So this weeks W.O.W post did not happen. Of course studying for pesky exams took over my free time. But I overheard a conversation in the Walmart the other day. I knew I wanted to post about it, so here goes. There were two ladies on the aisle, obviously friends shopping together. Both moms looked middle class and both were wearing T-shirts, sneakers, and yoga pants. They were deep in a discussion when I heard one of the lovely ladies say “They can buy their children video games, but they can’t afford to buy food every month. They get food stamps instead of going out and getting a better job and working hard.” So of course, this perked my ears up. I pretended to look at the coffee a little while longer as this one young lady continued on her tirade about people getting benefits wanting things handed to them including healthcare and didn’t want to work for anything and so forth and so. I greeted them both and walked away, you can’t change someone’s mind when they are passionate that what they are saying in correct. So I want to write this and if I ever seen those young women again, I plan to give them my blog address and ask them to read it.
I am a single parent of three, two of which are on the Autism Spectrum, and one with a mental health diagnosis for those that are picking up my blog for the first time. I work part-time and go to school full-time to finish my degree so that I can become an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I have worked hard for the past several years to take care of my children, but we are at the poverty line. We are not a middle class family and I am not a stay at home mom, I work part-time because of the dynamic of my household and the jobs that are available I am not qualified for because I have a certain skill set that is unique. There are a few things that I would ask you to think about. A child is a child. They often do not know that mom and dad are poor when they are. They just know that their needs are met. Children get a few brief moments in life where they can experience joy, and one of those is Christmas Day. I am a parent the coupons and last year, when I bought my children’s Wii, I couponed to save so that I could make it happen. I also know that we used food benefits several times last year to make sure we had enough to eat. Children do deserve to have some form of happiness. We as parents that do get benefits often put items on lay away and pay for them over weeks and sometimes months. We do what we have to do to make sure that our children have some happiness in this life.
As far as going out and finding a better job, many parents today will tell you that if you are working, it is a blessing that you have a job to begin with. Searching for a “better job” is often not in the scope of what parents like myself deal with because those work schedules may not work with our children’s school or child care schedule or it’s for a skill set that we are not trained in so we may go back to school for a bit until it is no longer feasible for us to go to school for one reason or another. It’s not that we are parents are expecting anything from anyone, we like you, are doing the best that we can and it is often those that have not walked a mile in our shoes that pass the most judgements.
So just because a parent cares enough for their child to provide them with a little bit of happiness the best way that they know how, just because our jobs don’t meet your standards, just because you have a narrow view of what people like myself experience, doesn’t mean that your view is correct. I challenge anyone to put aside their own prejudices and think about the person that may be out in the world doing the best that they can and not pass judgement on that person. Know that not every person has a situation like yours. Not all moms are married, not all families are middle class, and not all of us can afford the finer things in life, but the moment that we get to make our kids happy, we grab it, we take it, and we do what we have to do to make them smile. I hope that I bump into these women again. I don’t want to change the perspective that they may have, but I want to let them know that there are hard working people in this world that work as hard as they can but they still need help.