…a word about Bristol. Because it’s been killing me not to have been able to weigh in on this sooner.

One can’t sit on a $3,000 sofa overlooking a private, Olympic-sized swimming pool in a Hollywood mansion filled with modern conveniences, paid gardeners and bidets, sobbing into a $900 throw cushion, whining about how life is such a struggle and expect anyone at all to believe it. I’m not an idiot. I know all these supposed reality shows are scripted. But don’t most reality show producers at least try to emulate reality on some level? The only thing Lifetime got right about Bristol Palin’s reality is that she is – in fact – a single mom. But that’s it. That’s where the line between her reality show and reality part company.

Most single moms trying to make ends meet would have been happy just to have the money Bristol spent driving her gas-guzzling Ford F-150 from Alaska to California and back again. For many I’m sure that alone would have represented several months of day-care and grocery money. Are we really meant to believe she earned her car, her gas money, her clothes, a food allowance for three (herself, Tripp and Willow) from a short stint in a dentist’s office? How much are they paying dental assistants in Alaska these days? Maybe we should all move there…

Most single moms I know have had to move back in with mom and dad just to get their footing and when they do move out on their own the budget is tight. So, not everyone can afford $10 an hour for a babysitter to go shopping with a friend or clubbing. In fact, I’ve had more than one young mom tell me it doesn’t pay to go to work full time these days because after you put gas in the car, buy lunches and appropriate clothing and register for day-care, you stand to lose money each week. And I’m pretty sure that’s accurate because I remember once working for a company that paid me $50 less per month than what I needed to pay my bills – and when I quit it was because I couldn’t afford to keep it up.

Not everyone can afford a car. In the real world most single moms have to make careful decisions on which vehicles to purchase because it’s often the case one can afford either the car or the insurance but not both – so when it’s possible, a lesser, older make and model is settled on (usually risking getting stuck on the road when something breaks down, however). In cities where buses and local trains are accessible, a lot of single moms forego the expense of a car altogether and just rely on public transport.

Single moms also lose time from work to nurse sick bubs, rush to school to pick up a child who has been injured in a soccer game, or – and this is considered an extravagance by many – to see your child receive an award at a school assembly. Sometimes one can make up the lost pay by working overtime or taking an extra shift – but mostly it’s just sacrificed income that is never recovered.

And this is just a sampling of what actual single moms in the real world go through to raise their children and stand tall in society.

So while Bristol tries to promote an image of being an average, struggling single mother making ends meet by working a menial job in a dentist’s office, we know the truth:  She made a small fortune being a paid lecturer (don’t even get me started on this one) and giving a few speeches and then placing third (or this one either, for that matter) on DWTS and doesn’t even remotely resemble a struggling single mom in America. And she has a millionaire mother who will never let her daughter or grandson be out in the cold. (Even if Sarah wanted to turn her back on Bristol, she has an image to protect and knows the public is always watching.)

So, Bristol, until you’ve:

*spent a frantic hour at your desk talking in whispers so as not to be overheard by your boss while trying desperately to find someone to pick up your sick child from school so you don’t jeopardize your job and/or lose a couple of hours pay –

*had to stand in a checkout line deliberating which food items to put back on the shelf because the docket was more than you had the cash to pay –

*had to go to work sick yourself because you couldn’t afford to miss any more days off –

*had to beg the power company to give you another extension on your bill because your son had a bad cough and you had to pay for a doctor visit and medicine up front –

*had to work co-operatively with your neighbours to arrange shared babysitting so each of you could have the freedom to go shopping or on a date and then have to take care of six kids when it was your turn –

*stood in line waiting to see if you’d qualify for food stamps –

*needed to go through the sheriff’s department to collect child support because you couldn’t afford an attorney –

*worried if the new babysitter was treating your son well or if you’d made the wrong decision and wondered who else you might call to verify this person’s credentials –

*had to pass on a family trip, special occasion or not accept an invitation in the first place to go – well, anywhere – because there just wasn’t enough money this week…

…then sit down and shut the Hell up you snivelling, spoiled little brat.

And the next time you want to claim you’ve experienced a ghetto – get out of the damned car and hoof it.

Well there – I feel better. Back to work on Princess part 3 🙂