We all had to scratch our heads a bit when we learned Teen Mom 2's Jenelle Evans isn't paying child support. I guess as long as her son, Jace, is provided for by somebody, that's what's most important. And it appears that she and her mom, who has custody and financial responsibility for Jace, are in agreement over their arrangement. But what exactly is Jenelle responsible for, then? Is anything Jenelle earned from Teen Mom going to her son? Apparently it is. When asked via Twitter if her son would see any of that MTV money, Jenelle said she's feeding Jace's trust fund.
Predictably Jenelle got high-fives from her fans and boos from the haters. Some people think Jenelle's earnings should go to Jace now while he's still growing. And I think they have a good point. But really, this isn't even about the money. This is about how involved Jenelle is in her son's life. As usual, Jenelle is just an apprentice parent. She's more of an aunt to Jace than a mother.
It should be the grandmother who sets up a trust fund for a child, and the parent who pays the day-to-day expenses. When my son was born, my grandmother sent us a check to open up a college savings account for him. (An aside -- I think a college fund would be better than a trust Jace can't access until he's 21, but maybe Jenelle doesn't think he'll make it to college ...) This was very much appreciated. But my son's day-to-day expenses are on me and his father.
Covering the expenses of your child is one of the ways you parent in the PRESENT. It's not just the diaper changing -- it's paying for those diapers, day after day. Money isn't the most important way you express your parenting, of course. And spending more definitely doesn't make you a better mom. But the way you take that responsibility says a lot about you as a parent.
As long as Jenelle acts like a favorite aunt, contributing in these small, indirect ways, she'll never be a real parent. And maybe that's fine with her and her mother. But I think it's just plain sad. Jace will no doubt appreciate his trust fund when he's an adult. But who will he remember as his primary parent?
Do you think Jenelle should keep funding Jace's trust fund, or should that money go to her son now?
Image via Jenelle Evans/Twitter