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Jewish Journal

Compassion for Octomom

by Ilana Angel

May 2, 2012 | 9:08 am

Nadia Sulemon

This morning I walked around my son’s room repeating, “I love this boy”, over and over again.  I said it when I picked up the wet towel off the floor, when I shut the dripping faucet, when I found socks under the bed, and when I took dishes from his desk to the kitchen.  I had to remind myself I love him while I dealt with the fact that he is a slob.  By slob, of course I mean a 16 year old boy who while brilliant, does not understand how a hamper works.

I love my kid and am blessed he is so great.  He truly gives me no trouble and when I think about all the things he could be doing, I thank God he is so levelheaded and wise.  He is a good kid and I am a good mother.  By good, of course I mean fabulous.  I was born to be a mother.  My heart is wrapped around this boy and being his mother is the greatest joy I have ever known. That said, I am exhausted, and there are days when I pray for a break.

As my son gets older I find the amount of time I spend worrying increases. He is driving, which is stressful.  He is of the age where drugs, alcohol and sex will come into play, and that is enough to put me over the edge.  The thought of my son drinking, makes me want to drink.  If he ever did drugs, I might need a joint to get through it.  As for sex, Dear Lord! Not my baby! The older he gets the longer my list of things to worry about becomes.

I have one child.  I am a single mom, but still, he is just one child.  My mother had 4 children by the time she was 25, which is incredible to me.  I am sitting on my couch, having a cup of tea, and I could cry because I am so tired.  Tired of waking up early to drive my son to school, tired of yelling at him about homework, tired of doing laundry, tired of feeling guilty about how tired I am.  I need a holiday, but am too tired to think about it.

I sometimes get resentful of my ex-husband because I am the one putting in the time and work with our child.  He sees him every other weekend and it’s fun, but I am the one living a life around this boy.  I would not change it of course because I treasure every minute he is with me, and miss him every minute he is gone, but I am doing the work and there is no back up.  If I am sick, or need a break, too bad.  It’s all me, all the time.

As I sit here and try to assign a number between one and ten to my fatigue, I am watching the news and hearing that Octomom, Nadia Sulemon, is filing for bankruptcy.  They are talking about how last week she got a $500 Brazilian Blow Our hair treatment, while on welfare, and now she is bankrupt.  I should think she is a moron, and frankly I do, but more than that I feel sorry for her.  I cannot wrap my head around how tired she must be.

If I am feeling sorry for myself doing it alone with one child, so how must she feel?  She made some bad decisions, and I think she has not handled her situation well, but at the end of the day she is a mother, has fourteen kids, and my heart goes out to her.  I do not understand how this woman manages to get up every morning and put on a happy face for her children.  Her life seems sad, difficult, complicated, and unhappy.

I am car shopping with my son, and thinking ahead to college applications, and while it will be tight financially, I will do it.  With fourteen kids, how will she pay for everything?  She is not good with money so even is she came into a large amount, chances are it would not last long.  I feel like going over to her house to watch the kids just so she can sleep.  How lovely would it be for her to just be able to sleep for a few hours?

Being a mother is hard.  Raising children without a partner is hard.  I am counting my blessing today that I am able to provide the life I do for my child, and thinking a lot about Nadia Sulemon.  I want her to know that while I cannot relate to what her daily life must be like, I feel compassion for her as a mother, and I wish her well.  I want her and her kids to be okay, and I will keep her and her children in my prayers.

It is easy to make fun of this woman.  Many make a mockery out of her and I understand how easy that is.  I would suggest however, that we view her as a mother first.  However she got to the place she is in, there is no turning back, and so she is just a mom.  A mom who is tired, alone, sad, and probably desperate for some relief. From that perspective, I have walked in her shoes and I understand. We are mothers.

I got up off my couch, cleaned my son’s room, did a load of laundry, counted my blessings, and am now going to head into work.  It’s raining in Los Angeles so I will have to deal with bad drivers and a Jew fro, but that is okay.  My life is blessed, my child is perfect, and I have done a remarkable job raising him on my own.  I am tired, but would not change a thing, except maybe my son’s understanding of what a hamper is for.

To Nadia, I want you to know that I get it.  Your bankruptcy, possible porn career, and blown out hair are of no real interest to me.  Your well-being, and the well-being of your children are.  You are in my prayers and I hope you are able to rest.  Not just your body, but your mind and your heart.  You have beautiful children.  Be strong, be careful, be proud, and remember that it’s always a little easier if you are keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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