She said she understood and that she had asked both my kid's teachers and they both thought of me because I am a single mom. She said she knows it can be hard and wanted to offer the help.
I very politely thanked her and reassured her we were OK but I'll admit my pride took a hit during that call. It took me a bit to process what the heck was going on. My thought process went something like this:
"What is she calling about? Are my kids ok? Did Kaylee make a big deal about the rash on her arm? Crap. I'm going to have to go get her and then there goes my whole work day."
"Oh. It's not about Kaylee. Phew."
"Sponsor me for Christmas? Wait. She thinks I'm poor! Why does she think I'm poor?? Dammit. I knew I shouldn't have let Michael wear his beloved Spiderman shirt that is too small!"
"Yeah. Single motherhood is hard work, she's got that right. But I'm not poor! Why does she think I'm poor?? Kaylee only wears pants with holes and marker all over them because she takes brand NEW pants and turns them in to art projects and I don't have the TIME to fight with her about wearing them. Should I tell her that? No. Just let her finish"
"Wait a minute... She thinks I'm poor BECAUSE I'm a single mom! Am I being stereotyped? Why yes. Yes I am. Crap."
What bothers me about this call is not that someone offered to help and I'll admit, there was a time when I was forced to sell my things just so I could afford rent and gifts for my kids during the holiday season. So struggle as a single mom is not a foreign subject to me.
Would having someone else buy my kids their gifts have helped? Sure. But, in this economy, who wouldn't have been helped by that?
What bothers me is the stereotyping. Single mom = poor.
Yes. Single motherhood is damn hard work. It's been the struggle of my lifetime and I think it would be safe to assume the last 8 years of my life will be the hardest I will encounter in this lifetime. (Unless, of course, our current government has their way and takes away all my rights. But that's another blog post. Probably one I won't write.)
But I, like any other single mom, have the capability of pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and making life better.
Just because we may face more challenges than some doesn't mean we can't change that. It doesn't mean we are doomed to a life of welfare and food stamps.
So what REALLY bothers me is that struggle in single motherhood is so easily accepted as "the way it is".
It doesn't have to be!
Single Mamas, we CAN change this stereotype! We CAN pick ourselves up and MAKE our life better.
I'm doing it and it's working. It's not easy but you get up every day and you keep pushing forward.
All the success and happiness you will ever find lies in YOU and it has nothing to do with the obstacles you encounter. It has only to do with how you choose to respond to the obstacles.
Are you going to lie down and give up? Or stand up, toughen up and make things better for you and your kids?
I chose to stand up and I hope you are doing the same.
You deserve all the success and happiness in the world, now go get it!