1.152 – My Two Cents

Scrolling through my Facebook updates, I noticed this picture:

Now, I’m going to explain why this picture annoys me but before I do that, I’m going to make something very clear.

I am a single mother of a two year old. I work 40 hours a week. My earnings fall below poverty level. I attended college. I do not partake in illegal activities of any kind. Even with child-support, I barely make ends meet. I have gone on two vacations in the last 6 months on the generous dime of a family member. I drive a ’96 Jeep Laredo which is on its last leg. I have the same cell phone I’ve had for two years which is also on its last leg. I shop at Save-A-Lot and Aldi’s because PriceChopper is too expensive.

BUT I am not on welfare. I do not take nor have I applied for any sort of government assistance. The child-support I receive is not court ordered and more than likely, less than what my son should be receiving BUT he receives something and for that I am grateful. I do not apply for government assistance because I am an able bodied adult and even though it gets pretty damn tight at times – I know that as long as I have milk in my fridge and my son has diapers – everything else can wait.

That being said – this picture annoys me for one single reason. There is a stigma that if a woman has a child and she DOES apply for assistance, it is because she is a lazy ass who made the “mistake” of having a child. She had a child she cannot fully support on her own. “Well, don’t make babies if you can’t support them.” That’s a common response but before you have that thought, remember that not every woman got knocked up carelessly. Some women, many women for that matter (this one included) were married, engaged, in a committed relationship. Many women PLANNED their conception. Many women believed they were in it for the long haul with their partner before making the choice to birth a child. For whatever reason, it didn’t work out.

In a good case, the father pays money to help and visits with his child. In a lot of cases, the guy disappears. Or he lives in a four bedroom house while his ex has to downgrade to a one bedroom for her and her child to survive.  Either way, the woman is left to fend for herself and her child while the man has no real obligation. And if you disagree with me – check yourself because no one is making bumper stickers about men supporting their children…financially, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Despite it all – I am still a lucky case. Despite my struggles, my son is taken care of. Despite us not being able to save our marriage, my sons father and I know that our son is the most important entity in our lives and we will do everything in our power to provide. It is always an even distribution of work and sacrifice? No. Is it fair? No. Will it stop me from being a damned good mother despite circumstance? FUCK NO.

If I drove up behind this car, I’d have a moment. A big F.U. moment. Because rather than telling our men to stick by their families, to care about whether they have created a life or not…we are telling our women that if they end up with a child and no support – no one cares. We are telling the children of struggling mothers that they don’t have a father and society dislikes them because they are a burden. That’s a shitty message and it’s nothing to be proud of.

Yes, there are people who abuse the system. There are also people who need the system. So fuck you for your self-righteousness if you are one those people who finds a positive message in that image. I pay taxes and I hope that my tax dollars can help a mother who IS less fortunate than I am, which is not a far cry from where I stand. Not for her. But for her children.

It takes a village to raise a child. I’ll be damned if I’m going to complain about doing my part.

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13 comments on “1.152 – My Two Cents

  1. That sticker is awful and the grammar is incorrect, should be “baby’s daddy” or “babies’ daddy.” Just pointing out another level of their ignorance (I mean, to put it on a bumper sticker). You are absolutely right on with your post- the messages our society gives single mothers and to children whose fathers aren’t around are backward. Thank you for your perspective. Stay strong!

    • Thank you for commenting. A mother will catch flack for working too much and not being a mother or working too little and being considered lazy. What of the men? It’s frustrating but the society that we live in.

  2. I TOTALLY understand where you’re coming from and why that bumper sticker bothered you. I was a single mom for SEVEN long years, and the absolute worst moment of my life was when a pharmacist told me on CHRISTMAS EVE that Welfare wouldn’t cover a prescription for my son, who was six at the time.

    I, like you, WAS NEVER on Welfare. I was working full-time as a paralegal, but my ex-husband wasn’t working at one point back in 95, so my boys weren’t on his insurance. I couldn’t believe that when I walked in wearing a really nice suit and heels, that this ASSHOLE pharmacist said that WELFARE wouldn’t pay for my son’s prescription, which only cost $25. He assumed because I was getting the state-funded medical insurance, that I was on welfare and that I wouldn’t be able to pay for the prescription, so he didn’t even bother to call me or anything, and this was medication that my son couldn’t do without. I was so mad I never went back to that pharmacy again. However, that night, he actually filled the prescription while I waited. But this was AFTER I let him have it saying, “How dare you accuse me of being on welfare! I have a job, you stupid, narrow-minded, ASSHOLE! However, the cheap-assed attorney that I work for just doesn’t provide insurance for his employees, so I don’t have a choice but to get the state insurance for my kids.”…..etc. At which point, he realized his HUGE mistake…

    So, I feel your pain! Thanks for sharing! I’m sure there are MANY other women in the same position who will also appreciate your candor.

    Keep your head up HIGH as you are MOST LIKELY actually in the MAJORITY of working women these days, but too many people just don’t realize it who’ve never been there.

    Take care!
    TenaciousB/Kennedy

    • Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing your story. There are people who need welfare or other forms of assistance and I don’t want those women to hang their head in shame. It just boggles my mind how many people make the assumption that people who apply are just people who choose to mooch off the state. How many victims of tragedy have been forced to turn to the government? I mean, people judge with no thought of how someone may have fallen to that point.

      • Some people don’t realize that if we are given more than enough, we can share with others who are in need. They also don’t realize that the wheel of life is not stationary, but that it keeps turning around. I believe that our station in life is but temporary. So, hang in there skylah, and know that your hard work will pay off, and you will triumph.

  3. I think it is really easy to judge and stereotype a single mom, but the truth is that many of us are extremely hard working individuals. Thank you for your post.

  4. You’re seriously awesome. The way you roll with the punches even though its so damn tough, and the way you recognize not everyone is you or has the same blessings as you. Man, If I may say so myself, you’re a regularly blues woman. And that’s a good thing.

  5. Here’s a shocker, I get food stamps! Yep, and it killed me to do it, but it was the only way I could afford to take in 4 extra kids. My husband is a mechanic. I was a full time college student when their life turned topsy turvy. He supports 9 people on his income. But shockingly, we only get $300 a month. It barely helps, and its embarrassing as hell to take it, but until I graduate and can start teaching there was no other way. I see the way people stare at me in the grocery store when I have that card, and I always wanna explain, but fuck it, if they don’t me, why do I care so much??

    • I can remember being a kid and having the colored money. 20’s were red. None of this card and check stuff. The shame I felt, the whispers. I hated it. I think it’s easy for people to point the finger, at adults and even at a child when they have no clue. People forget how easy it is to fall from their high spot.

      • Your welcome! You know, I finally wrote a blog (Pure Faith) that touched on some of the abuse I went through as a child, and I kid you not, it created WW3 between my parents, who’ve been divorced for over 30 years. I guess my Dad never knew some of that story, and he about died reading it…. but your blog inspired me to really share some of the deeper stuff too.

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