I didn’t plan to mention this blog’s two year birthday this week because it seemed a little self-serving, or self-righteous, or just plain irrelevant to everyone but perhaps me, but a couple things happened today that changed my mind. Though all of the above may still be true, so I apologize for the five seconds it has taken you to read this far and no hard feelings if you jump off this post as quickly as you came.
If you don’t know much about my daily life before blogging, it may be a surprise that I started my professional career as a child abuse investigator for the State of Texas. I was 21 years old, fresh out of the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, and I spent my days (and nights and weekends) knocking on doors and investigating allegations of abuse and neglect of children. I can think of no faster way to be throw into the “real world” than that job. At one point I had over 100 cases open at the same time and there were far greater needs than resources. I did it for about a year, and then went back to grad school after having a couple of cases where the outcome frustrated me greatly. I needed to be able to do more within the system than just investigate.
Fast forward a year and a half, and I got my Master’s in Social Work at NYU (not the wisest financial move of all time), and I returned to working for the state in a slightly different role. Eventually I trained new caseworkers in their formal three month training program, and then my last position was writing statewide training curriculum for investigators. Today I read about a 23 year old child abuse investigator in Houston who was assaulted while doing her job checking on the welfare of a one-year-old. From the articles I have read, it sounds like she was very lucky to have made it out of the home alive. Everyone doing that job knows the risk of the unknown that is on the other side of the door, but that doesn’t make it any easier when something goes terribly wrong. Caseworkers are armed with nothing more than a cell phone, and it is both impractical and impossible to bring law enforcement with you on most cases, so you have to rely on yourself and on a little luck.
I very much miss doing work on behalf of children who have experienced more terrible things than most of us can imagine, but I am so eternally grateful to spend these years focusing my energy on my own young child, and writing about much happier things (ie miles, points, and family travel). Sure it is stressful in its own way when you blog about a deal that doesn’t work out, or get some details of something incorrect, or receive “hate mail” from those who just don’t like what you write. But that doesn’t even come close to the stress that comes with wondering if your worker safety training was enough to keep a caseworker safe, or perhaps worse yet whether or not you made the right call on if a child is safe in their own home.
I had this site as a side hobby/job for about a year while I was working for the state. When I first started, the major miles and points blogs I knew of were ran by folks with names like Brian, Rick, Gary, Ben, and Seth, and while I loved their sites, they were all guys who weren’t writing from the point of view of a parent with young kids. I decided to start writing from a different point of view, and now two years later there are many female and parent voices in the miles and points world, which I think is a great thing.
After that first year of blogging on nights and weekends after being at work during day, for the sake of my family I had to make a choice. I chose to step away from the world of child welfare for a while, and focus on happier things. Stories like the one I read in the paper today make me so grateful that I had that choice. I will absolutely go back to helping the kiddos who need help the most, but hopefully it will be in an advocacy and volunteer role. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I am grateful for every one of you that has taken the time out of your day to stop by this site over the past two years. I’m also grateful for those of you who have taken the time to share your stories of how this site has helped you, as that is why the site started, and why it continues. Here is the most recent example that I received this afternoon:
BIG BIG THANKS for all you do!! Because of what I learned from you, my family is going to Hawaii in July!! Woooohooo!!
We’re late in the game with trying to book a Hawaii trip with points, but since we love it there so much, we hoped and hoped we could make it work out. Even coming in late, because I took your advice and opened that AMEX and earned those Reward points and transferred them to BA, we were able to piece it together with other points I already had on HA. I still can barely believe we can get to Hawaii with so few Avios!
Why did I NOT open that same card for DH, I will never know!! We are super thrilled we will be returning to Hawaii and wanted to give you a shout out!!
This reader is thanking me, but really I am the one who is thanking them. Thanking them for sharing their story, for supporting this site, and for making the effort to plan and take exciting and rewarding trips with their family. As Mommy Points enters the “terrible twos”, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they aren’t really terrible (we all know that the “threes” are way more terrifying than twos anyway). Thank you for making this journey possible, and if I can help you with anything in the future don’t hesitate to ask.
I guess now I should go and eat a cupcake…or two.