SAH V. WOH: Single Teen Parent Edition

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011
SAH V. WOH: Single Teen Parent Edition
16
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 5:31pm

We've got a little SAH vs. WOH thing going on in my house currently.

My 20 year old stepson came from another state last summer to live with us. We offered to support him while he's going to college. He got a job right away, got himself a car, etc. Motivated, ambitious. 

My 18 year old pregnant stepdaughter also came from another state to live with us more recently when she and the baby's father started having relationship issues. We offered her the same deal as dss.

In the meantime, their mother has moved from another state and currently lives about an hour away.

We'd like to get dsd started at the community college this fall. We figured the timing would work well--she's set to have the baby sometime in the next few weeks. She'd have spring and summer to SAH with her baby, and by the time school starts we figure she'll be ready for a break. In the meantime, we've offered to take care of the baby's needs. I've been WAH for some time and know of a few small contract things she can do for a little fun money, but we've made it clear that we're willing to help her with the ongoing expenses like diapers, wipes, baby food, clothing, etc.

Both her mother and dss feel strongly that she needs a job. When she first arrived here a month ago, she handed in an application at the McDonald's down the street. We talked to her afterward and explained that really, we're not pressuring her to get a job right now, it just doesn't make any sense. By the time she'd get settled into it, she'd be taken off work. Plus, it seems silly to put pressure on her to have to return to work after six weeks when she doesn't need to. We told her to wait until she has the baby and re-evaluate from there. (Hoping that she'd want to just SAH for a bit.)

My biggest protest to her WOH: I'm willing to provide child care for dsd to go to school but I am not willing to rearrange our lives so that dsd can go earn $150 a week at some variable-shift fast food job. I'm a FT student and I work from home, so child care would fall squarely on me most of the time by default because I'm the one who is home. I'm already a bit concerned about fitting in child care this fall; I'm assuming I'll schedule myself classes on MWF and have dsd schedule herself on T-Th, and somehow we'll just have to manage to fit our reading/studying in while caring for the baby. I am anticipating dd14 to be a great help with the baby over summer break, and in fact earlier she blurted out that she'd be willing to babysit while dsd works, but I'm not really on board with that. Not one of these kids understands how much work a baby truly is. I expect both of the younger kids to help out, because we're a family and that's what family does. If dsd needs a babysitter for 20 minutes so she can take a shower, my kids should feel obligated to pitch in. If she asks them for a hand in fetching diaper ointment while she's in the middle of a diaper change, they need to go get it without complaint. If their sister needs them to turn down a trip to the lake with friends because she's scheduled to sling fries for six hours, that's where the obligation ends as far as I'm concerned. 

Dss went as far as talk to the manager at the McDonald's last week and arranged an interview for dsd. Can you believe that? He's on her constantly about getting work, telling her that she needs to work to be a good mom. This sentiment is echoed through their mother, who will not let up on this child. Every time dsd comes from from a visit with her mother, she starts talking about options her mom keeps bringing up. If she had her way, dsd would get some kind of $9/hr CNA job and split living expenses with her, roommate style. Every time we get this kid settled into the idea that we'll take care of her during this time, these other two are right there in her ear telling her she's a bad mom and the baby isn't even born yet! Their mother is just too far away to be of any practical use for daily child care and obviously dsd cannot afford to pay for child care on minimum wage.

FWIW, the baby's father is looking like a future deadbeat dad. 

We don't want dsd's life to come to a screeching halt just because she's having a baby young. She needs to become a self-sufficient, productive adult and we're willing to do whatever we can to get her there. We're fighting this WOH ideal constantly. 

What do you think? Should this new mom-to-be be working to take care of her responsibility? Or are her father and I being realistic in our offer? Dss seems to think we'll turn her into some kind of lazy lump who'll never move out. I give dsd way more credit than that.

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2011
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 5:46pm

While I can understand her mother's concerns,  I think that it sounds like you've given this a great deal of thought, and with some clear boundaries and expectations, I don't imagine that your offer will turn the girl into a lazy lump.  Have you had a chance to share all of this with her mother?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2003
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 5:51pm
Does she want to go to school in the fall?
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2013
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 5:55pm

I think you're being more than reasonable and fair and I think the mother needs to back off. I'm curious though, could the mother feel guilty that you all are going to provide for the baby (in a way that perhaps she can't) and so she's forcing the issue w/her daughter in order to feel better about herself? I don't see how slinging fries at McDonald's in your stepdaughter's long term interest--getting her degree WOULD make a big difference though.

My hat is off to you, it sounds like a solid plan and your SD is lucky to have such supportive parents.

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 5:59pm

  It sounds like your plan makes the most practical sence for the long run.

  I do not have any personal experience with this but a friend has a DD who got pregnant at 17.  Basically what they told her was the most important person in the picture now was the baby and they would take care of her needs.  One of the biggests long term needs for the grand daughter was for her mother to eventually have a job that paid enough to support her so by default they also paid some of their DDs expences thoughout high school and college to help  make that a reality.

 The grand daughter just turned 5, her mother is still in college. To to my knowledge the only help the DD is receiving at this point is they pay for the granddaughters childcare during the work week while her mother is at school and on evenings/weekends watch her themselves while the DD works. 

    Even though they have spent a lot of money in the last 5 years, it will in the end be worth it because when the DD does graduate from college it will be in a field that is not only a growing field but one that pays enough for her to support her DD. 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 6:02pm

When we picked dsd up, we spent about an hour with her mother and told her what our plans for dsd were. The thing is, her mom flipped out when I mentioned that I'd looked into dsd getting on medicaid for her pregnancy. She went on a tirade about how her daughter isn't going on assistance. There are no other options for her for health insurance right now. We can enroll her on the family policy through dh's work, but it does not cover her maternity care or labor and delivery. I don't know that we could buy a comprehensive plan that would cover everything privately considering that she's in her third trimester, plus, my understanding is that Medicaid is the only way to force the baby's father to pay his share as the state will seek reimbursement after paternity is established. 

I don't know what her mother's expectation is, but her ideology runs deep red and we're just a bunch of communists trying to turn her daughter into a welfare case. She's not a reasonable person. We're not going to change her mind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 6:03pm

geschichtsgal wrote:
Does she want to go to school in the fall?

Yes. She told us how difficult it was to tell her mother that she didn't to move in with her because she thinks that going to college is her best course of action.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2003
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 6:10pm
Then I think your plan is definitely the best one. If she wasn't interested or invested in getting a degree, it probably wouldn't be a great idea for her to go. Also, she should definitely sign up for Medicaid. That's what it is there for. If she feels guilty about it, you can tell her that she will more than make up for it in increased taxes when she gets a degree and a good paying job, instead of slinging burgers at McDonald's for the rest of her life. Also, she may want to look into WIC. They have really good nutritional information for expecting mothers and babies-- and if she doesn't breastfeed for some reason, the savings in formula costs are pretty great. And if she does breastfeed, her food allowance will last after the baby is born.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2003
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 6:11pm
Also, my sister did something similar. She ended up getting a nursing degree and makes really good money now.
Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 6:40pm

I don't have much to add but I wish her and you all well, I'd be all in favor of her going to school but she has to want it too, County/state assistance has to be on board here too!  I work with girls as young as 14 YO that are pg, Schools are always going to be a fall back in these situations and I'd probably lean towards school over a job (again, if she wants that!) Good luck to her. 

 


 


Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 6:51pm

geschichgal's post reminds me of the vocational schools that offer an abundance of programs/skills to non-traditional students here too, There are a lot of young people that graduate from these schools with LPN licesnes, auto mechanic skills, culinary et al. 

 


 


Pages