One of the best things a woman can do for herself is to surround herself with other women. Conventional belief will dispute this assertion, but I think it’s a fundamental need for female survival, and always had been.
Just as important as it is for a woman must surround herself with other women, it is also equally important that she take the time at some point to evaluate the quality of those relationships at some point. Women (in positive, un-Springerish relationships) nurture each other, support each other, offer each other practical/impractical advice, and so on. On occasion, we’ll even watch each other’s kids. It is at this point that a woman must evaluate the quality of her female associations.
One of my dearest friends is Caroline, whom I’ve mentioned on this blog before. She’s recently had the misfortune of losing her job, as many people in this economy have. Fortunately for me, she made herself available to watch the children while I go to work at my new temp job. It’s a mutual benefit (I hope), because she earns an extra couple of bucks and I get to save an extra couple of thousand each month on daycare costs. Prior to Caroline’s misfortune, I had given consideration to having one of my old neighbors, Ms. Carla, watch the kids while I worked. I shudder to even think of the results.
Ms. Carla is in her heart, a very sweet woman. What comes out of that heart, however and unfortunately, are a wealth of hood rat antics and a dearth of refinement. She has always invited us to her bar-b-ques where she proudly informed us that the meat was supplied by a purveyor from the back of a pick-up truck; she’s offered me raw chitterlings, cleaned right there in her very own living room; and she’s even gone so far as to inform me that she could find a buyer for my old post c-section prescription pills if I needed one.
“I know a White guy who will pay you a hundred dollars for each of them Oxytocin you got, girl!”
She was terribly disappointed to discover that I had thrown them away when I didn’t need them anymore.
At one point she offered to watch the children for a nominal amount a week. At this time I only had 2 kids and was working full time at a hell hole called HireVelocity, where the days were long and my prayers for the building to burn down were even longer.
“I watch de babies for you,” she said in her raspy voice, the kind that had acquired a unique edge from years of drug abuse and chain smoking. “I only charge you $70 a week too. Ain’t tryin’ to break your bank.”
In keeping with my habit and history of saying ‘no’ to each of her previous offers, I politely declined. I would just have to keep shelling out $1500 a month in daycare costs. I did not need the extra head ache.
Three years later, I found myself with 2 more children and not enough money to make that sort of sacrifice. I gave serious thought to asking Ms. Carla to watch the kids. I thought about the environment they were going to be in.
She used to watch a little boy called David, whom at 6 months she would set in a car seat with a bottle, and have watching everything from One Life to Live to Full Metal Jacket…in one day. She has two boys of her own – one who just got out of prison for ‘allegedly’ robbing and beating the pizza man, and the other who was doing alright. He is the cart boy at Sam’s club. (Both are in the mid-late 20s.) Her granddaughter, who she watches because her mother is a crack whore and her aforementioned father lives at home when he is NOT in prison, routinely quotes memorable lines from the show Cheaters and at the tender at of 8 can make her butt cheeks clap hard enough to put any stripper anywhere to shame. Ms. Carla is also adept at employing the f-word as an adjective, noun, adverb and verb – all in one sentence.
“I told dat muthof- that I will f-ing f- him up if he keeps f-ing with me!” she emphatically told me one day. I think she was talking about her pastor.
Despite all this, the ‘opportunity’ to only have to spend $70 a week ($280 a mere month!), compared to the potential $1500+ cost in daycare seemed far too good to pass up. I picked up the phone to call her. Her number was disconnected (for non-payment, I assume).
Enter Caroline 2 months ago, saving my life, and more than likely those of my children. We both didn’t know it at the time, but we collaboratively saved 4 children from a future of crime, sexual promiscuity, drug abuse, professional failure, and a fortune in therapy, one week at a time.
Thank you, Auntie Caroline!