Nadya Suleman (AKA "Octomom") over reports that she was receiving death threats and had her car vandalized over reports that she was granted $2,000 monthly in food assistance from the State of California for her and her 14 kids. Tonight, I'm a bit less sympathetic towards her plight.
Shortly after the death threat reports, Suleman got offered free security services from "numerous security companies". According to TMZ, Suleman was offered round-the-clock security guards for her and the kids until she moved to a new home, which would have a secret location. It is still unclear to me if she took up any of these offers.
More recently, reports came out of squalid living conditions in Suleman's home after her hairstylist contacted the Orange County Department of Children and Family Services. According to TMZ reports, the hairstylist said that there was graffiti throughout the home. Plus, there was reportedly only one working toilet so the children were forced to backyard portable training toilets to relieve themselves. Most startling -- to me, at least -- were allegations that she propped a chair against a bedroom door to prevent the children from getting out!
After the DCFS visited Suleman's home, there were subsequent reports that the home was undergoing extensive cleaning and repairs. According to TMZ, Dr. Drew is footing the bill for this cleaning crew and DialAStar.com has donated "over $10,000" to help with the repairs and cleaning. I guess you do what you can to get DCFS off your back, but it does kind of bother me that these companies are paying this much money for Suleman's home maintenance. Now Suleman is claiming that DCFS workers think she's "Super-Mom". I'll wait until I see the final report (which I'm sure TMZ will somehow get their collective hands on) before I believe that last bit.
The most frustrating Suleman report this week involves reports that she spent $520 on a Brazillian blowout (i.e., chemical straightening treatment) and two hair cuts last week, plus $80 for additional hair products. I understand that the food assistance card wasn't being used for these items, but she was still using household monetary resources on her hair that could be used for her mortgage or utilities or haircuts for the entire household(!). Heck, this particular report itself claims that she let a $150 plumbing job go unfixed at her home because she couldn't afford it. Hence the portable training toilets in the backyard.
The sad part is that Brazilian Blowout, the company that manufactures her hair treatment product is upset that she purchased her product from them while her family is on food assistance. As a result, they are refunding her for her $520 hair procedures and also offering her free treatments in the future, as well as the cost of childcare while she's getting her hair done! Brazilian Blowout even offered to fix the broken toilet!
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Suleman seeking food assistance for herself and her children. I understand that it's difficult to prevent that many little kids from coloring on the walls and damaging parts of the home. I even understand the idea that money might be tight enough that you cannot fix one of the toilets right away (though the porta-potties are pushing it...).
My problem is with her continuing to purchase luxury goods that most people cannot afford to purchase ever when things are going well for our families. My problem is with companies choosing to spend big bucks to fix up her home and provide her with those very same luxury goods. I'm particularly upset with Brazilian Blowout for offering her free services and child care when I doubt they would offer the safe public service to other single moms on welfare.
I get that money is tight right now for Suleman. That's when you sit down with your budget and establish spending priorities. That's when you run to the strip mall hairstylist to have your hair done for a tenth of the price. That's when you weigh the financial option of fixing your toilet versus paying half-grand on your hair.
I'm not saying that Suleman shouldn't splurge on her hair or clothing or whatever. I think it's good for us all to splurge on ourselves occasionally. I'm just saying that NOW isn't the time to splurge.