I Am A Mom

“The last time I went to jail, I knew it was going to break me or make me. I had been in and out for many years and was tired of being a phone mom; it was depressing not being able to see my kids. I wanted to be more than a statistic, more than a number and more than a drug addict – I wanted to be successful in life and not be looked down on. Before I got out, I decided to set goals for myself. I went back to school and took an office administration diploma. I graduated ahead of time, but I couldn’t find an office job because of my criminal record, and had $13,000 in student loan debt I needed to pay off. I thought, ‘Why am I still being punished if I’ve served my time?’ Though it was hard to stay positive when I couldn’t find work in my field, I have managed to stay clean for three years. Eventually, my friend helped me get a job at a landscaping company where I busted my butt working 12-hour days, sometimes up to 12 days in a row. I am now 18 weeks pregnant and it is very tiring, but I am so happy to have a job. I also feel lucky because the people I work with know that I have a criminal record and I don’t feel judged – I can be real without feeling like I am hiding something. I work hard, am a quick learner and my initiative always gets me promoted. Recently, I got my license and now I’m trusted with the keys to the dump truck. I love that I have been given extra responsibilities. My next goal is to save up money to buy a house. I want my children to have a place to call home and know that they are loved and not alone.”