Oct 1, 2008

Children of the Library

I guess it turns out I have more to blog about than I originally thought!

Anyway, I can't quit thinking about a situation a worker at our local library shared with me a week or so ago. I keep trying to think of a solution. Is there even a solution? I had no idea people did this. Am I too isolated working at home? The only solution I can think of is moms helping other moms, and as a result their children.

Here it is in all of its ugliness.....Did you know that some parents leave their children at the library ALL DAY long in the summer day after day after day, for specific, obvious working hours? She shared that it isn't against the law to drop off well-behaved children to "spend time at the library." They, as workers, notice the patterns. They try their best to look after these children. The parents are even supplying them with a lunch to eat while there. Our library has a kiddie play room/activity area, even computers for them to use, etc. The scariest part is that she shared they also notice the elderly men sitting on benches in the kiddie room watching the children for extended periods of time. Sure, some elderly people simply enjoy watching youngsters, as it makes them feel young, as put to me by my neighbor who shares how much she enjoys watching my children play, but the alternative is a really scary thought and a complete possibility.

My first instinct was to berate these parents within my own head as I rolled my eyes at her in disbelief and disgust as she spoke to me, but the more I keep thinking about it, the reality of today is probably more likely the problem for the majority of these families. The majority of today's parents MUST work full-time jobs to make ends meet. Daycare is outrageously expensive, and really prohibitively so for many families. Single parents may be faced with the dilemma of "Lose your job if you call in sick one more time.", and consequently their insurance, even if it is through no fault of their own, i.e. because their child is sick or their daycare provider backed out on them at the last minute.

I try to envision how that completely frazzled mother must feel about the choice she just made. Was it the right decision? Child at risk over becoming homeless? I don't personally think so, but it certainly is a desperate choice to make in my opinion, and I find my heart aching for the women who feel they have to make the other choice. I'll never understand that, but it is not my place to judge another mother. (Also, I'm not "feeling" for those nonparenting parents that we all know exist).

It makes me that much more appreciative that I am able to work from home. When something unexpected pops up here, I can tend to it and just pull an all-nighter to accomplish the work. The only negative is that I am not up to par the next day. I don't have to explain to anyone what is happening here. I do, however, remember the days of having to call in for reasons other than myself being ill and experiencing that guilty feeling I should not be feeling.

What are your thoughts? Can you think of a solution for these people that I may be able to share with my local library? Maybe they can make gentle referrals to these parents out of the welfare of the kids?

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