COVID-19 has caused significant hardships for millions of families, leading to impossible choices like choosing between affording rent, food, or diapers. To humanize the struggle, we’re passing the mic and letting families facing hardship share their own stories. Today we’re sharing the story of Tiffany, a resilient mother of two kids.
What was your upbringing like as a child and teenager?
As a child, I suffered abuse in every way imaginable at the hands of my mom’s husband. We were constantly moving or ending up back at Grandpa’s house due to my mom and her husband’s inability to maintain a job. Because of this, I was constantly changing schools and hiding bruises from the teachers. In my family, drugs and crime were the norm. It felt like a badge of honor when I went to juvie for the first time.
By the time I was a teen, I was on my own on the streets addicted to drugs. I was doing whatever was necessary to survive: stealing, prostituting, putting myself in dangerous situations. This deadly lifestyle I was living continued for most of my life.
How were you able to break free from this dangerous lifestyle?
I don’t know. I just knew that I wanted to be the person I never had in my life. I’ve been like that since I was younger. Even out on the street, I’d take other girls under my wing like my little street-sister heaven. I took her in, she was like a year younger than me and I’d sacrifice myself so she wouldn’t have to… you know?
I just tried to be the friend or that person I always wanted to be there for me. I tried to live that way for everybody else and it didn’t always help me out. People mistake kindness for weakness and you know, then you end up getting used. I have a big heart, and after seeing and experiencing all the nasty events in my life and knowing what I didn’t want for myself, I decided I need to be the change I wanted to see in the world.
How did you overcome those struggles and get yourself into housing?
How did I overcome these struggles? Well, it didn’t come easily. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I finally had to make a decision to change for myself. I tried before when I had my first child, but I didn’t do it for myself so nothing changed.
My life did change when I had my second child. I was determined to become the person God intended me to be. So I enrolled myself in an addiction treatment program and started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Today, I’m helping my own community by hosting meetings online and am currently working to start a moms group in my area.
What's your biggest challenge as a mom of two kiddos?
Honestly, my biggest challenge as a mom of two kids is trying not to parent out of guilt. My oldest child suffered from my active addiction by not having his mother for several years. Now that I have both my kids under my roof, I have to be fair and give equal time and attention to each of them.
How has babies of homelessness allowed you to focus on other areas of your life?
Babies of Homelessness has been a huge help in my life. I was given their number when I was in the shelter. After I called, they showed up with diapers, wipes, clothes and more. Their assistance allows me to not have to choose between buying diapers or gas to get to an appointment. They’ve also helped with wipes and clothes, which allows me to focus more on parenting than stressing over those needs.
What I love about Babies of Homelessness is that even after we’re housed, they still help us. Our struggles don’t stop once we find somewhere to live, and with the price of diapers rising, BOH is a blessing.