Child Neglect and a Working Single Mother

by Vicky
(Palm Springs, California, USA)

I'm a single mother of four. The fathers were drug users and go in and out of jail. I worked my way off welfare after 14 years. Started working a state job with benefits. The grandparents agreed to help me with daycare because their son made me lose my child care services. They raised my children while I got myself together and bettered my life. Once I did, I was accused of child neglect due to the fact that I didn't spend enough time with my children. My work schedule and transportation became a factor of time I spent with my children. It hurts to work so hard to give my children a better life and find out I was neglecting them at the same time.

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Jan 21, 2009
A dilemma faced by many single parents...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

First, I must congratulate you for bettering your life, Vicky, and thus the lives of your children.

You speak of neglecting your children by virtue of not being there for them. I can appreciate the predicament you are facing. This dilemma is faced by every working single parent out there. Without family support and without the means, it's very difficult to be able to give your children the time they need (and they do need your time). It's even more difficult when you are trying to better yourself as well as working full time to support those children. Just don't lose sight of the fact that you've sent a powerful message to your children about standing up for yourself and making the effort to provide a better life for you and them.

Having said this, you may well now be faced with making some tough choices, choices that may require you to evaluate the way you spend your time and prioritize so that your children fit into your life. Doing so would send them another even more powerful message: that they are your number 1 priority. You already know that, but your children don't. They only know what they feel and observe for themselves: your lack of availability, which they will turn inward by blaming themselves; that is the nature of children. Keep in mind that there isn't anything you can do to change the Past. There is only the Present. Talk to your children. Make sure they know you love them. Make sure they know why you haven't been there physically for them, and make sure they know you will do better in this area; then make sure you DO better in this area. Difficult as this will be, balance is what you must try to achieve.

I wish you and your children all the best, Vicky. Thank you for sharing your situation with my visitors and me.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

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