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September 22, 2006

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Edisson

Where did you find this guestbook by the way??? I'd like to have one like this on one of my sites!!!

Helga

I think what you are doing is great!!! I want to use your color scheme at my sites...

Sunshine Scribe

Verbal abuse like the kind Troll baby witnessed in that subsidized housing project happens in all socio-economic groups. Not just in neighbourhoods or families grappling with poverty.

But the mother she talked about in her post having to lie to keep her full cheque is just one of many examples of how the government's programs are failing mothers. Especially single mothers. One of the reasons alot of women don't leave an abusive marriage is because of programs like these that will result in her living below the poverty line and needing to lie to the government to keep her kids safe. There are often petitions and protests speaking out against the issues. And there are many worthy non[-profits working in communities to help. But there is not enough funding or people willing to roll up their sleeves to make the real impact that is needed.

Awareness is a big issue -good for Troll Baby for tackling that piece.

Even look at our government's new $100 child care allowance. I am happy for it - pays for my son's swimming lessons but that money would have been put to much better use by a mother with 5 children living a life with more barriers than mine. So I have started donating mine. If the government can't put it where it needs to be then I will.

Sandra

Another aspect of privilege is when the kids are old enough for homework. Think about trying to help your kids with their homework when both parents are working, sometimes shiftwork, and english is their second language. Talk about falling even further behind.

Kim

A placed called hell, can be located in many different societal settings. For every Mom and/or Dad cursing out their kids in a financially underprivileged neighborhood hood there is another parent doing the same in a superficially luxurious setting.

Someone told me that being a parent is the toughest job you will ever love. I could not agree more. With my first born, who is 11 years old in less than a month (yikes), I was exhausted. I felt like I could not keep up. However with the 3 wonders that followed him, having a newborn was not a breeze but certainly more manageable and I appreciated the precious experience for what it is. With baby #2, #3 & #4 I felt more comfortable with my skills and that helped so much, especially with older siblings with their own wants and needs.

How we can help is offering our time and support to those who are around us with children. We all have ups and downs and many people won't ask for help but will certainly take it once offered.

Kath

Catherine, I actually LOVED and thrived on the first year of motherhood, but then again, I had the full-time support of my own mother for the first 3 weeks and then a wonderfully supportive husband and all the other benefits that come with being a middle-class, educated, former professional with a home, computer, etc. etc. Now that my kids are in school and pre-school I find myself struggling a lot more!

But I think about the poor disadvantaged children almost every day, because I work with many during the school year. I teach remedial elementary language arts & math one evening & one Saturday am per wk for the Calgary Board of Ed. Last year one of my students said the following to me:

"Mrs. M, did you have breakfast today?"
"Yes I did. Did you?"
"No, I like cereal but we don't have any breakfast after Wednesdays, because there's no more money. I can't have any friends because I go to a new school each month and now we have to move to Lethbridge with my mom's boyfriend becaue my Dad keeps following us and he comes to our house and scares us every time we move."

!!! What is there to say? And this is a boy whose Mom is involved enough to pay $150 for him to attend remedial classes on a Saturday morning. There are certainly kids in much worse situations.

But what to do? I get some small comfort from knowing that I can give them a safe environment for a few hours a week, where they can improve on the basic skills so necessary for success in our world. Perhaps I can help to foster a love of school and learning that will help motivate them to stay in school longer. At the very least, I can give them a granola bar from my "box of goodies" when they're hungry. Then I can weep for them as I drive home to my own privileged kids.

haley-o

When I was pregnant, and going through "partum depression," my friend at work--the cleaning woman--gave birth after working with cleaning solvents, and everything I was terrified of. She came back to work about a month later. I asked her how everything was. She said the baby was great, but she shook her head and complained about cockroaches in her new apartment, the bug sprays, etc. And, here I was worrying about smelling a little windex or eating a green jujube....

When the monkey was born, I was miraculously calm and relaxed, and relieved and happy--amazing the power of hormones.

But what do we do about the less advantaged? We listen, even if it's not what we want to hear or imagine. And, yes, we raise awareness, just like Troll Baby and, now, you are. We have to talk about it. We have somehow to do something, too. I don't know what, though. It's very very sad....

Jen

Wow Catherine. I too was overwhelmed in the beginning...for years actually. I find as my children get older and more independent the challenges are different but I am not nearly as overwhelmed by motherhood. In fact, I kinda miss being "touched out" and needed so badly. Not that I would go back...NO WAY...but I wish I had been able to see the forest for the trees a bit.

As for Karen's post at Troll Baby, I am so sad. How does this cycle end? How does an uneducated young mom in poverty raised by an uneducated young mom in poverty change things for her child? I went to Teacher's College years ago and one of my teaching assignments was in an area surrounded by low income housing. Many of the children came to school tired and hungry never having seen a book or having sung their ABCs.

Then, fast forward to my son's kindergarten class a few years ago where most of the kids could write their names, were read to every night, and were stimulated through play and activities almost to a fault. No wonder the gap exists and continues to widen. You live what you learn.

These issues need to be addressed long before a child ends up in the school system. By kindergarten it is already virtually impossible to turn things around. There need to be programs in place for these mothers before they even give birth and then throughout the early years...mentoring of sorts. A support system from mom to mom, parent to parent.

I am no expert in this area but this seems to make the most sense. All parents want to raise happy and successful children but some of us have been lucky enough to be raised with privilege and opportunity. As a society we need to pass this on and give all children a chance.

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