I’m pitifully broke since vacation, which is fine, since we had so much fun. It’s just going to be quite tight for a while. A long while. I don’t like being in debt so my primary focus is just paying off all credit card charges that I racked up while gone. The only thing I’ve spent money on this pay period has been: my prescriptions, photos of Jo Jo, and two pumpkins for the front step. I want more pumpkins by the way. They make me so happy.
So like most of us in the middle class, I was sort of tuning out the “government shut down” news bonanza. I listened enough to get the gist, and then checked out. Well, I checked in again when I heard that WIC was now being threatened. At $16/can of formula, with each can lasting only a few days, formula is a huge expense. I usually buy one or two cans out of my money (or out of the supplement I receive for her care, whichever way you want to look at it) per month, and this month because of her age, the amount of cans they gave me went from 10 to 7. So now I may have to buy five or more cans per month, which could reach $80 or more.
Currently, my state estimates that they can run WIC through the first week of November with the money remaining. I greedily thought, oh goody, we’ll get our next allotment of 7 cans of formula, 32 jars of baby food, and 3 boxes of baby cereal the fourth week of October, so we’re good.
But wait… what about all of those moms out there who seriously, no matter how much they worked or scrimped, really need WIC to cover the cost of formula/food for their children? What if that’s taken away and they have to choose between baby formula and paying the electric bill in the winter? Or a few tanks of gas for their car to get their kids to the doctor? I mean… I’m lucky, I have a job where I could pick up a day of overtime a month, and have the money for 5 cans of formula. I choose not to pick up overtime because I don’t want to spend another whole day away from Jo Jo. But what if I couldn’t?
And what if my mother was not providing free babysitting? Moose was a level 3 foster child, so I received $900/month for his care. You think that’s a lot, but every penny of it went to sitters, who were giving me a discounted rate of $50/day, for a 14 hour day. My stipend was used up, and I bought his diapers/bottles/wipes etc with my own money, not to mention all the gas money I spent taking him to and from his specialty appointments 50 miles away. If WIC had been pulled, I don’t think I could have afforded to foster. Not even making a decent wage. I certainly couldn’t have picked up overtime, since I couldn’t have afforded the babysitting money.
If I couldn’t have fostered with my decent nurse’s income in the absence of WIC, how many other families would be unable to support their foster children, or be discouraged from becoming foster parents in the first place? And how many bio parents out there would have children taken from them because they chose formula over heat, or chose cereal over fitting clothes?