First of all, sorry for my absence last week readers, but a bad flu pretty much put me in bed for the week. Not an unusual thing perhaps, but it got me thinking to how I would cope with annoying ailments once I become a single mother.
This was also a question put to me by the social worker from the ICIF (Institución Colaboradora para la Integración Familiar) when she visited my home (see last post). Is there a straight answer? Not really, and I suppose when the time comes I will have to rely on the kindness of friends and neighbours, as countless mothers—single and otherwise—do in Barcelona every day. However this wasn’t the only thing that worried her.
She then asked me if, as a future single mother, I had thought about getting hired help—which made me ask what planet she was on (realistically I’ve got my heart set on a cleaner a couple of hours a week and a dishwasher to make life easier). She then pulled out a form to fill in; full of boxes that needed to be ticked about my family and personal history.
Just why she was instructed to do this I don’t really know; I had already been over my family tree, education, work history, etc. a couple of times with other members of my appointed ICIF team. They had listened patiently, and somewhat amused, to my unorthodox past, as I tried to make sense and chronological order of a lifetime’s worth of experiences and decisions. But this time there was no room for any sort of deviation from a cardboard cut-out type history.
"So you studied fashion design?" she confirmed. "But then why are you working in the media?" I explained my change of heart with the fashion world, and then cited an unreliable fact—which I’d only just heard—that most people change professions three times during their lifetime. This was met with another sniff—perhaps further evidence of my ‘bohemian’ tendencies.
I then had to labour over other points like different jobs I had had in the various countries I have lived in, choices made from necessity (my stint as a cocktail waitress in New York was conveniently left out), why I had chosen to settle down so far way from native home (fair enough question I guess), and exact figures on my future income—an almost impossible thing for any freelancer to predict.
I watched as she madly tried to fit my square-peg-of-a-life into the ‘round hole’ form attached to her clip board and thought; does everyone who chooses to adopt really fit the conservative profile that the Generalitat deems to be the ‘norm’. They don’t of course—but it would save a lot bureaucratic time and energy if they just recognised this.