Tag Archives: personal responsibilty

Personal Responsibility revisted

22 Jan

Warning, this is a rant. I am going to try to write this in a manner not to break confidentiality because of my work, but I gotta get this out.

I am the director of a neighborhood community center and after school program that primarily serves low income families, its a good place with a solid reputation. Our primary program provides FREE after-school care, complete with snacks, access to clothes for kids and families that need them and other services. We do this on a serious shoe string budget, oh did I mention the services are free. Now anyone who reads this who is a parent knows that child care costs are no joke.

Now due to some issues we are having, I had to institute my first policy change as director that the kids and parents are aware of, wanna guess what it is? Well several years ago, a staffer realized the kids were walking home in the dark and this center is not in the best part of town and some of these kids are like 5-6 years old, so the staffer decided to walk the kids home. Its been nice but we have reached the point  that we really never should have been doing it and right now we simply don’t have the manpower to do it.

Its been a rough call because I am a mother and the idea of little kids walking alone after dark scares the shit out of me but at the time we close, I gotta pick my own kid up and switch into Mama mode and honestly I don’t want or need the responsibility of walking other folks kids home.

So I asked the parents if they could pick their kids up, mind you the kids get dropped off by the school bus at the center and in my mind asking folks to pick up their kids from a free after-school program doesn’t seem unreasonable. Guess what? Folks is pissed and  bitching, some of the kids may not be able to come and honestly I don’t get it.

Truthfully I am having a real hard time digesting how folks cannot do one simple thing to ensure their kids have access to a fun, safe place to go after-school. This incident has reminded me of how as a society we are abdicating our own responsibilities and we can all see where that has gotten us. It seems that personal responsibility has gone out the window and it reaches across all sectors of society. Now for the most part I consider myself a Black blogger and in the Black blogosphere there are many who talk about the lack of personal responsibility among us as Black folks but remember I live in Maine. These are white folks I am talking about, all the kids in my program who are regulars are White, their parents are White and the town they live in is pretty damn White. Lack of folks taking responsibility for themselves knows no color.

Ok, rant over….hopefully we won’t lose any kids but I am only one person.

Can you take care of yourself?

15 Dec

This is a post for the ladies, specifically for those of us with kids. In my online and even to some degree real life dealings, I know a lot of women who are stay at home Moms. Now I have no problem at all with stay at home Moms, shit I have been there myself and even now I am not a full fledged work out of the home mother since I still do a great deal of work from my home office.

However I keep stumbling across a theme with many stay at home Moms, that frankly scares the shit out of me. Many woman who are at home with their kids who I have run across say they can’t afford to work because whatever they earn would be eaten up by the cost of childcare and after paying childcare, and other related working costs, at best they would break even.

Um…..I have to say something and yeah its gonna be bitchy but I need to speak my truth. If your job skills are such that you can’t earn enough to provide a bare standard of living for you and your kids, well you need to address that skills deficit ASAP. Look, as women we get caught up in the emotions and some times that is not such a good thing.

For many of us as women, we envision a world where girl meets boy, falls in love, marries and has babies all with the expectations that boy will be the breadwinner. Ideally this is a great plan, problem is real life interferes and what happens if boy drops dead? This happened to an acquaintance of mine, our girls are  only days a part and her beloved husband died before their daughter turned 1. Thankfully my girl is an accomplished professional and was able to continue providing a decent standard of living for her and her child. Yes, losing a mate is hard but I can only imagine its a lot harder when the only income you got is those survivor benefits. Grief is hard enough without adding financial strain.

On the equally as serious side, what happens if your man just leaves, maybe after you have the babies and get caught up in the Mama love glow, maybe he decides your new size 14 ass is just not what he wants and then decides to be a bitch and not even be fair with financial support. Or maybe he does pony up his 20% for support but it turns out you can’t live on it….this happens a lot.

Lastly, what if you realize after a while you just hate his guts, maybe he is abusing you emotionally, physically or mentally? Yet with no ability to provide you choose to stay or you leave and you are forced to live a transient lifestyle while you try to rebuild.

Look, none of these are places we want to visit but life happens and as women we need to be prepared. Its one of the reasons that despite marrying a man I felt and still feel will be my life partner until I am a crusty old bitch, I went back to school and have always worked. I was married once to man who was a asshole and had I not been working and earning enough to support me and my son many moons ago, kicking his ass to the curb would have been a lot harder.

Ladies, I am not saying don’t stay home with your babies. Shoot, I stayed home with mini-me full-time the first year of her life and when I did go back to work I was only teaching part time. Yet I believed in staying plugged enough so that I never have to start over with no contacts, leads, etc.

