Rather than go to court to force parents to get treatment or counseling, the state often relied on “safety plans” — written promises by parents to sin no more. Many of the pledges carried no meaningful oversight. Children died — more than 80 of them — after their parents signed one or, in some cases, multiple safety plans. Parents were given repeated chances to shape up, and failed and failed and failed again, and still kept their children.
Your pitch shouldn’t contain any words that diminish your work. Don’t say you run a “small” salon, or that you’re an “aspiring” singer. Don’t say you’re “just” a mom, or demur when someone tries to express enthusiasm about your work. What’s more, don’t highlight a job you took to pay the bills, and describe your real interest as a hobby. If you say, “I’m a bartender. Sometimes I take photos of all the crazy people at the bar,” then people will ask if you’re available to tend bar at their next party. If you say, “I’m a photographer, I like night-life subjects,” then someone may ask to see your work. Highlight the type of work you’d like to attract, not what you do to make rent.
When I imagine being confronted with racism or sexism or homophobia etc, I think that I would always stand up to it, that I would always do the right thing, no question. In reality, we are often in situations with a great deal of social pressure. We are taken off guard. We want to be liked. We don’t want to make other people uncomfortable.
There are parenting strategies available to deal with those struggles, certainly — but when, and why, did our evenings at home become so dedicated to that particular interaction? I’m perpetually dismayed by how much of our evenings is consumed by schoolwork, and at the end of a particularly fraught night — for example, one when my two second graders each have a report on a South American animal due, and are fighting not just over the homework, but also over their share of my coveted attention and my unique ability to download and print images — I find myself wondering how our family life would be different without the flash point that homework so often becomes.
So, White women raising black children, whose hair may not look all shiny and fluffy all the time. I get it. I feel you. I cannot express how aggravating and annoying and shameful it is to feel like you are neglecting some key part of your daughter’s upbringing by letting them out of the house with disheveled hair. I will never look at that brown child with the white mom and make assumptions again. It’s hard being a monoracial mom of a multiracial child when it comes to hair. There’s a serious learning curve if you’re White or Black. There are new products to try, new techniques to learn and if you’re like me, you have to train yourself to care about styling hair in the first place.
“Your recovery does not look like you doing all the crafty things that moms say they do on Pinterest or Facebook. Don’t waste your time trying to keep up with other moms, many of whom aren’t doing all of that stuff anyway. You do not have to have the world’s best first birthday party for your baby. You do not have to have a perfectly clean home where you make sure everyone is perfectly fulfilled and perfectly dressed and perfectly fed. Your baby does not need to be reading by age one. Or speaking multiple languages. Your baby just needs you and not all that other stuff. And if and when you are able to take breaks — BREAKS ARE IMPORTANT! — your baby is absolutely fine being with another caregiver who loves him or her, or takes good quality care of him or her. Very fine.”