I grew up poor. Not like, so poor that we didn't have enough to eat, but poor enough that we didn't ever get to take vacations, we didn't get to have the toys we wanted at the store, and we couldn't afford the cool shoes the other kids wore.
I married a man with great earning potential, who chose to sink his time and talent into a startup business that took years to take off. During that time, we lived with my mom, and still couldn't pay the bills. We got evicted from our house when we couldn't make the rent after she moved out. We moved into a single wide trailer with all bills paid for $450/mo, and almost got evicted from there because we couldn't pay that either. My daughter slept in a closet in the single bedroom because there wasn't room for a bed. We made just enough not to qualify for government aid, yet were paying his ex almost 150% of our rent amount for child support. This time, we really didn't have enough money for food, and had to lie to get aid. Even after all that, I still had to steal food for us to have enough. You'd think with the aid we could get by, but not when all our money was going to child support and other debts and back into the business.
Now we have almost enough to get by. (I say almost because my husband rented us a house and took on two car loans that we really can't afford, and now we're in danger of losing at least one of them if we can't figure something out.) However, I need to get out of this relationship and I know I can't earn enough to support myself, let alone support my kids. I desperately want to have a normal life in a reasonably decent house with a reasonably decent car and food on the table, but I just can't see a way to make that happen.