SAH V. WOH: Single Teen Parent Edition
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|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.