Something happened last night. I was out in BK having dinner with a friend when I realized it was Thursday and there was an NFL game on. I hit one of my boys who lives in the area and he told me I could come watch the joint at his crib. I picked up a six pack (Blue Point Hoptical Allusion is a great brew btw) and headed over. We watched the game and talked mad sports (mostly college football but more on that later). Around 1am my boy politely kicked me out lol. Understandable, he had to go to work in the morn, I didn't since I'm still looking for a full time job. Two degrees, one certification and no full time job (as these loan payments creep up I'm a lil salty lol).
Anyway, the night was over and it was time for me to go home. After waiting for the train for a while (40 mins) I realized it wasn't coming and decided to hit plan b: different train and the SI Ferry. When I boarded the 4 train to Bowling Green I counted 14 ppl on it, at least the 1st half of the train. It was late, I was a lil tipsy, that's why I was counting. Also why my count may have been off.
Anyway, as I got on I saw a mom with her 3 kiddies (9, 7 and 4) all passed out sleep sitting across from me. It was close to 2am. My initial thought was why are this kids on the train this late to begin with? Very poor parenting #smh.
The newly licensed social worker (#Oww #LMSW) in me thought I may need to report this being a mandated reported and all.
*Warning: don't talk about mistreating (especially hitting) your kids in front of me because I'll have to report you. Sorry*
But, there is also a "social worker who is trained to look for strengths in every situation" inside me as well so I thought about it more.
As I did I realized that maybe she isn't a bad parent after all. Maybe she is a single mom who had to work late at the second job she doesn't really like that much because of the late hours but it gives her the extra money to buy some things to help her children feel good (they were all dressed well and wearing Jordans). Waste of money some may say but I thought those "extra expenses" could help prevent them from being teased and/or bullied and help them maintain good self esteem and confidence helping them perform well academically. Proactive, thoughtful parenting.
But what about the late night train ride from Brooklyn? What if she has family in Brooklyn and used their address to get her kids into a better school than the one in the Bronx where she lives. Yea, she probably lives in the Bronx because it has the lowest rents in the city and being a single mom and all it's all she could afford. And the 4 train goes to the Bronx, either that or East Harlem.
Given those circumstances I think she's doing well, better than she supposed to be doing. Obviously, it's a lot of "what ifs" but hey maybe it's true. I don't feel like I was that far off though. The good thing is that I was able to look at it from a different, uncommon, lens. That's my job as a social worker, to look at folks who may not be in the "best situation" and find their strengths and help build on those to help them get to a "better situation." That's what makes me happy with my profession.
All in all I thought to myself "Single moms make it happen and for that they're awesome. I also thought: "If I keep thinking like this I'm gonna be a pretty decent social worker." #Oww