Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Mythical Welfare Queen August 24, 2012

I could’ve lied. I could’ve said I was in undergraduate school. I didn’t have to mention the house. I could’ve pulled all of the money from my bank account. I could have let them process my husband for child-support (though they would’ve taken that had I received any). I could’ve gone so far as to get a fake ID, fake social security card, and have someone cover for me when I list theirs as my address. But alas, I am infallibly honest. There goes my shot at being a welfare queen.

The system may seem too easy, but it is in fact not as simple to get help as you may think, and those who get help are not getting a lot of money. I have disagreed with the idea of government welfare all of my life. I do not like the system, its record of being abused, or the way that the people who use it feel compelled to succumb to the rules of remaining destitute.

People’s reliance on the government has cut down on the reliance of people in one’s own community and that makes it much harder to determine who really needs help and who is simply looking for a handout. Shouldn’t there be something on the applications which can determine whether or not you are an upstanding citizen who is really just going through a tough time and could use the assistance? No one I associate with would prefer to be on welfare or stay on welfare or condone living off of the government as a lifestyle.

I have done my duty as a citizen my entire life. I have given to the poor because I had extra at the time. I have completed community service simply because I enjoyed it. I have never complained about my position in society as being due to my ancestors’ enslavement, or blamed my hardships on “The Man”.  Upon beginning graduate school I reestablished and became the president of a student organization (which received the award for Most Outstanding Graduate Student Organization of the year), was nominated to be on the board of directors for a prestigious organization in the city, and have received an A in all of my courses thus far. Everything fell apart a little (okay, a lot) in May of this year, but I do not plan to stay in this indigent condition long. For the first time in my life I could actually use a bit of help and it’s nearly impossible to obtain.

One of the top reasons why women stay in abusive relationships is because the male partner is the breadwinner and/or they do not want to lose their financial stability. I admittedly overlooked several years of unacceptable treatment as I was determined not to enter the impoverished single-mother statistical category. I can put up with his mood swings if it means being able to stay home with my new baby, I convinced myself. I’ve been through this for eight years already, it’d be better to stay together while I finish grad school; at least while I’m in class the babies will not have to be cared for by a stranger. If I leave him I won’t be able to afford the Montessori or have the freedom to homeschool. I don’t want to be like those other single mothers.

I stayed with him to stay off of welfare. I stayed with him to maintain the illusion of a two-parent home. I stayed to keep from needing to weigh my options. How was I going to survive on my own? How do other mothers make it possible? I no longer think there’s such a thing as an authentic welfare queen; the system demands that you be insolvent before you qualify, and I don’t know too many people who would give up the little they’ve got to get a lot of flak. But how could anyone stoop so low as to deceive…no…it’s not so unbelievable. I suppose if someone got angry enough with the fraud being committed by others and desperately needed assistance she might think to go to extremes. But alas, I am unfailingly truthful. No crown for me.


6 Responses to “Mythical Welfare Queen”

  1. i think it’s really messed up how little support mothers get, financial and otherwise. mother work is work. it’s hard and it’s important. i commend you. and you are so right, the lack of options and support mothers face is often a reason for staying in abusive relationships. i wish you the best. and i’m glad you got out. ❤

  2. Chelsea Says:

    you are a survivor.
    repeat to yourself daily.
    you are a survivor.
    you. are. a. survivor.

    we’ve been on food stamps because it’s been just grace and i, but now that i live with my partner and am beginning the process of filing for child support, i went to renew my benefits with his income and we no longer qualify. this is absurd, because a family of 3 on one person’s meager income (i’m in grad school, not working, small stipend, lots of loans, and he works full time in HVAC and is seriously underpaid) could seriously use the help. he doesn’t make very much. we were shocked.

    and so we begin this school year trying to re-budget, because there are school lunches we have to make, and lunches for ourselves to take.

    and i’ve had many breakdowns, many times in which i’ve wondered if i shouldn’t go back to grace’s dad (we split around her first birthday), wondered if i shouldn’t give up this life….because at least it would be simple. we’d be okay, right?

    but we wouldn’t be okay. we will be okay now, because we have learned how to survive. we have realized what we value and what we are working towards. we will be strong because that is an important life skill. we are surviving. you are surviving.

    you probably saw my personal blog ( i school-blog on wordpress, which is where i’m commenting from. 🙂

    • Jet Says:

      Thank you. I do need to work on repeating positive affirmations. Maybe I’ll start writing on my mirror, a friend of mine does that.

      It’s difficult…I didn’t know that you’d been single parenting for so long. I’m happy for you and your new partner, although it’s going to be challenging no matter what. It doesn’t really make sense that you wouldn’t qualify for any assistance. I don’t understand the algorithm. Sigh.

      Thanks again for the positive energy. I need so much of that lately 🙂

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