Like most guys that get married, I had a bachelor party. The fellas rounded up two or three strippers and bottles of this and that. It was in sunny Jamaica, the same as the wedding.
Now, about these strippers. It was about what you would expect. A few ladies dancing around for money, shaking and quaking. I wasn’t really interested, because I didn’t want to be thinking about any other woman on the day before getting married. But alas, the booties were shaking and the guys were acting the fool. Suddenly, I was like oh s**t! One of the strippers took out a freakin’ inhaler! And, started using it! Using it while dancing! I didn’t know whether to laugh or start asking questions.
That was crazy. But, what really upset me is when they took a break. No, not because the show stopped, but the inhaler stripper stopped to call and talk to her three-year-old son. She was making sure he was OK at the babysitter’s. I felt so bad that here was this young woman, forced to make a living in the worst way. She had a three-year-old in Jamaica. And, hello! A health issue like asthma isn’t cheap. Say what you want, she was doing what she had to do.
This young Jamaican woman isn’t the only one doing what she had to do. You may remember the story back in 2014, where a young mother had to leave both her 2-year-old and 6-month-old baby in the car while she went in for a job interview. I am by no means saying that was OK, but I am saying that her mug shot was heartbreaking. You could see the streams of heartbreak tearing down her cheeks. She was devastated. Fortunately for her, a lot of people could see and feel her dilemma too. Donations poured in. She pleaded guilty, and was put on 18 years probation. The kids are safe and mom is safe too. How do you judge someone like that? Was she simply doing what she had to do?
A friend of our family who attends church regularly, told us about a young mother who brought her daughter to an all-day church event. It was understood that the kids would be left in the care of the church women for the day of activities. All they asked is that the mothers pack a small lunch. This particular young mother packed a candy bar and a can of soda. That is not healthy. At all. Not even a little bit.
The kid was two years old, if I recall. Everybody had something to say. It’s easy to judge, but maybe just maybe that’s all she had. Thank God, the ladies in the church stepped up. Was she doing all she could? Was she doing what she had to do?
There are also mothers who leave their young kids at the public library. The kids aren’t there for books. The mothers can’t afford a babysitter, and the kids are clearly too young to be there without supervision. Do you call the police and put these mothers in jail? What the hell would you do in her situation? Obviously, this is wrong and it definitely ain’t right. Are these mothers doing what they have to do? There is so much grey area.
I remember working at a very well-known TV network where the pay was crap. There was this one young lady, about 30 or so, who I worked with every so often. She was very pretty and a very nice person, but she always smelled like she needed deodorant. She was so nice, I didn’t really care.
After getting to know her better, I realized she had a one-year-old son. I thought to myself, I can barely take care of myself working in this place. How in the world can she support a one-year-old? You’re right, she could not afford deodorant. She was also alternating two outfits, that clearly were tinged with body odor, even after being washed. Despite it all. She still came to work, and worked every day despite the humiliation. She was doing what she had to do.
I understood, but I did have one issue however. It wasn’t with her, it was with me. It never dawned on me to help her. I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe I was too young and dumb, but still. Everybody is quick to judge, and slow to help. Few are willing to imagine what they would do if they were in that situation, and how much they would appreciate some help.
Doing what you gotta do is sometimes messy. It can get downright ugly. Again, I am not advocating breaking laws, or neglecting children. I hope that is obvious. What I am saying is, don’t be so quick to judge. Life has a lot of grey area. You can’t help everyone, but if you see a mother struggling, do what you can. She is doing what she can. It’s a matter of fact, she is doing what she gotta do.