Quarantine Diary #3: Single Parents

First and foremost, as a single parent, I get very heated when it comes to the judgments made upon us, and I do tend to let me emotions get the best of me. I can admit that, but it does NOT change the fact of how hard we really do have it sometimes.

I came across a Facebook post today in a buy and sell group calling out parents who are taking their children to grocery stores during the pandemic. This post specifically stated a 14 year old and an 8 year old. Apparently the parent is in the wrong because the 14 year old is old enough to watch the 8 year old while the parent goes grocery shopping.

Let me quickly break that down before I run my mouth about the entire situation.

How do you know that 14 year old has the mental capacity to babysit? How do you know that those two children can be trusted alone together? How do you know that 8 year old doesn’t have severe behavioural issues and only the parent can keep them in line? What if the older child cannot be without supervision due to drugs or alcohol? How do YOU know anything about that parents situation in general?

How dare ANY of you judge another person and how they have to do things? It’s so easy for all of you to sit behind your screens with all these ideas on how others should be acting, yet what? You sit here running others to the ground. Sounds like you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

As a single mom with two kids and very limited options, I’d like to spit all over every single judgmental thread I see about kids in grocery stores.

Personally, I have to take my kids with me to the grocery store, and I do not have other options. I cannot use Instacart. Click and Collect is not an option for me. I do not have extra money to be paying delivery services or the cost of items at certain (higher priced) stores.

My limited income doesn’t allow for me to keep up with the new world during this pandemic. Sometimes, even before the pandemic, what we eat depends on what is on sale.

Comments are being made about posting in Facebook groups asking for help. Asking strangers to pick up groceries for you. There are even groups who the members will do it for free (just pay the cost of the groceries).

That’s all fine and dandy for some – but many people struggle with asking for help. For some people the anxiety of asking for help might be worse than the anxiety of just braving the grocery store themselves.

Then I see comments about how “everyone has someone”.. excuse me? What credentials do you have to make that bold of a statement? Not everyone has someone. Plenty of people out there are absolutely alone. (I have the credentials to make that statement. My last 3 jobs were in Home Health Care where the only person someone has is the PSW we just cancelled on them for the sixth night in a row due to lack of staff)

You don’t know!

You don’t know why I’m on a limited budget.

It’s because I cannot work, due to the special needs of my two daughters who are in and out of appointments, doctors, counselors, etc.

You don’t know why I can’t use Instacart.

It’s because I cancelled my regular bank account that costs money, and switched to a free online bank that’s doesn’t provide a visa debit card.

It’s because my “credit card” is reloaded by my bank account and is considered prepaid and Instacart does not accept that.

It’s because I have a MasterCard that I cannot afford more than the minimum payment right now, because it takes too long for the payment to post, and when I get money, I need it today, not next week.

You don’t know why Click and Collect doesn’t work for me.

It’s because I don’t drive, I use a bus. Click and Collect would be the exact same thing as me going on the bus to the grocery store to shop myself. We are still exposed.

The fact is that you don’t know shit all about any other person who is in that grocery store with you.

Do you honestly think us single parents WANT to risk our kids lives? Do you think we enjoy it?

I can tell you I sat here for 4 days last week, without a couple essential items, having horrific anxiety about the judgmental people in the aisles of my local No Frills (grocery store).

I see you staring at me and rolling your eyes. I hear the whispers about having my children with me. We all see it. We all hear it.

It’s high time all you judgmental Joanna’s grow up.

The pandemic isn’t the worst thing in the world right now – it’s the crappy people. The people saying crappy things because they are bored at home. Get a damn hobby that doesn’t make another human being want to crawl into a hole and die.

You do not know what your judgments are doing to another person. I have a pretty thick skin and I’m even having breakdowns about leaving my house.

My mother tells me to get the kids out for a walk, at the very least, to keep them from tearing each other apart. How am I supposed to do that when people slow down their cars to glare at me with my children?

In one of the scariest moments of some of our lives, we are too busy treating other people like crap to focus on what is really important. It is time for us to band together as a community. We are the world and we are destroying it, one way or another.

You are a human being, and so is that single parent you are judging. The one who steps out onto her front step with her kids to go grocery shopping and the sunlight hurts her eyes from being cooped up for multiple weeks. The one who is desperate to hear the voice of another adult who lingers around the tomatoes an extra second. The same one who has to be strong and brave for not just herself, but her kids too. These same ones who have no one to help them catch a 5 minute break to be able to collect herself after her kids meltdown for the 76th time about not being able to go to the park that they can see from their bedroom window.

Stop judging other people. We are all on different walks of life and you couldn’t possibly understand another humans situation just by looking at them with their kid in a grocery store.

Enough is enough.

Be kind to one another.

Published by S.M. Phoenix

I am a Canadian, single mom of two girls, who writes.

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