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It’s hard to find a job these days. As a single father, I can attest to this. I was let go from my last full time position due to cutbacks some months ago. After all that I had been through within the legal systems of both New York and Virginia to regain custody of my daughter from her grandparents after her mother died, the last thing that I needed was little-to-no income to feed my daughter and put her in daycare. As much as my daughter needed to be socialized, she stayed home with me. I’d look for work and continue to write and do whatever else I could for her until something else came along.

In October 2013, I had an interview. Great. I called just about everyone I could think of to see if they could watch Cydney for a couple of hours while I took the Long Island Railroad into the city, nail the interview, and then came home knowing I would be back on my feet professionally. I called a friend at the last minute who mostly worked from home and asked if they could watch Cydney; they said “sure.” At 10:30 p.m., the night before my interview, things changed and the person couldn’t watch my daughter. I was out of options so I took my daughter with me.

I walked into the firm and told them that I apologized for having to bring her with me and explained that at the last minute my sitter canceled. It may have looked incredibly unprofessional but I did what I had to do. They said it wasn’t a problem and I brought Cydney into the office with me. I pulled out her markers and a coloring book so that she could do “homework” while I discussed my qualifications and would convince this HR person that I was the best person for the job. Cydney colored mostly in her book and got some on the table. The lady who interviewed me said she had a daughter around the same age, so she understood, and said, “Thank God for washable markers.”

I didn’t get the job, and it was back to the drawing board for my job search. While I wasn’t too discouraged because I know that this is how things play out sometimes, a little part of me wondered: “What if I didn’t bring my child into that interview?” I had another interview a couple of months later in which a similar circumstance happened and I had to send an email explaining that I may need to bring my daughter with me. I didn’t get that one either.

I’ve spoken to other single parents who’ve been in similar situations. Not only is it hard to find work, but there is also a stigma that comes along with being a single parent. Jobs want to know if one can work long hours, some weekends, and maybe even a holiday or two if they come up. No matter how much you say “Yes, I can,” some will look at you and smile all the while thinking, this person is the sole person taking care of their child so we’re gonna pass. I’ve seen the expressions on many faces change once I explain that I am a single father, but I feel I have to bring it up because telling stories about being a single dad is what made me a writer…it’s part of my professional experience. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

If this is my personal experience with a child, I can only imagine the struggles that Shanesha Taylor has been through. Being homeless means that outside of a library-where it needs to be quiet so bringing babies to is out of the question-one has limited internet access and virtually all jobs these days must be applied for online. And don’t forget, when looking for employment you must have an address as well. So to get an interview at a time when attaining work is already difficult is nothing short of a miracle. What else is there to do? Had she brought the children in with her Shanesha almost certainly wouldn’t have got the job. She did what she thought was best for the moment and lost thrice. My heart really does go out to here because I’ve been there and to some extent I still am there.

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