Working Mothers the “Support” We Give

Laura BrowderI am not one of these guys who thinks that if I survived childhood then kids today don’t need bicycle helmets. Just the same, it does seem to me that we have become over-protective. That’s especially true when it comes to nebulous threats. Do people really think that huge numbers of strangers are lurking in the shadows just waiting to abduct their children? The vast majority of the cases are child custody battles. So the over-concern of people about their children’s safety in this regard indicates that as a society, we are highly narcissistic. And often, this is used to abuse children and parents alike.

Take, for example, the case of Laura Browder. She is a Houston single mother and college student. She got a suddenly announced job interview. So she wasn’t able to get a babysitter for her two children — 6 year old daughter and 2 year old son. So she took them to the food court at the mall, where her interview was. She got them some food from McDonald’s, and proceeded with her interview — where she was 30 feet away. Well, someone apparently thought the children were crying, and so called the police. The children were taken into protective custody and Browder was arrested.

It all worked out in the end. Browder got out of jail and quickly got her kids back. I don’t know at this time whether the charges are dropped or whether they will be. Browder did get the job, but after all that, who knows? Job offers are rescinded all the time. But what does this say about our society that this is the way we “help” young single mothers who are trying to make something of their lives? We don’t go and check on the children and help out as we may. You know: it doesn’t take a village; it takes a police department.

At the age of six, I used to walk a mile home from school with my friend George. So there were two (working) mothers who would now no doubt get arrested. Both of us could have had the excellent experience of being raised by literally dozens of foster parents. We seem to now live in a society that cares enough about the safety of children to punish both the children and their parents. But it doesn’t care enough to make their lives better. We can’t spend money on things like universal daycare. But we certainly have unlimited funds for policing and jailcare!

I see this all as the Ann Romney syndrome. Rich mothers are to be applauded for the “tough” choice of staying home and being intimately involved with their children’s lives. But poor mothers must be made to work — and in Laura Browder’s case, also go to college because she doesn’t want to be stuck in her current situation for the rest of her life. It would somehow be wrong to provide poor mothers with the same resources as rich mothers, even though the ultimate result is that rich children have far better lives than poor children.

Meritocracy, my ass!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

4 thoughts on “Working Mothers the “Support” We Give

  1. Somebody called Ann Romney a hero for being a mother? I missed that. I thought she had a medical disability. That’s what the prancing pony was for. The one that gave them a tax deduction that was double the median income of a Republican base voter. In any event, people who have money don’t work. They have hobbies. It would be helpful if Hillary, et all, would start using this kind of rhetoric when talking about the opposition.
    I encountered just a while ago a stranger danger hoax. Google ‘snopes facebook child traficking’ to find ‘mostly false’. The thing was, the post was written in the rhetorical style of an urban ledgend. Complicated story, no specific facts, scary! But when you stop to think about how any of it would really work, it stops making sense. I worked on my high school newspaper for three years. I’m old enough, and my teacher came from a newspaper family. So I know what real journalism looks like (it looks like Al Jazeera). But you know, it COULD happen. And I could get mauled by a tiger trying to get in my car. There’s at least two zoos in the city that have them. Did anybody count them today? The inability to assess risk and detect bullshit is a common defect. And I got this post from a couple of facebook friends, one of whom is a dingbat. The other was my sister, who is intelligent, and usually clear headed. But her husband is what we call ‘the white working class’ and they watch Fox ‘news’.

    • That’s the thing about urban legends: they are always plausible. “The Hook” is such a great story because it could have happened. And it provides a great moral: if you don’t make out with your boyfriend on lovers’ lane, it can’t possibly happen!

      I don’t remember if anyone actually said that Ann Romney was a hero. But much was made of her choice to stay with the kids. We love that! It’s noble for rich people to do what they want…

  2. I’ve always thought that sex education should be taught in high school. Part of the teaching should be on the consequences of having children before you can financially afford them. I have friends who had children early before they had established a career or skill to see them through and they struggle still to keep up. Just a thought. Of course we continue to cut funding to schools so maybe this is not a good thought.

    • I suppose the main thing is that in the US, we do everything we can to make being poor miserable. Clearly we don’t want people having kids early. Of course, the same kind of people who don’t want to cut young people any slack are the kind of people who want to make birth control impossible to get. It’s madness.

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