Saturday, October 3, 2009

The anguish of working parents

I start a second job on Monday. Training is 2 hours away. I've been looking for daycare for months and yet every time I think I'm close to sealing a deal something pops up that becomes a major safety issue or simply just doesn't work out.

We hired a woman to come into our home at one point. She agreed, then three days before I was to return back to school for the semester I received a voice mail from her husband. He stated there was a family emergency and that he didn't know when she would return. She would not be taking the job after all. As a result I could not start classes this semester and opted to up my hours at Mc Donald's instead, until I could arrange things for next semester.

I've been looking since then and opted to check into the only local daycare to discover doors propped against walls in the toddler room. They could have fallen on any of the children, but it didn't seem to matter to them.

The latest in the daycare saga begins with a woman who works out of her home. I've contacted 4 other in home care centers, none of which had openings. This woman had space. She was just getting started. Stated her child abuse clearances were up to date and we scheduled an interview. I wasn't too terribly worried if they weren't. I was going to do my own background check and simply pay to have them updated. We arrived at her home, and the interview went well. Then we asked for a copy of her clearance. She replied that she couldn't seem to find them and we said worst case scenareo she could simply resubmit them.

The next day she calls and tells us she found them and I went to pick up a copy from her. It looked legit to my untrained eye (I've seen a few so I knew the basics to look for) and since I had already checked her references I offered her the job. Five minutes after I arrived home I handed the copy to Craig who took one look at it and declared it a forgery. She had changed the date from 2007 to 2009. He asked others in his office who saw the same mistake. This clearance checks to see if you have been accused of child abuse and if that accusation landed in conviction.

Who does that? Obviously someone who has something to hide. There's no possible way I can trust this woman to watch my children and so we are back at square one. I'm starting a new job in 24 hours with no one to care for my kids. It's all rather overwhelming.

This leads me back to work at Mc Donalds. This is bottom of the totem pole employment barring corporate and management positions. It's mostly for people with little to no education or those like me with useless degrees. It pays pennies on the dime. And yet, Mc Donald's is also where single mothers tend to be employed.

Two days ago a young mom sat down beside me as we waited to clock in.

"I'm not being rude, but seriously, how to you afford everything?" she asked.

I don't. It's as simple as that. I pinch corners and cloth diapered my kids to save a buck or two. I shop at second hand stores and eat left overs as often as possible. But I also have a two income family and we still struggle. I simply looked at her and said "how do YOU do it?"

Seriously, there are days when my heart just gets heavy hearing what these young women endure to try and make a life for themselves and their children. As they struggle and try to balance motherhood (alone), work and most times school as well, it seems those closest to them merely try to make things even more difficult on them.

I become perched upon a soap box and angry for them. Seriously, what is wrong with the pro life movement that declares a fetus must not be terminated lest the mother burn in hell? Yet, had these same women opted for the road of termination they would have been despised for a year or two then forgiven. After all, out of sight out of mind right? Instead, they took the high road. They chose to give their precious babies life. However, once these infants breathe, their mothers are basically told "You made your bed now lie in it".

They are offered as little help as possible. They struggle. Many times dad is not present forcing them to take the roll of mother and father.

A married woman gives birth and the world rallies around her. She is showered with gifts and help. Many times she has to shoo the well wishers away for just a few moments of privacy. Families help each other and generally the village raises the child.

Why is it that in a two parent family the help most times abounds, yet remove one half of that picture and suddenly the woman is not deemed worthy of help?

It makes my heart heavy. It makes me want to cry some days. It makes me want to buy a huge house and move them all in so they can all work together to get their GEDs and college educations. It makes me want to do ensure these mothers won't be stuck struggeling day to day and so they won't have to worry endlessy about caring for their sons and daughters.

I've spoken at length with Craig about these things. I even told him today not to be surprised one day if I end up coming home with a mom and baby. Normal people collect stray kittens. I'll just collect mini families instead. They can be my strays.

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