We talk about things with people whom we consider friends all the time. We say things to adult friends that we can't say to our kids, bring up topics that kids should really have no part of, and I was in a conversation of this nature a couple weeks ago. The topic of the day: child support. We mentioned in this discussion that if the parent doesn't pay child support, the state can arrange to take that owed money from earned employment checks, income tax, ect. You get the drift.
And then I was gobsmacked because someone started talking about how that this wasn't right, that the parent paying child support might need that money. In fact they said, "They put the child over the parent? That's not right." Wait, what? Yes it is. Regular readers know that typically, I try to not be judgmental. I try to see both sides of an argument. That doesn't mean that I change my own opinion, but I do try to see where the other person is coming from.
I don't see the other side to this argument. I refuse, in fact, to recognize it at all. YES, THE CHILD COMES FIRST. End of story.
I am a wordy person, so I won't leave you there. I will explain my reasoning here. Firstly, I understand that children come unplanned. My daughter was unplanned. But, sex leads to kids. You can use precautions, I did, but they are not always 100%. Sex leads to kids. And the kids that come along, they didn't make you go have sex. They had nothing to do with that. But now you have a kid. So put on your big girl/boy pants, and deal with the kids when they come.
Let's get this straight - I am not against birth control or condoms. Use them; I am not saying don't. But understand that they do not always work. When they don't, well, now you have a little breathing, feeling, living responsibility to deal with. Don't like that ideal: don't have sex. Or get your tubes tied or a vasectomy. To my understanding, even these extreme methods can fail, but there you have it.
So now we are past that. Sex=babies. Got that covered. Now let's get to the next argument. I never married. I was in an abusive relationship; I did not know that the relationship that I was in would downgrade into the rotten state it ended in. So I am not gonna be one of those people screaming at you that all people must marry. I don't care who you sleep with, I don't care how many, I don't care what gender, I just don't care. Whatever your personal beliefs are, some relationships end, and they are meant to. This isn't a religious piece meant to shame you into marriage. And sometimes, the person left with the prime custody of the kid did everything they could, gave every chance that they could safely give, and still ended up as a single parent. This happens. I know this, because this happened to me. Whatever your beliefs are about whether parents should be married or not, the kid still needs to be taken care of. Hence child support, because while, yes, there is more to raising a child than money, there is still a financial aspect to raising kids.
If you do not feed your child, they call CPS. If you do not provide your child with clothing, they call CPS. If you do not get your child medical attention when they need it, they call CPS. All of these things cost money. Financial aspect. Kids=money vacuum.
There are good parents out there who have not remained together romantically, but co-parent, sharing equally the various responsibilities, financial and otherwise. The type of people who end up with court-ordered wage garnishments are not usually (sometimes, but not usually) in that category. Sorry, but they aren't. Kids need love, they need time, they need guidance, and the type of people that we call dead-beat parents, they don't generally help provide these things on a regular basis. Cards at Christmas and birthdays do not count if they are the only contact, just to clear that up. Kids need a lot of things, but you can't court order love. You can court order money. Child support is sometimes the only thing that a child will get from one of their parents. Isn't that the saddest thing ever? I think so, but back to the issue.
There is not a single reason in the world that an able-bodied, healthy person can not find SOME KIND of a job to pay that child support and support themselves. If they have to work two jobs flipping burgers, then that is what they need to do. They aren't having to worry about day care, are they? They don't have the restricted hours that a single parent finds themselves saddled with because they need to be home some part of the day for little Suzie or little Johnny. The problem is that a lot of these dead-beat parents don't want to work; they bitterly complain about the 'free' money that the other parent is getting, not realizing that child support barely covers a fraction of the expenses that raising a child accrues. Unless the parent paying child support is rolling in the dough, and honestly, in America, how many of us are finding ourselves in that position? The wealthy make up what, like 3% of our citizens? I think I read that somewhere, but even if that is off, it's not off by much. And even if you are, if you have kids, you need to pay for them. Especially if you are not doing a single other thing to help them.
I know that this is a bit of a bitchy rant, but you are never gonna get me to see that kids don't come first. They do. They just do. Kids come first. Get over it.