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Archive: April 2013

Judgy McJudgerpants

I try SO hard to avoid the whole “Mommy Wars” thing. I firmly believe in “to each his own”, I really, really do, mostly because there’s nothing that bothers me more than being the one who’s under scrutiny. In the past week, however, two articles have made it onto my radar and stirred my judgy juices (full disclosure, I have PMS, so my judgy juices could just as easily be stirred by a lack of chocolate and Fritos. Shut up. Don’t judge).

The first article I read was this one, in which a total douchebag spouted off how angry he is that his wife is having twins. Proof that he knew how much of a douche he was being? He published the article under a pseudonym. Yep. He was prepared for the backlash. It’s not that he was fearful or unsure of growing his family; nope, he was PISSED (his words). He’s also mad that they’re not having a girl. And that the new babies may be colicky, thus interrupting his sleep. Now, if he had written about feeling inadequate or ill-prepared I could have totally thrown this guy a bone. I get feeling overwhelmed. I can completely empathize about being scared. I, too, hate midnight colic with a passion. But angry? No. I don’t get that one.

Before you’re all “But Merrin, everybody is entitled to their own emotions”, or just in case you only skimmed the article, let me fill you in: He and his wife CHOSE this. They pursued IVF and CHOSE to have two embryos implanted. They KNEW they only have a one bedroom apartment. They were fully aware that they were actively trying to conceive. They paid a doctor to make it happen. This guy makes it sound like the Pregnancy Fairy showed up in the middle of the night and sprinkled magic baby dust on his wife against her will. He admits that he struggles with his three year old son who “inherently know that crying pushes our buttons”. Gee. I wonder why. I’m fairly certain that just about every parent can tell you that our children are the most accurate reflection of ourselves. Sure, kids can and will act out, but every Mommy knows the feeling of looking at her kiddo and seeing our best and worst selves reflected right back at us.

And just in case you feel I’m being a tad too harsh, allow me to present Exhibit A:

“We considered a reduction for about 30 seconds. (That’s essentially an abortion of one twin, not both.) If you thought that IVF involved playing God, a reduction felt beyond brazen — Machiavellian, even. Give us a reason, we thought, as we had the twins tested for genetic anomalies. None came.”

What. The. Holy. Hell. This has absolutely nothing to do with my stand on reproductive rights. This guy was actively wishing for a reason to abort one of his unborn children, PRAYING for genetic anomalies. Who does that???? God help these kids when they’re old enough to Google. The internet is forever, bro, and Karma? She is a bitch.

He says that having children is a selfish venture, and with that I can wholeheartedly agree. Jack certainly did not ask to have us as his parents; we chose him, entirely without his consent. Selfish? You bet. I’m okay with that. The difference is that I WANTED my child. Desperately. What I can’t wrap my head around is the concept that this couple SAYS they wanted their children, and yet has only horrible things to say about not just the unborn ones, but the one they already have.

While I have my big fat judgy pants on, allow me to shift to the other article I read that got me going, albeit in a completely different direction. This dad makes a wonderful case for having only one child (maybe Douchebag of the Year should’ve taken notes). He knows what works best for his family, but the problem is the constant feeling he has to defend it. We’ve all felt that way, whether we have a brood of 5 or we’re one and done. Everybody has an opinion (says the girl with the judgy pants on).

I would never presume to tell anybody else what works best for their family. You want 3 kids? As long as you can love and nurture and support all three, then go for it. You don’t want any? Awesome. Chose IVF? I’m sure it was the right choice for you. Adoption? Love it. Only want dogs? Great (but again, adoption is a great option here, too). However you want to make a family (or not) is totally up to you and none of my damn business. I promise I won’t criticize you for choosing formula over the breast, for opting for CIO vs. attachment parenting, or for feeding your snowflakes candy for breakfast (I probably *will* judge you if your kids are ill-behaved little monsters, though. Fair warning). I will eagerly look at pictures of your dogs because I know they can be your kids, too.

This guy’s article stirred something in me. I have sat in the seat of the judged, and it sucks. Not long after we brought Jack home, someone told us that he needed a sibling. That it was unfair to him to be an only. That he would be spoiled. That he wouldn’t be social. That he would suffer when he was an adult. I pointed out that he would have SO MANY opportunities to do wonderful things like travel (the response? And I quote: “I bet you know a lot more people with brothers and sisters than have been to Europe”. Um, no). Keep in mind that this came from a family member. We hadn’t even been home for a month, and already I was being judged. I still had jetlag, I already knew I was fucking up, and yet this is what I have to hear. It sucked. I hated knowing that someone thought I was inferior, especially because I felt so inferior already.

I realize my latter points are completely contrary to my former (“Don’t judge me! I’m totally judging you!”). I’m okay with that. Again, I have PMS (WHERE ARE MY FRITOS????), so I’ll blame it on mood swings. Yes, I totally judged DoucheDad. Part of me wants to be able to call him brave for putting his fears out there, but then the rational me kicks me in the head and says shut up. If he were brave, he’d face this head on with fear instead of anger. If he were brave, he would’ve admitted that maybe, just maybe, he didn’t want any more children. Maybe, though, he felt pressure and judgement from family and friends to have one more. To be a “whole” family. To give his first son a sibling. He said himself that he and his wife both have siblings and they wanted their child to have that experience, too. Maybe that desire came from hearing whispered voices telling him that’s what’s socially normal. I’m not betting on it, however. I think he’s just a whiny little asshole.

None of us like to be judged. We’re all scared we’re screwing up our kids. The mistakes I make every day are epic. The one card I can play here, though, is that I can fully own the choices that I make for and about my family. I’ve never ONCE complained that I was angry that I had a child. And I’ve never been anything other than grateful that I have a little miracle who calls me “Mommy”. I chose parenthood. So did that guy. One of us got the memo that being a parent means being a grown up, and it sure wasn’t him.




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