I need to start off with making sure everyone understands who this rant is directed at. This rant is NOT directed at mothers who neglect their health and well-being for their children. This rant is also NOT directed at mothers who don’t neglect their health and well-being for their children. This rant is also NOT for people who are not mothers and can’t fathom how/why a mom might feel like she should/has to/guilt because she did/didn’t neglect her health and or well-being for her children. To me all of the above positions are perfectly reasonable, acceptable, and a position I have held at some point in my life or another. (Sometimes wildly ping ponging between the first two during a single week) So who IS it I am mad at? The subgroup of category 3, those who want to be all judgey and lecturing and add to my maternal guilt (thanks, but I manufacture plenty on my own, but if you’d like to babysit while I go to therapy, well, hell , that would actually be helpful). See? Here I am, just full of steam and wanting to yell at someone, but my mouth hurts. (Oh & I vowed to yell less about 4 or 5 years ago, so there’s that too; I feel like getting a white chip every time I go a solid week, so it’s a work in progress… Argh! So much mouth pain I am having trouble thinking in any cohesive way… Sorry)
Here’s the thing, I am not a wealthy woman (Like you hadn’t noticed or something) I live below the official poverty line for a family of 4. (I checked recently, just to see) But I pay (along with my nice grown-up lady job employers) for my health insurance, and dental and vision, for the four of us. Those co pays will add up quick (as I am certain you all know) so I often am making a call along the lines of say $100 + $25 for BoyChild II to get an eye exam and new glasses or pay the electric bill that is not overdue at all. (I can tell you in this rock-paper-scissors budgeting glasses beat electricity, as long as electricity is not overdue, but moving on…)Yeah It’s that tight around here, and 90% of the time (fairly good odds to my mind) I end up getting the necessities paid for ( we never go out to eat/buy brand new jeans/ video games, but that electric bill gets paid). But I don’t feel like I should have to draw a map of my monthly (or yearly) budget to anyone (see awesome things about being a single mom) I mean anyone, it’s my choice to share or not share my finances with you or with any service provider. So when I say (hypothetically speaking) “Well, I’d love to pay you $88 to pull the skin back from my teeth and clean (remove cracked tooth filling bits that are now “too old”) inside the gum line on the left side of my face and then come back in 2 weeks to pay you $88 to do the same to the right side of my face, but unfortunately that ain’t happening this week, or any time soon. I will call to schedule the appointment as soon as I have saved up the money to do so.” This should be an accepted statement. No one should then go on and on (hypothetically speaking again) for say 10 to 15 minutes on how important my dental health is to my overall health. (Note: stressing over paying for $176 and a total of 1 1/2 days off work is ALSO not good for my overall health) See, I have never had a cavity. My parents didn’t have any dental insurance until I was out of school so my first dental appointment wasn’t until I was 12 and I went about 3 times after that the last time being at the age of 16. I didn’t go to the dentist again until my wisdom teeth came in and my face swelled shut (not pretty), I was 21. My teeth are so crowded in my mid twenties they started cracking each other. Guess who had actual cracks in her teeth with no nastiness/etc for the 4 years it took to save the money to pull/fill those cracking teeth? Yeah, so when they start getting on me about “this is a dental health emergency” I just smile politely and roll my eyes when they aren’t looking. (In case anyone is wondering? No I can’t fit floss between all my teeth, but I religiously am a CREST kid & I promise to update this post should I ever get a cavity)
So the day has arrived. Thursday I have an appointment with the dentist to rip open my left side gums and
really bleed a lot get them clean, I finally saved up the money to do it. The problem is when I called to schedule said appointment I was already hurting and swollen (I did not tell the receptionist this, however super sonic hearing is apparently her superpower) I was scolded again for not having made this appointment sooner. So in a pain/frustration induced haze I broke my own rule. I rattled off a list of the things I did this year that also cost between $100 and $200 instead of getting this cleaning done back in March.
- Aforementioned glasses
- Electric bill (every month thank you very much)
- Extra $200 in gas every month we lived in the hotel (4) after our house flooded (to do completely frivolous things like get kids to school, me to work, etc)
- Tires for Suzie (my 2001 Isuzu Trooper)
- Carpet Cleaner (to get indescribable things out of flooded carpet)
- $300+ per month co pays for meds and therapy for BoyChild I
- Breaks for Suzie
- School clothes (underwear/pants/socks/shoes) at about $60-120 per child x3 since someone grew 4 inches, 26 lbs, and 4 shoe sizes this summer. (& well, they can’t go to school shoeless and nekked, no matter how clean their teeth are)
- School supplies
- Inspection ready repairs to Suzie & then inspection/title renewal (old girl has had a rough year, but we still love her — & she requires no car payments)
- Infected toe (I have a feeling the growing 4 sizes was bad for it too) decontamination and whatever else the pediatrician did along with antibiotics
- 2 children’s birthday parties (ok, I know this is not necessity, but you gonna say “sorry hun, no birthday this year, Mommy is going to the dentist instead” ? Riiight)
Now it’s not a crazy list, I’ve had worse summers, and I don’t own a credit card so there’s no debt, but it was enough that I just couldn’t fix it until now. I was telling a friend about this, the receptionist and her reaction and what I had to say to shut her up (again, not for sympathy, just shut up) when a stranger nearby says “sounds like you just shouldn’t of had kids if you can’t even take care of yourself.”
What?! Like in the cartoons when they turn red and steam comes out their ears? Yeah, like that.
So that’s what this was, my rant to get off my chest exactly how asinine both those people were being. I hope if you have ever judged like that you are feeling a bit shame faced and will never do it again. I hope if you have been judged like that (after several Lamaze type breaths) you will know it isn’t you, it’s them. Do you have a story like this? Do you think I’m just needing a nap and a
stiff drink calm down because I am overreacting? Let me know. Looking forward to it!