Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I am a mother myself.

Beggars and Choosers, Motherhood is Not a Class Privilege," is a photo exhibit about women-poor women-poor women who are mothers.

Poor women who are mothers: I am one of them.
I've been on cash assistance welfare. I am still on food stamps. I don't have a car and I don't have a job.

I made a very poor choice when I married the father of my children. His various addictions have caused terrible hurt and turmoil in my life. My kids love him and I hate what he's done to me.

But back to being a poor mother. I know that I am a good mother despite all these obstacles. I know that I am doing my very best to raise my children.

But I feel inferior inside of myself when I see mothers who have money and have cars and have supportive husbands. I feel so bad somedays I want to collapse inside myself and give my kids away; give them to someone who can take care of them better than I can. Or at least better than me and my husband-in-name-only can.

It's a miserable feeling and intellectually I know the truth. The truth is that I'm a great mother. I am educated and I am smart. I will leave this marriage and make a better life for myself and my kids.
The cycle of poverty and addiction is not mine forever, I will throw it off and live a better way.

However, are there lessons to be learned from low low end of the income scale? I believe there are powerful lessons and foremost among them is compassion.

True compassion for a person's struggles without judgement. How many times have I heard, "You should have thought about that when. . . " "Thats what you get for having kids you can't take care of. . . .?"

How superior the person making these statements must feel. How absolutely perfectly privilaged they must be. I have made these statements myself, before the bad marriage and all the agony that came along.

It hurts to be poor, it hurts to see your kids go without. It hurts, but somehow it also shapes a better human being.