Part of being an excellent Mama and parent is making sure we are looking at basics and basics do include boring shit like food and shelter. It truly breaks my heart to know a woman is stuck with asshole because she has no means. Its just not good.

OK, that service announcement is over, feel free to tell me how you feel.

Personal Responsibility

30 Jul

First off I am not some raving pull yourself up by the bootstraps type nor am I a closeted Republican….let me just say that since I know words like personal responsibility have been completely misused by such individuals. That said, I have a rant that’s been brewing off and on for a while and I need to let it out.

When the hell did folks in America stop exercising any type of responsibilityover their lives? No, seriously… I grew up in a working class Black family, some times life was good and hell, Moms and Pops even bought us name brand cereal and sometimes we were just lucky to have food. However Mom and Dad despite the rough times always worked at least Dad did most of time and one of the few times he tried to be a slacker and we were staying with my grandparents, I still remember my Grandpa saying “If I got to work everyone up in this beyotch needs to work or be looking for work.” Needless to say my Dad got off his ass and manned up and as one might say these days.

No, work has always been in my vocabulary, when I graduated from 8th grade at 14, that summer before high school started I lied about my age (this was back when you didn’t need to show id to work) and got my first job and I have been working ever since barring late pregnancy and right after having my babies. Now when I got pregnant with eldest child at 18, a few months into what these days would probably be known as a starter marriage, I didn’t have insurance and well babies cost money. So I had to sign up for state medical insurance which after baby boy was born turned into a very brief stint of getting welfare benefits. Let me just say that was one of the most humiliating times in my life.

Back then in Chicago it was called Public Aid aka the Aid office and even then at 19, I knew this was not some shit I wanted to do or be on long term, by the time my son turned 13-14 mos, I landed a decent gig and have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong, it has not always been smooth sailing for me since that time, but barring some really bad shit, the idea of getting a gubment handout just is not for me. There was one period in my life when my son was 2-3, where I was working 3 jobs, I had people ask me why was I doing that when I could apply for XYZ benefits, yes I could but sorry that was not for me.

However because of my humble roots if you want to call em that I have always had a compassionate heart towards helping people, back when I was working at a homeless shelter, I will admit I often bent the rules to help folks out especially those that showed some spunk. There were times when the shelter didn’t have transit money to help clients yet for those clients who had just landed a job, I often would slide them some carfare from my own money.

All that to say while I know what its like to have hard times, been there, done that and as Dave Ramsey would say I even got the t-shirt. The truth is sometimes we make poor choices that get us in a bad situation and unless we own up to it, our shit won’t get better. For me that was the realization that I have/had a spending problem, the spousal unit had been trying to tell me for years that I spend too much but last year, our lives too a sharp right when I wanted to go straight and I had to own up to the fact that sista-girl spends way too much. I am happy to say I am taming that beast, some days are better than others but awareness is a big part of it.

No this is a rather sensitive issue but why the hell do people have babies when they know they are broke and as my Granny used to say don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of? Look, I know the desire to have a baby is real, shit when that bug hit me almost 4 years ago I jumped on it but not before I looked at our finances and had a realistic idea of whether adding another child was reasonable and even doable. In our case we knew that by giving up certain pleasures we could afford it. However in the past several years I have run across some folks who are in real dire straights who keep having babies when they don’t have a pot or window or anything else and I am sorry but its madness to me to do so.

In one instance, a couple where both parties are on a fixed income (SSI) and already had 3 kids decided to have another baby, this is a family that every month must go to the food pantry because their food stamps don’t last the whole month and they have no additional money to buy food. I barely know this couple but when they announced they were expecting baby #4, I really wanted to go why??? I’m sorry but if you are at the food pantry every month maybe another mouth to feed is a bad idea….

By the same token, you have so-called middle class folks buying half a million dollar homes and yes I know in certain parts of the country that is nothing, but folks buying homes with either no money down or fancy loans like the interest-only loan. Duh, it used to be you needed to put 20% down to buy and excuse me but what the hell is the difference between a interest only loan and renting? Nothing except that one gives the illusion of ownership but you are no closer to owning than the guy who rents outright. Yet now droves of folks are losing their homes now and yes some of it is because of predatory lenders but in some cases people did not sit down and think the situation through. I know because had it not been for having a savvy ass father in-law and doing a bit of research, my ass might be joining some of y’all.

Look my point is not to rail against folks and kick anyone when they are down but as I get older, I see there is a lot of value in searching ourselves and really assessing things before we make what could be bad decisions and that is part of being an adult and taking some personal responsibility for ourselves.