Last July, I wrote this post about an article that I've read about mom who leaves her small children inside the car so that she could buy make-up at Ulta. Some of you commented and expressed horror at such carelessness and I totally agree with you all. Today though, I read about another mother who also did the exact same thing-- and I've got nothing but sympathy.
Shanesha Taylor is mom to a 2-year old toddler and a 6-month old baby. She left them in the car with the car windows cracked open while she went about her own business. But what makes Shanesha's situation very sympathetic to me is that she is a single mom, and her errand was to go on a job interview that would have helped her feed her kids if hired. She couldn't find or afford a babysitter for her kids, and felt that she had no choice but to leave them inside her car. More on this story here.
What resonates with me about this is that I'm often in the same dilemma myself: as a single mom who has to put food on the table, there have been a lot of times when a legitimate work commitment necessitates juggling with child care concerns. Unlike Shanesha though, I count myself very lucky because I live in a culture where child raising is considered more of a village effort rather than a solo/couple gig. I have extended family whom I could rely on (coerce? haha) to cover the basics on the few times that I've been in a bind, we generally have all-around help who can pinch-hit in an emergency, and I am honestly not above using TV or the iPad to keep the Wonder Boy entertained for a couple of hours. But this is only now that I've been able to breathe more easily, since the WB is already four and has mostly become independent. It was a real train ride when he was two or younger.
My point is that single moms out there have it tough. You worry about everything because here is no one else to share the burden. You worry about the money, about disciplining, about the housework, etc. As far as single moms go, I've been fortunate to be in the situation that I am in and I am so grateful for that everyday.
So my takeaway from Shanesha is that maybe it's time for us to be more sympathetic to a single mom who's doing her best. As for me, there's this single mom I know who takes in laundry and does odd jobs around the neighborhood to help make end meet. The next time I see her, I think I'll give her a small amount of money and arrange for a Jollibee dinner for her and her brood. And while I'm at it, I'm getting myself a treat too.
And let me share something that I saw on Facebook:
It's a holiday here in the Philippines today. How are you spending your time off?