I’m not a Grapefruit, I’m a Mother…

Lemons are bitter. I am not bitter, I am a Mother. Grapefruits are also bitter, again I am not a freakin grapefruit! I am a mother!
So, shut up already and quit telling me what I am. Let me feed you the facts that you ignore, so you can label me as “just another bitter woman.”

Only 45% of parents in America receive child support as ordered by the courts. That means that 55% of us, primarily women, but fathers too, are getting zip, nada, nothing. And while you label us as “bitter”: stressed, stretched and struggling are much better adjectives for you to apply.

You see, the average amount of child support that 55% of us are not getting is $329 a month. This is supposed to cover everything a child requires from shelter, food, clothing, school supplies, extracurricular activities, medical care and incidentals.

Now get this: the average amount of government assistance for a foster child in America averages in the $500+ range a month, PER CHILD. It does vary greatly from state to state, but this money comes in regularly. It is also stated on www.wehavekids.com

“You are getting payments to help cover costs for the child. These payments do NOT cover all costs. You will NOT make a profit. (Unless you are neglecting the child) You WILL pay more than you are given! There is nothing wrong with needing a little help with the costs of being a foster parent.”


Hmmm…. But when I raise hell because I am not receiving court ordered child support from the other actual parent of a child I am a “bitter and vengeful woman.” When I point out that the government employee’s who work for so-called child support enforcement are less than helpful to downright abusive to parents I am told I am a trouble maker. Maybe I should have put my kids in foster care? Hmmmm… in my home state of Florida I would be receiving $986 a month plus medical care. Every month! And it appears that instead of being shamed I would be celebrated for taking care of them. What a deal! OH and in many states, it is a requirement that there be a stay at home parent for any child under 5 years of age… No accusations here,  simply the facts– that young children do better with a stay at home parent… And for financial reasons the stay at home parent is typically the MOM.

Why is it that a mother receiving child support is accused of spending the money on herself when foster parents potentially receiving twice the amount are not? How is it that foster parents are receiving up to $880 per child (in Washington DC) are not “living off child support, refusing to work, getting mani’s and pedi’s!” But the single mom who may receive $329 or less is able to “live” off of this ridiculous amount and has money to pamper herself at a spa? And with the majority of parents receiving NOTHING, where are these parents living high off the hog on child support? They must be out there dancing with the unicorns, you know, like my child support payments…

Please let me break here to THANK ALL FOSTER PARENTS– I am not trying to upset or insult anyone (except deadbeat parents!) I simply used the foster care system and it’s payments to point out a HUGE disparity in our system– Foster parents deserve every penny they get– as do single parents. 

I want to hear from readers on this topic. The shame of unsupported children does not lie with the parent busting butt to provide. It lies with the other parent who refuses to provide. Shaming of single parents must stop. The only person it hurts is the children involved…

The children…

I read a blog this morning with a survey of 1000 parents: 40% are spending over $1000 annually on extracurricular activities. 20% admit that these activities are costing over $2500 a year.
42% admit to cutting out eating out to pay for this, another 29% sacrifice the family vacation and another 23% put off buying a vehicle.

Most of the parents surveyed stated that it’s worth it to sacrifice as the kids are building character, making friends, staying physically active and engaged in healthy activities they love.

But 21 to 25% of these same parents are not only sacrificing to be able to afford this, but also admit to putting off saving for retirement and other savings plans…

Now what about the single parents who are or not receiving the pittance in child support. What are they sacrificing?

Often, it’s the activity for the child as there are simply no extra funds to pay for it. So, these kids do without character building, physically active engaging healthy activities. Yes, the shame for that lies with the parent who refuses to support that child. Not the struggling parent who was all alone when he or she informed that child that they could not play Fall Ball, or that the competition team at gymnastics was simply out of the question this year.

If you have never had to tell a child that they will not be playing baseball, in the band or going to gymnastics anymore and held that child while they cried at another unfair situation not of their own doing then don’t you dare call me “bitter.” I am not bitter, I am furious. And heartbroken right along with this precious child. I am plotting, extra hours, credit cards, is there ANYWAY I can not hurt this child again like this…

But it’s not me hurting the child. Its you.

Why don’t you quit the name calling and pay your child support? Why don’t you make sure your FLESH and BLOOD is at least as well taken care of as a foster child?

Why don’t you show up and see the vault with the perfectly stuck landing at State? Or the grand slam at the city championships?

The joy in these moments would outshine any bitterness in YOUR heart, and the angst in mine.

Sources of stats/articles quoted in this piece:




Alana is a nurse with 26 years of experience in caregiving. She is also a copywriter, copyeditor and creative writer who believes our words should always inspire, encourage and delight. Visit her online at Alanakhaase.com

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