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Young Mom Asks If She's Wrong For Not Bathing Her 3-Year-Old For A Month Because She's 'Exhausted 24/7'

Photo: NadyaEugene / Shutterstock
toddler crying

Being a young single mom is no easy job — it can be isolating, costly, exhausting and difficult to sacrifice for the well-being of your child.

In addition to limited time, single mothers in the U.S. are also subject to paying outrageous premium prices for childcare while they work. For single mothers working full-time nationwide, a great majority pay between 50-70% of their total incomes on childcare each year.

That's why, for single moms, having support for parents and, in some cases, grandparents, can be a gamechanger. It takes a village, as they say — but for one young mother on Reddit, a village may not be enough.

The young mother with her mom and grandmother, who provide childcare for her 3-year-old son, brother and sister.

In a now-deleted Reddit post, the mom explained her situation.

“I work five days out of the week, noon to 8, but I leave at 11 A.M., and usually get home between 8:15 and 8:30,” she wrote. 

Luckily, she lives with her mother and grandmother, who “don’t work and just stay at home all day with my son and also take care of my 15-year-old brother and sister.” 

Of course, as any stay-at-home parent can tell you, staying at home all day doesn't necessarily equate to not working — especially when caring for a toddler and two teenagers are involved. The young mom likely understands this on some level, as she mentions that though she has two days off a week, she often spends those days cleaning the house, doing her laundry, or taking care of her "rapidly declining mental health."

“Needless to say, I’m exhausted 24/7 and always taking care of something,” she wrote.

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The mom's post noted that despite all she claims to be going through, she does make time for her boyfriend. When spending time with her boyfriend, she often talks about her annoyance with her mother, to which he responds with jokes about her detached parenting.

“Even my boyfriend will say things like, ‘oh, you have a kid?’ every time I mention something about my son — even though he knows that I do," she wrote. "I know he’s being sarcastic..it hurts.”

After almost a month of caring for her toddler, her mom and grandma spoke up about her absence.

“My mom and grandma keep berating me for the fact that it’s been a month since his hair has been washed," she wrote, adding that it's only because she's "rarely home" and finds it difficult to even take care of herself. "Now, I don’t expect my grandma to do much with him other than sit with him to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself," she added, "but I’m frustrated that my mom doesn’t do much."

“I’m tired of the two of them ganging up on me,” the young mom said about the confrontation, "for not giving him a bath when I’m barely home."

In response, the mom claimed that she's mentioned moving out on her own with her toddler.

“Being here with them is driving me crazy and it’s a struggle trying to repair my mental well-being when they’re chiseling away at my hard work, but, the moment I mention wanting to leave they start crying,” she explained. “It feels like he’s only ‘my baby’ when it’s convenient for them and I don’t know what else to do. If I say anything about it I know they’ll throw the ‘well it’s your kid’ or ‘having a baby and not taking care of it…what a woman you are.’”

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Despite the undeniable difficulty of being a working single mom, her child must be her priority.

People in the comments seemed angered and confused, noting that the mom is making "excuses" for the shock that parenting is actually not a "walk in the park." 

“If she can’t take care of herself,” one comment writes, “she has absolutely no business having a child.”

Despite her pleas to get readers on her side, it seems many of the commenters believe she’s full of excuses and is far too inexperienced to have a toddler. Being a young mom can be a difficult place to navigate, but many comments point out her privilege in having support — that things are hard, but they could be "so much worse." As one person put it in the comments, “You are lucky your son is not in daycare right now — his lack of hygiene would have been noted and CPS probably would’ve been called on you.”

This may be the sentiment that her mother and grandmother are trying to get across when asking her not to leave the house with the baby, knowing that could put the child in the position of being neglected.

Ultimately, her child needs to be her number one priority. While her toddler is luckily in safe hands while she's at work, her mother and grandmother aren't the toddler's parents, and their responsibilities should largely cease once his mother returns home from work.

Children need enough care to be healthy and enough supervision to be safe. Child neglect is when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection, and support needed for a child’s health, safety, and well-being. There are several kinds of child neglect described by the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. There is no “smoking gun” for most child neglect. While even one instance of neglect can cause lifelong harm to a child, neglect often requires a pattern of behavior over a period of time. If you suspect a child you know is being neglected, contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline for more resources at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture discourse and human interest stories.