This week is filled with thoughts about parenting.
When I was a kid I waffled between not wanting any children and wanted to have 12 (and then name them after the disciples :I was a closet mini-Bible-Thumper )
Having Jackie was a shock and I was fairly young, Darla was also not planned and both of them are joys. When Jax was a baby I used to wonder where her parents were and why they were late picking her up. Then it would hit me that “I” was her parent. My kid brother is 10 years younger than I; and I was a nanny while in college, and for no apparent reason – babies and little kids like me. So do ugly men, old men and all canine dogs. Jax I raised alone and for Darla I am trying to keep her two parent family in tact, but frankly, I don’t see why or that it is much easier than doing it alone. Certainly the drama is not attractive.
This week’s drama involved the county Child and Family Services threatening to remove Darla if they find anything wrong in the home of my friend’s kids. Are you kidding me? I can not win for losing! I am not sure what is happening with them – but because it would severely complicate my life, relationships with their parents, and the kids I have not opened that can of worms. I have, however spoken a parent and discussed any and every concern I have had. No, this did NOT make me a popular family friend and almost ended my friendship all together.
A long time ago we had Mandated Reporter training here in the office and I was told that I have to report on ANY child, ANYWHERE or I face prison and a fine. Well, that sounded ominous so I called DCFS and they said that I would be excused for not reporting if I ever had Bonus Kid concerns specifically because it would complicate my life.
So, why is it that a DCFS worker told me that my Mandated Reporting ended when I walked out of the office at work? She went on to say that if DCFS finds anything wrong with my friend’s children they would take Darla because I didn’t do anything, didn’t say anything, didn’t keep the kids from going home, even if I didn’t know anything? The worker did not ask me if I have any concerns, or say there was any basis to anything, or even tell me what the issue with those children might be. She just straight up told me that she would remove Darla if she finds anything.
So – what is the message? I have to report every little concern and be a nuisance or I don’t have to do anything.
Oh, and personal side note, you get one guess who is being blamed/credited/accused for the appearance of D.C..S. .
Meanwhile, at work I pulled a baby bottle of sweet ice tea out of the mouth of a 3 month old. Teen mom and teen dad thought baby would like it because she had tummy problems. I told them to talk to the WIC lady and call the family doctor because their health care is provided for free. This was at the same table I have pulled narcotics out of a toddler and in the same office I have called DCFS when my walk to 7-11 resulted in passing by a car filled with children unattended on a hot summer day. 17 year old girls are telling me the planned to have that first baby at 14 and want 4 kids by the time they turn 21.I have families living in boxes, in cars, in tents in the local forests and parks and when some of the children come to my office I just let them raid my snack drawer because I know they didn’t eat anything that day.
I am starting to wonder if children deserve parents who are given basic skills classes when pregnancy is diagnosed. Maybe, like the Swiss all have to serve in the Swiss army for two years and Mormons all have to go on Missions, maybe all American children should have mandatory parenting classes as part of sex ed in junior high-school so they are pre-armed with the skills they need if and when they have children.
Children are more important than ‘the love of your life”. Your children are more important than your girlfriend, boyfriend, parent, husband, fiance, or wife. Being a good parent is more important than shopping, eating, travel or success in business.
Being a good parent means being aware of your child. Knowing and responding when they are hungry, needing bathing, clothing or a nap. Being a good parent means BEING THERE, being present in their lives at all points in their life. Being a good parent means having a personal relationship with your child so you know them as an individual. Sometimes being a good parent means recognizing that you can’t or don’t want to do all these things and letting someone else parent your child.
But, what do I know. Apparently I am just someone that a DCFS worker who didn’t give a business card or last name can threaten to walk out of my home with my 1 year old because I pulled a “Joe Paterno” and did not complain enough if I had any concerns.