|Raising a reader! Reading while I bang things out on a conference call.|
I remember the first time that I had to make a game-time decision about childcare – or lack thereof – for Aiden. I was in graduate school and the time of my class had to be switch rather suddenly. At the 11th hour, I had to make a decision – skip class, bring my two-and-a-half year old toddler to class with me, or leave my two-and-a-half year old toddler alone. By himself. Without supervision.
I decided to bring him to class with me. I got the side-eye from a couple of my classmates, but hey, as a young, single mom, I had to do what I had to do.
That was the first time I had a childcare emergency, but it most definitely wasn’t the last time.
|His first week of first grade... before after school programs started up.|
There are times when I have to bring Aiden to blogger events knowing very well that he’ll be the only kid at said event. Heck, just a few weeks ago, Aiden tagged along with me when I went to the Disney Social Media Moms On-The-Road conference. He read and watched Michael Jackson videos and played Minecraft. I engaged in the conference.
There are times when I have to bring Aiden with me to things that’ll potentially be boring for him. Like a bridesmaids fitting for my friend M’s upcoming wedding. Or lunch with a girlfriend. Or a dinner party at a friend’s house.
There are times – countless times – when I have to bring Aiden to work with me. Luckily I work for a kid-friendly organization and my supervisor understands my struggle as a single parent and, quite frankly and quite honestly, I’ve gotten to a point in my career where I can call some shots.
But that’s not the case for everyone.
|Daily ritual -- reading and sleeping under my desk.|
Not like the Texas mom, Laura Browder, who has recently been receiving media attention for leaving her two children at a food court in the mall while she went on a job interview. From my understanding, she had a childcare emergency when she received a sudden call for a job interview and couldn’t find someone to babysit her children on such short notice. She fed her two children McDonald’s and sat them down at the food court in the mall while she went on her interview – also at the food court in the mall and within a clear view of her children (again, from my understanding). Someone saw the two children sitting alone and called the police.
Now, I get it. You see two young children eating alone for an extended period of time, you’re worried about their safety, you call the folks who are supposed to protect these little ones. I totally get it.
But it still saddens me. Because now child protective services are involved in this family’s life and this single mother is viewed as “that lady who abandoned her children.” And I know what it’s like to be stuck between a rock and a hard place as a struggling single mom. Heck, I’m gainfully employed with a great career and a great side hustle, but I still struggle with childcare on short notice. Quite frankly, it’s very, very expensive and not always in my single mom monthly budget.
I can’t say how I would have reacted in this situation if I were the one who saw the children sitting alone. Probably stand close enough to see if/when their grown-up would come, but far away enough so as not to scare them. Probably ask them where their grown-up is, as I usually do when I see children who look like they’re alone.
But call the police? It’s never even been a thought in my mind since a situation like this could be so traumatizing for young children.
I don’t know that I have the solution to this problem. I do know that I’ve been fortunate enough and on the side of privilege enough to bring my child along with me whenever I’ve had a childcare emergency. I’ve been able to bring him to grad school, blogger events, outings with friends (when appropriate), and work. And it’s been able to make all the difference in making it work, this single mom thing.