Apparently my mom's friends see me as some sort of asset she has, rather than an independent person. "Don't have much money? Why, you've got a perfectly good daughter, why not put HER to work? Why she could do [insert shitty job the person suggesting it would never do in a million years] and then you'd have no problems anymore!"
Why not? Here's why:
-Because my mom does not dictate what I do. I don't mean that in a rebellious "you can't make me" way. I mean it in the sense that she would never do that.
-Because I am an independent person, not some sort of money-making factory. I realize that some centuries ago parents viewed their children as simply good little workers to bring in cash, but that is not true anymore, at least not for families where the parents are not autocratic tyrants.
-Because if I had a job it wouldn't be fair for me to just turn all the money over to my mom and get nothing for myself, when I was the one doing the work. That is what would have to happen in order for my getting a job to prevent my mom from being poor. And you know what? When I was busting my ass working full-time at a job I hated, I *did* give my mom most of the money I made, and WE WERE STILL POOR. The idea that "get a job" is an instant solution to poverty is absurd. Most poor people have jobs. Many have more than one.
-Because if I spend all my time pulling weeds or working at McDonald's or whatever the person is suggesting I do, then I won't have time to learn skills that will eventually get me a *better* job where I will earn more than $7 an hour. I will be stuck working at those kinds of jobs forever.
-Because the reason we don't have enough money has nothing to do with me. Until recently my mom spent 1/4 of her income on cigarettes. She's quitting now, and once she does she won't HAVE to ask her Sunday school class for extra food. But it was never my fault that she did.
-Because my mom DOES NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING FOR ME. Not because she wouldn't, but because she can't and I don't ask her to. I don't cost her any money. People see me as some sort of horrible leech who is living off of her. Yes she buys the food we both eat, but my God, since when is it a crime for a mother to provide food for her own kid? I also drive her to the store to get that food or sometimes go by myself, I help her pick out the food that will fit into her budget, I usually put away the food when we get it home, I help plan meals, I often cook those meals, and I help keep up the house. I think I have earned my right to eat.
-Because I freely choose to live with my mom for the benefit of BOTH of us. I don't do it for me so I will have an easier life. I'd have an "easier" life if I moved away somewhere with roommates, into a city with more jobs, and only had to think of myself. But my mom would be all alone. I guess she'd have a little more money if I wasn't here (the electric bill might drop a smidge), but I don't see how her life would be better.
-Because if I had a parent with a lot of money nobody would EVER expect that of me, to be the breadwinner at my age. I'd be able to fart around in college for six years and go directly into a high-paying job - not that this is what I want to do, but that IS what the people making unsolicited suggestions all did. They are NOT self-made people, they either married into money or got it from their parents. They have no idea what it is like to try and claw your way up from the bottom. I'm going a different route, one that is MORE likely to pull me out of poverty than just giving up and working at McDonalds. It might mean less money right this second, but unschooling WILL lead me to a real career. I have yet to see an unschooler who wasn't able to get a real career, but the whole reason unschoolers are so free to find their niche in the world is that they're not forced out into the workforce against their will and expected to fend for themselves, like so many conventionally-parented kids are.
I did not ask to be poor. I did not choose be born to a mother with disabilities. I love my mom and I wouldn't trade her for anyone, but she chose to have me, not the other way around. Why should I be seen differently than a young adult who comes from a more privileged background? Why should my life already be planned for me by circumstances when others are free to choose? And why in God's name should it be anybody's business what I do with my life?!