We’re all broke. All of us Special Needs Parents… we’re broke.
On top of our regular, normal people bills we also have a mountain of medical bills, therapy bills that rack up weekly, and orthotics that can cost more than some cars. I also am recommended often to invest in sensory items that seem to cost 10x what they really should cost and don’t last very long or get broken.
My husband took on the responsibility of being the sole working spouse when we had our son and he was born with brain damage. We knew he would have problems but were stunned when our older daughter turned out to have High Functioning Autism (or the
artist disorder formally known as Asperger’s). We’ve got an Aspie in Kindergarten and a toddler with Cerebral Palsy. I’ve got a degree and was a small business owner. Now I’m a walking, talking medical record that spends time going back and forth to therapy appointments, doctor’s visits, and late-night grocery runs.
I have been out of the work force for 2 years now and its beginning to take its toll on my mental health. I love being able to manage the care of my children because I know how important it is at this age to get as much intervention as possible. I’m a micromanager by nature so I’m paranoid about my kids’ care. However, I have many talents that I spent my life accumulating that have absolutely nothing to do with all the medical terms I deal with daily. I miss being able to contribute financially and having time for myself. I know stay-at-home-moms struggle with this often and we all know that being the sole caregiver of a special needs child or children can make you lose yourself at times.
I went on a search to find something I could do at home. I’ll spare you all the scams and “too good to be true work-from-home” jobs and get down to the point.
It’s perfect for us Special Needs Parents who have a schedule more detailed than the FBI Director. We can’t commit to things that traditional jobs expect. Even customer service jobs that can be work from home through a company like Amazon is impossible for most of us. I can’t imagine having to be on the phone with a customer while my two auditory sensory seeking kids are screaming at the top of their surprisingly strong lungs.
There are sites similar to this, but I was so happy with my progress on Upwork, that I just stuck with it. Upwork is a network of clients needing odd jobs done and freelancers like us that want to do them. I set up my profile and started searching for job postings. You can find small jobs that can be done in a reasonable time frame at your own leisure. They have fixed pay jobs and hourly pay jobs. I read somewhere that starting out with fixed pay jobs is the best way to get know how things work and I highly recommend it. Search for jobs that fit skills that you may have. You submit a small cover letter explaining why you would be good fit for the job and how much you would charge. Upwork charges a 20% fee (it lowers if you stay with a client longer) and that is high, but it keeps the site legitimate and scams out of the way. So I’ll take it.
On my second day on Upwork I was accepted to build a Powerpoint on a few businesses’ organizational charts. A few days later after I finished, my project was accepted and I was paid. There is a 5 day holding on Upwork, so I received funds in my bank on the 6th business day after the project was approved by the client. Since then I have written a Sociology paper (it was my major in college) and I have done market and internet research for businesses and organizations. I made a great relationship with someone running for local office and I’m helping him now with his campaign after writing a research report for a documentary he was proposing. I also got hired on an hourly position to do virtual assistant work for a business like the one I owned before becoming a Special Needs Parent.
In my first month with Upwork, I made $900 picking up odd jobs that I can do during nap times and after my husband comes home. I am on pace to clear $1500 in my second month. I keep my computer with me and do my work in the lobby while my kids are in therapy. I search for jobs and message clients on my phone with the Upwork app in the waiting rooms of the doctors offices. It is perfect for caregivers that need the extra money and need to remember who they are. Yes, caring for our children is a blessing and will bring us unending joy, bla bla bla. But, really… I worked really hard before my kids came along and I don’t want to lose every single part of me. (And I’m clearly not going to lose my student loan bills). My primary focus is my children and still is. But, now I can buy myself some makeup when I order my kid’s liquid thickener off of Amazon.