Brenda - posted on 09/15/2009 ( 16 moms have responded )
I have some mixed feelings about a friends situation and I wanted to get your opinions. I will try to keep the explanation brief even though I am really frustrated... so no promises LOL
My friend Megan was told she could never have kids (blah blah blah- we all know the story) and she ended up getting pregnant by a live in boyfriend. The guy left while she was pregnant and she went ahead with the pregnancy knowing he would not provide any emotional or financial support. She gave birth to a healthy little girl and named her daughter, Kate.
Fast forward-- Megan's daughter Kate is now 13 and in 7th grade. Her Dad (aka sperm donor) pops in and out of her life and pays child support when it's convenient (read: once in a blue moon). Megan never really pushes the child support issue because A) she doesn't want him around to begin with and she worries he will want to use his rights to see Kate if he is forced to pay support and B) getting child support from him effects her food stamps and other welfare.
Megan mainly works under the table so she doesn't have to pay taxes. Her tax statements for last year showed she made under $11K for the entire year. Obviously, this is completely impossible given the fact her rent alone is $1200 per month. Megan refuses to get a "normal" job because she wants to be home as much as possible for her daughter, which is understandable, BUT... there are many women that are single mothers and don't abuse the system in this manner. So Megan babysits and does odd jobs for different people to make ends meet.
About 4 years ago, Megan's daughter (who is a wannabe Diva) got it in her head that she wanted to attend a private school. She was infatuated with that show Zoey 101, about a girl at some private boarding school. Well Megan has a hard time telling Kate "No" and I think a lot of it stems from guilt over Kate's bio Dad being such a loser but regardless... whatever Kate wants, Kate usually gets. Megan found a very exclusive private school nearby and she asked for financial aid (read: she wanted Kate to attend for FREE since they are so poor). The school was more than eager to enroll Kate and she has been at this school the past few years. This school is amazing-- their "field trips" are more like mini vacations where Kate will be gone for 3-4 days at a time. There are two teachers per classroom and tons of one on one time with the students. It's seriously the most amazing place. For normal folks like you and I however, tuition would be $18K a year.
Another thing that irks me is this... Kate wanted a dog because, again, she thinks she is some sort of pop star/diva and she wanted a little dog to tote around and put in purses. Well I don't know how many of you are familiar with the American Girl dolls, but the dog from this line is a little West Highland Terrier named Coconut. Well, Kate got it in her head that she needed this kind of dog. Mind you, neither of them know anything about the breed, they just think it's really cute. I tried talking Megan out of it, explaining how much grooming and pet care would be, the time it would take to train such a dog, etc... but NO WAY- Kate wanted it and Kate gets what she wants. Megan found a breeder who had Westies for $700 each. Of course she can't afford this, so she gives the breeder a sob story about how she is a hard working single mother and all her poor little girl wants is this dog. The breeder wouldn't lower the price, but finally agrees to let her take the dog and make payments on it each month!! i just couldn't believe it! Well low and behold, a several months later this puppy grows up and it's not as cute anymore. Not only that, but its expensive to have a pet groomed and OMG, the dog chews things up and is hard to train-- DUH. It's just so frustrating for me to watch sometimes.
Anyway. I just don't know how to feel about it sometimes. On one hand I feel like Megan is really sacrificing material comforts (at least her own, Kate doesn't ever do without) so she can raise her daughter and be really involved in her life. The on the other hand, I am frustrated because I know tax payers like myself are footing the bill so she doesn't have to work a real job and contribute to society.
So which is it-- Is Megan milking the system or is she just a super Mom who wants the best for her daughter and is willing to make major sacrifices to get it?