. Had I not had a child with special needs I would still own the business but my son needed his mommy with him to help him overcome allot of struggles.....but I digress.

So my advice to you is to definitely use your degree and don't close doors on starting hourly. Like I said there are allot of areas of advancement and retail gives the benefits you are worried about losing. Also there is allot on money in doing the party circuit on weekends. Also if you feel you can shoot alone make up business cards and start hourly. There are hundreds f people looking for inexpensive photographers to shoot smaller parties. You could shoot alone and be in control of your schedule. For a 4 hour party if you charge $100 per hour and give your clients their images on CD it is pure profit and your clients are happy because they own the images and didn't have to pay $2000 plus to have a professional photographer. Do 2 or three of them in a weekend and that is $1200 off the books.

Good luck. I hope I have helped.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:17 AM
 
101 posts, read 329,002 times
Reputation: 39
Oh and whomever told you that you need to intern before getting paid is wrong. Your degree is enough to qualify you for paid work. You would be shocked how many professional photographers don't even have a college education and or have even taken a course in photography. Back in the day interning or apprenticing was how they learned but now a college degree supercedes experience. You have a valuable asset having a 4 yr bachelors don't let anyone tell you that isn't enough to get a job in photography.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:27 PM
 
36 posts, read 157,819 times
Reputation: 31
mommytochris- you gave her amazing advice. God bless you !
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