My mother came to my house this morning. Early. See, she watches Jane while I work my full-time days and my husband attends school during the day, and it works out so very well.
My mother is a fantastic woman and a phenomenal caretaker of her only granddaughter. I couldn't have hoped for a better sitter, while I sit here at work and fritter away the time doing things like this. We're slowly working toward Sarah being a stay-at-home mama; I honestly can't wait. Jane is sixteen months old and not getting any younger, and she is my joy; to spend entire days with her would honestly be complete bliss. We're creating a future for her right now, a foundation so positive and secure and I look very much forward to the day that I can spend my days and nights with her.
My mother shows up this morning, while Jane was still nestled in her crib and while her daddy slept away the early morning hours. I'm in the process of showering, doing my normal morning routine and chatting with mom while I put my makeup on. We're talking about this and that and she asks me if I had seen the news this morning.
I'm normally not so much of a morning person that I'm coherently able to make the news a priority in my morning routine, but who knows, right? It could happen. One day. Maybe when I'm the stay-at-home mom that I know I'd be just so great at.
She proceeds to tell me that there was a young man arrested in the area over the past few days for slapping and squeezing the head of a sixteen week-old child.
What the fuck.
My jaw dropped. My stomach instantly clenched and I felt like I had to throw up. I probably could have cried if I weren't so mad.
How could someone be so heartless? And mental? Honestly, what kind of monster would do such a thing to a child? Let alone their own child! I don't get it. Not a bit, not even to try to play the Devil's Advocate and defend it. Not touching that one.
I did a brief stint working for Children's Services in my area while I was seeking a better opportunity and I have to say, that place was, by far, the most depressing job I've ever held. In my entire working career. The poor children that come through the door, the families torn apart by abuse; the parents with their drug problems that were obviously way more important than raising their children (which is why they ended up in the place that they were).
I would leave work at times, crying for these poor, lost souls that would probably not end up in a good situation (and not entirely too far down the road) which, in turn, leads to more fucked-up individuals creating even worse situations for their next generation. I don't begrudge the system; it's as good as the government is going to allow it to be, at this point, anyway, and I think that being 'in the system' is by far better than being raised in these bleakly horrible environments.
My bottom line is... Accidents or not, mistakes or anything else of the like; if you can't raise a child, give it up. If you don't feel mentally competent, or even emotionally available, consider another option. Like adoption. I've seen far too many children subjected to the horrors of abuse and the toll that it takes on them for the rest of their lives. The loneliness of neglect is just as detrimental to these poor kiddos.
I love my daughter more than the world could ever understand and I couldn't imagine ever putting her in a situation that would harm her or compromise her idea of safety and what it is to be fostered, content and nurtured.
I can definitely stick by the statement that parenting is not for everyone and it's not an easy job, by a far cry.
But in these all-too-common circumstances, take a step back. Open your minds and really think. Put the child (or the potential child) ahead of your selfish needs and desires and really ponder what it is to be a parent.
It's not all stroller pushing, clothes shopping and naps.