Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's all about being a mom...

(As if I needed any more reminders…)

Two items in this morning's Toronto Star had my eyes rolling, if not my blood boiling.

First, coverage of the federal government's budget yesterday. There were profiles of various "ordinary Canadians" & how the budget would affect them, & charts showing different family scenarios & incomes and how the budget would affect each. There were single people, one & two-income families with children, single mothers with children, retired couples…

Not one mention anywhere of how two-income couples without children -- like dh & me -- would be affected. (There rarely is.) I didn't see anything in The Globe & Mail or the National Post, either. Never mind that we are a large & fast-growing segment of the population. Or that before any couple has kids, they are a couple first.

Of course, we rarely get any breaks. Why should we? Two incomes, no kids -- we must be rolling in money, right?? We don't need any help. Right?

Then I was reading Rosie DiManno's column. Rosie seems to delight in being provocative, & her writing style often drives me batty (especially when she tries to write about my favourite sport, figure skating -- her disdain for the sport is soooo evident in every word…) -- but today's column hit the spot, & I've boldfaced the part that raised my childless hackles. (It should probably be noted that Rosie is childfree herself... and also that I have absolutely no sympathy for drunk drivers, let alone repeat offenders.) She was observing people in a courtroom:
Into this scene of banal, almost languid foulness enters a woman jarringly at odds with her environment. Long blond hair professionally streaked – Forest Hill hair, as a class-conscious observer thinks of it – with a tight-fitted white jacket that looks suede, and designer jeans. Even fresh from lock-up she's retained an aura of posh and privilege, a lady who lunches, bizarrely exotic in these surroundings.

The Crown rattles off her charges, which include drunk driving and resisting arrest. The JP asks if she has a lawyer. Of course she has a lawyer, though unable to reach him yet. She gives his name – one of the most prominent and expensive and never-lost-a-case defence attorneys in Toronto. Clearly, she can afford him.

The young prosecutor points out that the woman is already on bail pending trial on another drunk driving charge.

The Crown will seek to have her bail revoked next day.

"You can't!" the woman interjects. "I have kids!"

As if this makes her special, different. As if all of her is special, different.

The JP inquires: Where are they now? Where were they overnight?

"With their father."

JP: "Do you understand that the Crown wants to keep you in jail until your trial on all these charges?"

The accused, indignant: "You're going to get me into a custody battle!"

An observer thinks: Maybe you don't deserve custody, lady. Maybe you're a lying, negligent, selfish bitch, the most unsavoury of all defendants who came through bail court today.

But with a Yorkville hairdresser and a Bay Street lawyer.

*** *** ***

And finally, the kicker: doing the crossword puzzle on the train home tonight.

What's a six-letter word that means "parents and children"?

F-A-M-I-L-Y, of course. :(

9 comments:

  1. I'm sorry. All of this has to be hard to swallow.
    And the crossword got the definition of family wrong because you and your DH are each other's family. And Katie is a part of that family too, even if she is not here in the physical world with you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Having spent the better part of the last 24 hours carefully analyzing the budget for work, I can tell you how we do.

    We get absolutely rogered.

    I'm not sure what pisses me off more. That my son died, or that I am paying for everyone else to have children.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happened upon your blog today - don't even remember how now! But thought I'd say "hi" and I'm sorry you were confronted with so much today.

    I deal with the same type of people at work - always leaving early and taking time off because of their kids. I treaten to take time off to tend to my dogs :) And the crossword, well, that would have been the kicker for me. Because its just plain wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That stinks. I read in the paper about a bill in Colorado where the state will force companies to allow PARENTS 40 unpaid hours off each year to attend school events (PTA, conferences, etc). I wrote a terse e-mail saying that I volunteered with an at-risk child - NOT MY OWN - and this bill would punish me, but not my co-worker who happens to have kids. Needless to say, they haven't responded and I hope the bill fails.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The world is full of injustice - and constant reminders of what one lacks. It's a true challenge to preserve your heart in the midst of such idiocy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Some people truly don't deserve to be parents. It makes it more challenging when you want a child of your own. I'm so sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hear one more person invoke their kids as a metaphorical "get out of jail free card" I'm going to haul off and land a left hook. It's not a defense aimed at walking away from other responsiblities...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I noticed the very same thing in the Toronto Star. It made me crazy too.

    We are so very invisible, aren't we?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I found you through "Glow in the Woods" and have been reading for the last hour. this post grabbed me, my dear wonderful husband and i (A family!)live in Hamilton ON.
    While watching the budget i said to said husband "Lets see whats NOT going to be done for us?"
    As a family with no living children, (3 miscarriages and a stillbirth) we are overlooked and helping to pay for every child in this prov. YET when Andrew was born we could not even get a birth certificate, use him as a tax deductions for one year. PISSES me off.
    Every friday night we go to the YWCA for a FAMILY swim, we are not considered a family, we are considered two adults, i oft wondered "could i bring my dead kids ashes" WOULD that make us a family.
    Just wanted to send a hug out nd let you know i get it!
    Ang

    ReplyDelete