By: Mia L. Hazlett
If you follow my blog, I’m real big on “The Village” when it comes to raising my children. I’ve never considered myself a single mother, but a single-income household. So many people helped me raise my children as I’ve carried my single status.
Recently, my BFF moved across the country from a slight village to no village. It broke my heart because I totally got it. I’m fortunate enough to have my mother help me with my daughters. Because long ago and it may still exist, there was a stereotype of single mothers, especially black single mothers, that they are at home all day living off of welfare with a bunch of kids. Not the case for my closest single mothers. Not at all.
My BFF is a corporate executive who busts her ass to support her family. As you know I assist a President and Board of Trustees. I know others who have worked two jobs to make ends meet. My BFF ran into a problem with her move when she couldn’t find after school care for her daughter. What happens when you don’t have a Village? Short answer, you’re screwed.
What happens when you are on the corporate grind and the 9-5 business day goes out the window? Working at senior-level positions doesn’t allow you to leave the office because the shift is over. Or what if you are holding down multiple jobs and only have an hour break before you have to go to the next job?
With my daughters old enough to get themselves off the bus and go home, I can breathe easy when my scheduled 7.5-hour day turns into 10- 11 hours. And a salary offers no overtime for those extra hours. But I understood my friend’s dilemma, she is the sole provider for her family and made the move for the betterment of her children’s future. But without a village, even if she found a daycare, how was she going to get her daughter from school to daycare?
Childcare is not conducive for the working single parent who has no village. Daycare itself is expensive, but if you want to utilize the early drop-off and late pick-up you need a hefty paycheck to back it up. To earn that paycheck, you have to be present at work. An early leave on this day or that day, eventually adds up. With a Village you can spread that out, but by yourself, you jeopardize your job, no matter how far up the corporate ladder you are.
I’ve found the best thing for the single parent with no village, a nanny. I had one for my daughters for four years. She came to the house in the early morning, did the dishes, made my bed, and got my kids up, fed, and off to school. If I was late I could call her and she would be there. Luckily for my BFF she has found herself a nanny. The first person in her Village.