The new motherhood and lack of common sense

Food stamps and government assistance. It would seem to me that if a person found themselves in a rough financial jam that resulted in the use of government assistance to make one’s financial ends meet, that such a person would choose not to add any additional family members while going through such rough financial times. Right? Well, depending on who you are the answer may be no. Why let a silly detail like lack of money get in the way of bringing more humans in the world. After all, all the children need is love….who cares about silly details like shelter, food, clothes, medical care and all the other minutia that children seem to need.

Turns out that Nadya Suleman, wonder Mama extraordinaire is getting a little help off the good taxpayers in California, a state  that from what I hear is in some serious financial straits. It seems Nadya is getting some food stamps and disability payments for a few of her older kids. Call me crazy but if I were the single Mama of 6 kids, several of whom had disabilities severe enough that they warrant disability payments, why the fuck would I have 8 more kids?

Well I am growing convinced that there is a segment of women in our society who see motherhood as the be all and end all, women who in my humble opinion seem to worship at the alter of motherhood. I see this around me enough that its no longer what I consider a coincidence.

Look, I will be honest and say I was never a girl who dreamed on becoming a mommy, I was a reluctant Mama the first time around and over the years while I have grown to love being a mother, the truth remains being a mother is just one part of whom I am. I don’t define myself strictly on the basis that I have given birth, maybe its because my eldest will be a legal adult come his next year but I am reminded that parenting is just one of the many seasons those of us who have kids  will have in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, we never stop being parents, I saw this when my own beloved mother was dying yet in the midst of that final season she was still Mama….making what would be the last meal her hands would ever prepare for me the night before going in for brain surgery. Its those things that keep us parenting even when our babies are grown.

Yet some women become so wrapped up in babies and the thought of having them that common sense goes out the door. Just yesterday I ran across a woman who is married to a high school dropout who bags groceries for a living and makes $8.50 an hour. This young family is living with inlaws but the young mother hates her kid being in daycare and wants to quit her own minimal paying job to be a stay at home Mama.

Um….when you live with inlaws and don’t make much cash, its time to toss certain desires to the side until you are in a better place. Look being a stay at home Mama is great, but when a family can afford it. In most case if you are living with family members, guess what? You cannot afford not to work.

Yet once again that mommy desire is so deep that it seems to prevent common sense from taking over. Like I have said earlier, in a perfect world, I would have a house full of babies and probably stay home with them. Yet my reality is I am married to a middle aged guy in a dying career and have my own mountain of student loan debt with one kid starting to get ready for college. None of this makes it a wise time for me to throw out my common sense and follow my passion. Instead I pray that the spousal unit and I live long enough and after we finish raising the youngest we can retire to some lovely locale like Belize.

Motherhood really is great but so is common sense.

All I wanted was children

Look, I had not planned on writing about Nadya Suleman again but now that she has broken her silence, I feel like I need to add my few cents.

First off, I do think that some are judging her in a harsher light than what would be case if she were a nice respectable white woman married to a socially acceptable white or Asian man like a couple of other couples that are raising football teams instead of families. When I wrote my first piece on her, it was not clear to me that she was a single Mama who is living with her Mama.

Look, I think all women should have the right to choose if and when they have babies, that said, I have an old fashioned streak born out of my own life experiences that I shouldn’t give birth to more babies then I can reasonably take care of.

Now I have caught a few snippets of Ms. Suleman’s reason for why she decided to have what she thought might be one more baby that turned into a chorus line of babies. She was an only child, who always wanted babies. I gotta be real as someone who only has one sibling who is almost a decade a younger than me, the desire to have my own brood at one point was real strong. It was especially strong after my Mom died almost 5 years ago and I realized that my close family of origin only consisted of my dad, brother, and grandma and since grandma passed 18 months after my Mom, I am down to 2 folks other than my kids and hubby.

So not six months after my Mom died, I bought a house and got pregnant, however my spirited daughter was born and while I would love for her to have a sibling close in age to her since my son is almost 14 years older than her, truth is my clock is ticking and that is not going to happen. See, where I am going with this….sometimes real life interrupts our fantasies and as adults its ok, we live with it. Shit, every day I go to work and run a center that serves hundreds of kids in the course of a year. That’s like parenting except I didn’t have to birth all those kids.

Anyway the point of this there are plenty of us, that start off wanting large families and as adults we weigh our options and make grown up decisions and I am sorry but Nadya did not make what I call a grown up decision. According to the piece I read she lives at home, is receiving disability but is planning on finishing her masters degree in counseling at which time she states she will earn enough money to provide for all the babies.

Um…..BULLSHIT…no seriously I say this as someone who almost got their masters in counseling but chose a different path, but um….a masters degree in counseling might give you a decent enough standard of living as the single Mama of a couple kids especially if you get child support but considering what the average starting salary is for a masters level clinician is, Nadya won’t even make a dent in the childcare bill.

Look, but how come someone close to her didn’t talk her out of this decision because honestly it was wacked and now that those babies are here, the reality is she will need to land offers on the level of the Duggars or the Gosselins to survive.  Yet the reality is as a single woman of color of limited means, I fear she has opened herself up in ways that will impact her and her kids.

Nadya, girl may the force be with you because you are going to need it. I’m not slamming your choice but this is the same talk I would give you if you were my personal friend.