Is It OK for Children to Outsource?

A friend of mine posed a question on social media “Do you allow your child to call adults for a ride, to spend the night, etc?”- there were countless outright NO’s, period. My response was that although my children don’t do this very often, I must have the final say and I am not against a child outsourcing help from a responsible trustworthy adult. As a child, I recall family members offering to take me here and there, do this and that or just call when I needed them (especially following the passing of my father). But when a time came that I wanted to attend a concert, I told my mother that I planned to call an older cousin who made an offer for such, and her response was not to bother anyone. As time moved on, I began to believe that asking for a ride or to visit a cousin was unfavorable. But in fact, later in life I see that it distanced me from family and friends and made me feel as though I had to depend on my single mother for everything or I’d do without so not to bug an adult. As a result I believed that everything should fall on me when I too became a parent. I wonder if this is a cultural issue? Many white suburban moms have play dates/kid swap, carpool and the children don’t hesitate to ask can they catch a ride to the party with such and such’s parents, have dinner over a friend’s or go away for the weekend with their aunts and uncles. As I began to notice that African American moms (urban and suburban) seem to feel they have something to prove, like we’re super moms, or in the back of our heads believe we can’t trust ANYONE with our precious child (remember in the beginning I mentioned responsible trustworthy adults), but it leaves us worn out, spread thin and stressed- which leads to health issues such as hypertension and migraines. This was also my truth as well as African American women from urban to suburban as well as low to high income. I have great friends who would offer to take a little off of my plate and I’d refuse. By me working every weekend, my children suffered or missed out on events because of my need to do everything. That changed one when day my daughter called her godmother for money- for shoes, I think. I was embarrassed, I’m her provider, this makes us look “poor” and I didn’t want my friend to feel uncomfortable about the call “begging” for money. My thought was changed when her godmother explained to me- “I am her godmother she can call and ask for things or favors; if I can give or do it, I will…if not I’ll say no”. Guess what? That made total sense! I was also upset that my daughter bypassed me and went straight to her godmother, I’d like to have the final say (although I’d never approve of her asking for money), but that situation brought me to realize that it’s ok for us and our children to outsource for a little helping hand, it takes a village to raise a child and to keep a sister’s head on straight! Go on and ask for help, it’s ok for your sister, friend or auntie to be a little inconvenienced if you’re really in need- that’s what true friends and real family are for! Offer help- you never know when your friend really needs support but is ashamed to ask! Be well…Be balanced!

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