Make Money to Lose Money

Just about the time I was collapsing into the notion I might actually not be cut out to be a mother, I got my first tax notice from the IRS. Turns out, when you’re self-employed, you have to make quarterly tax estimates on your business income, before you even have an idea of what you’re going to make.

My business was brand new, I had no idea how many contracts I was going to pull…and I never made them. So, come April, I owed a lot of money, more than I had, more than I could afford to pay. It was a terrible reality check. Not just to realize that I’d pretty well ruined my first year of business, but that I’d stopped taking contracts so I could finish the ones I had, had already missed first quarter estimates for the current year, was looking at more penalties and was now stuck, unable to pay without losing my house, and unable to change what I was doing to save money.

I was trapped in a disaster of my own making, had shattered my identity as a competent parent. Let’s just say I was in bad shape. Add to that mix, a client that I could not, for the life of me, make happy, culminating in potential consequences that I couldn’t protect myself from, and I crumbled into staggering IRS and credit card debt.

In a very short two years, I went from pure financial freedom to debt, fear and no way out. I consolidated my credit card debt, only to fall into the trap again when I took a coaching position that necessitated a bunch of upfront purchases on my credit cards to sensure my team had the equipment they needed to play. The school reimbursed horribly slowly and I was swallowed up in interest payments.

Without lamenting this turn events too much more, I can say, my hope of being a mother through my own means was gone again. I had no way of paying for an insemination, no way of paying the necessary medical bills that would come along with birth. No way of paying for the things my child would need. It was all gone.

Naturally, the coaching job I thought I was truly meant for, fell apart. I had the wrong degree, I was told. Despite having a doctorate, my education was in the wrong field. Psychology rather than Kinesiology, so I would most likely never be competitive for a full-time position. Slammed with debt and needing to take a second job, I was also unable to attend to my team the way they deserved and needed.

Slammed with debt and needing to take a second job, I was also unable to attend to my team the way they deserved and needed.

By the end of the season, they hated me for not being present enough, and since I wasn’t willing to whine to my team about my financial disaster, most of them, including my own coaching staff, concluded that I just didn’t care enough about them to spend the extra time on the field. It was humiliating. But I wasn’t going to place my burden on a bunch of kids that just wanted to play ball. By the following year, I was fired from my one and only head coaching position and started working for a software testing company in town.

I floundered. My drive to be a mother was slowly reemerging though my confidence was severely damaged. My confidence as a business owner was gone, and my identity as a competent softball coach was non-existent. I had no idea who I was, or what I was supposed to be doing with my life.

My friends had all started having babies. They were in marriages of varying stability and happiness. All competent employees and business owners, and as far as I was concerned, all I had was a long-ass list of giant, expensive fuck-ups. A doctorate I didn’t use, a sport I couldn’t succeed at in any role, two failed businesses, and a purpose in life that was barely clear enough to believe in anymore.

So naturally, I tried dating again. We hit it off quickly, the rules and details around the relationship were vague and uncomfortable, and without going into it too much, we were starting to plan a wedding and figuring out how to combine our lives to have a baby…and it all went up in spectacularly dramatic flames. Fuck that.

When I started to realize that our relationship was not what I needed it to be, I started to take bigger risks in improving my financial situation.

I had two, fantastic paying roommates, I took the leap, cut up all my credit cards and dove head first into a debt relief program, started saving every cent I could, kept making payments on my IRS debt, my student loan debt, my truck payment, and my credit card loan…put a budget together like a big girl and started to fight back.

 

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