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Part-time Parenting

I watched the first season of 16 and Pregnant and I’ve watched the occasional episode of Teen Mom.  I didn’t pay much attention to the other girls, mainly being interested in Maci, Amber, Farrah, and Catelynn.  Maci struck me as the one with the best head on her shoulders; a young girl forced to become a women before her time who took to motherhood naturally and seems to be a wonderful mom to her son Bentley.  Catelynn and her boyfriend Tyler gave their daughter up for adoption, which is a heartbreaking decision but seemed to be the best for Carly since they appear unable to be stable parents.  Amber and her sometimes-boyfriend Gary could fill a whole other blog with all their unnecessary drama.  And then there’s Farrah, an aspiring model who has sole responsibility of her daughter due to the death of her father.  I feel reluctant to even type “sole responsibility” since being responsible seems to be the last thing on her mind when it comes to her child.

Farrah is in the news now because she has given up custody of her daughter, Sophia, to her mother in Iowa so that Farrah can go to school in Florida, 1600 miles away from her child.  Farrah stated that “Sophia is the No. 1 thing in my life.  I’m just trying to be the best parent that I can. I take care of my responsibilities. I’m happy that I took the chance to move. I would never regret it.”  Farrah’s mother Debra, who was arrested for domestic abuse and assault for allegedly choking and hitting Farrah, is now the primary caregiver for little Sophia with assistance from her husband.

I was a single parents for the first two years of my son’s life.  During that time, I was forced to rely on my parents for assistance, as my son’s biological father provided no financial support and was too violent to provide physical or emotional support; I cut ties with him when my son was 2 weeks old.  Similar to Farrah, I had issues with my mother; she has a violent streak, is emotionally unstable, and did various harmful things such as tell my young son to call HER mommy.  I secured a job that limited the time he had with her to one hour or less per day and moved out of that house as soon as I was able.  Even if my mother was wonderful, she’s no substitute for me, my son’s real mom.  My situation was anything but ideal, but I sacrificed sleep and jobs I truly wanted in order to ensure I was working while he was asleep (when younger) and I was working reasonable hours when he was in daycare so that he wouldn’t be away from me.  My social life took a big hit, but it had to be done in order to be a mother to my child.

What Farrah is doing angers me more than it probably should.  There are plenty of single parents out there who juggle school and work and still have ample time to spend with their child.  Unlike most, Farrah gets a paycheck from MTV for doing nothing more than letting cameras follow her around and film her doing what she’d be doing if the cameras were absent.  She gets paid to be on magazine covers and give interviews.  Easy money, something I wish I had because there are a lot of things I could do with it to benefit my family.  School is important, don’t get me wrong, but there are schools scattered all over the country plus many distance learning programs such as Penn Foster where I am enrolled, so I see no justifiable reason whatsoever for Farrah to go 1600 miles away to a school in Florida.  You can’t convince me that a school there is better than one near her child.  My best guess is that she feels as though she’s missed out on much of her youth and wants to enjoy the full experience of college.  Sadly, not everyone gets that opportunity.  Some can’t afford it, some can’t get into a school, and some have children they should be worrying more about than frat parties and the joys of on-campus life.

Being a parent is a full-time job.  There are many reasons a parent should give up custody of a child, whether it be temporary or permanent.  Drug or alcohol addiction, homelessness, mental instability, violence in the home, or any other situation where it would be unhealthy and unsafe for the child to remain at home with the parent or parents.  Farrah may be a bit flaky but there isn’t anything wrong with her that prevents her from being a mom to Sophia.  If she’s intelligent enough to handle school, she can handle being a parent.  It’s damaging to her child to be away from her mother at such a young age; she’s grown up with Farrah as her mom and now she’s reduced to just hearing her voice on the phone and seeing pictures as a woman who was arrested for attacking her daughter is raising her.  Is anyone thinking of how this affects the little girl?

If you’re irresponsible and get pregnant before you’re ready for it, like I was with my son, you need to prepare yourself and understand that your life is going to be different from here on out.  You can’t expect to be able to enjoy the freedom your kidless friends have and you shouldn’t attempt to live the lives they do.  Your personal freedom is put in the tiny hands of your offspring who will tend to be very stingy with it.  You’re on-call 24/7.  My husband and I are lucky enough to have his mother to rely on during emergencies and on nights we want to have a date or time with friends, but his mother is grandma and can not and SHOULD not be looked upon as a primary caregiver to our boy.  I could never see myself asking her to take him while I left for school for a year.  It would kill me to be away from my little one for that long, plus it’s not fair to my mother-in-law, who is done raising her children and deserves to be free of that responsibility.

I feel bad for Sophia because regardless of what future benefits this trip to school may provide, she is without her mother and father for now and that is damaging to any child.  It’s sad that kids have to go through this in situations when it’s totally preventable.  I hope it doesn’t confuse her too badly and I hope she’s well taken care of.  I also hope that Farrah quits being so damn selfish and stops pursuing things that serve to benefit her while her child is left alone.  Maybe the time away will make her realize how important the bond is between mother and daughter.  Loving your child is very important, but all the long distance love in the world doesn’t measure up to ten little minutes of holding your baby on your lap and reading a bedtime story before tucking her in at night.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on September 15, 2011, in Kids, School, TV/Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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