having a child
April 17, 2011 5:41 AM   Subscribe

if you're a mother, young or old, you might just find this heartwarming
posted by skauskas (38 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: sort of sweet but also a meh weird email chain letter thing. -- jessamyn



 
Lil tears right here, just welling up. I feel like I should post this to mum's facebook but I should just ring instead, but it's late... and I will end up doing nothing.
posted by Raunchy 60s Humour at 5:50 AM on April 17, 2011


I had no idea so many child molesters lurked in the restrooms of McDonald's.
posted by sciurus at 5:53 AM on April 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Heartwarming... or extremely paranoid. Goodness, lady, take a chill pill. The average lifespan in this country is well over 70 years. Most children are gonna live long, healthy lives, including yours.
posted by PigAlien at 5:57 AM on April 17, 2011


I had no idea so many child molesters lurked in the restrooms of McDonald's

says the childless?
posted by skauskas at 5:57 AM on April 17, 2011


says the childless?

Oh, is this thread for the childful only?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:05 AM on April 17, 2011 [29 favorites]


Finally, I understand why my girlfriend never wants to have kids.
posted by R.Stornoway at 6:08 AM on April 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have two young kids. I understand the feeling of fear that something might happen to them. But that is a tiny mote next to the unbelievable joy and love that these two little creatures have brought to my life. I couldn't read more than a few paragraphs into this thing; maybe it gets better towards the end, but I kinda agree with PigAlien. You can let your paranoia about life overwhelm you or you can get on with it.
posted by dellsolace at 6:09 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


FOR ALL MOMS (PRESENT, PAST OR POSSIBLY FUTURE)
AND MOMS AT HEART (FATHERS)


This is where I stopped reading. I have a wonderful mother and a wonderful father and I do NOT think my father is a "Mom at heart". He is a fantastic, amazing dad in his own right, not just through his similarity to a mother. My parents are both parents and that's what matters here. I feel like there is often this fetishization of motherhood and, while I would like to be a mother someday, the often exclusionary "Oh you just can't understand" character of some mothers and the willingness of many people to tolerate this just rubs me the wrong way.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:21 AM on April 17, 2011 [42 favorites]


I didn't realize I had to lay out my child-cred to participate, but if that's the case, here's my little bear.
posted by sciurus at 6:22 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, is this thread for the childful only?

well, it was meant for mothers, as the byline stated.

actually i didn't pay too much attention to the fear-mongering, more its overall feeling. it kinda made me well up and i thought others might appreciate it, like i did.

if there is some offense taken, i'll apologise now.
posted by skauskas at 6:23 AM on April 17, 2011


A good read, even for those of us of another gender... and, Interesting responses so far, I want to respond to a couple of them.


sciurus... my nephew was molested in the restroom of a very small town theater, everyone felt safe there... parents have a reason that they worry about these things, they happen.

And, PigAlien, not every child grows up, some die tragic, unexpected deaths, and some of us have experienced that.

Folks, please remember that people read what you write here, and please remember that not everyone has been protected from pain and loss.
posted by tomswift at 6:24 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love my kids too much to recommend that they have children.
posted by acheekymonkey at 6:28 AM on April 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


dellsolace: "You can let your paranoia about life overwhelm you or you can get on with it."

Still, worrying is a natural reflex when you become a parent. Mocking people for it doesn't seem like a particularly nice thing to do.

I have two three year olds. They're simultaneously graceful and tough as nails and also clumsy & fragile. That all-encompassing responsibility you must have towards your children can manifest as overprotectiveness, a trust that they're going to be okay or something in between. I know I'm not always rational about my kids and their safety.

Plus, if you've lost a child, the fear that you might lose another can be overwhelming.

Most of this essay could easily have applied to many fathers, I think.
posted by zarq at 6:29 AM on April 17, 2011


You know, tomswift, it's perfectly possible for the great majority of kids to survive and thrive, while a few die. Being sensitive to a few parents scarred by tragedy doesn't mean ignoring reality. If every mother and father felt this way because a small percentage of children are killed or face other tragedies, what a morose world we'd live in. I'm sure most parents have flashes of these feelings from time-to-time, but this lady's examples seem paranoid at best. Which brings up the fact that this is an entirely cultural thing, an artifact of our 'helicopter parent' culture. I can guarantee you people in many other cultures don't invest so much in their children.
posted by PigAlien at 6:34 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


or drop their souffles.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:35 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, for the record, actually losing a child or having tragedy befall your child is an unimaginably painful thing for me to think about, and I am very sad and sorry for anyone who has to suffer that. However, actually losing a child is not the same as being worried that every time they go to the bathroom at 5 years old that they're going to be raped and murdered in the bathroom. The former is tragedy, the latter is paranoia.
posted by PigAlien at 6:37 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter's hand and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings. This blessed gift from God . . . that of being a Mother.

Does anyone have a glucose monitor? I'm not a diabetic, but I just inadvertently swallowed a couple gallons of syrup.

I'm a dad, and I love my daughter more than any single other thing in this world. But this parenting as fetish stuff is getting old. Parenting isn't a "calling," it's a choice and it shouldn't be elevated to the level of the Most Noble Acts. Not when there are six billion people fighting over limited resources and choking to death on their own waste.

I specifically take exception to the secret handshake, "all of us in this special group know this at heart but I'm going to express it for you" tone of this piece. Your perspective does change after you have a kid. I was so conscious of its effect on people before me, and so resistant and cynical of it that I swore it wouldn't happen to me. But it did anyway. But a lot of people need to get some goddamn perspective-- your life is different now; the world isn't.

Your perspective did change. No doubt. You don't need affirmation of it from others, Affirmation just encourages you to be myopic about the world outside your children.

It's not unique or special, it's happened to most of the billions of people before you who had a child. Don't act like it's a miracle. Children are so routine that 15-year-olds have them. They're as special and rare as iPods or HPV.

And here's the one that kills me: your new perspective replaced a previous one that people without children probably can't share, but that doesn't make it ENLIGHTENMENT. The world's not different, you're different. The priorities and fears of non-parents are no less valid and no less advanced than yours. (and in case a parent feels like I'm attacking them, "no more valid than yours, either.")

Dear childless people: I apologize for people like the author. She's not all of us.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:38 AM on April 17, 2011 [150 favorites]


I don't think it's about investing too much in children in our cultures, it's about the fact that it's so fractured and complicated that we don't know wtf is going on.

Plus from my experience in third world countries, a lot of kids do get molested and fuck all happens so there's something to be said for our way as well.
posted by Not Supplied at 6:39 AM on April 17, 2011


Dear childless people: I apologize for people like the author. She's not all of us.

Apology accepted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:40 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd rather it was paranoid. Instead it was self-congratulatory.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:41 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah. I think the world would be a better place if parents looked at parenting as a responsibility rather than some kind of club where no matter what they do, they are 100% right, with an attitude of "well you just don't know...you don't have a child".

Those sentiments are echoed in the drivel I read, and in the OP's responses.

I vote this one a kraptastic post, lets flush it down before it grows.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:51 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


If this post saves one child from being abused at McDonald's, then reading this thread was worth it.

Btw, childless here (afaik).
posted by Jikido at 7:00 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those sentiments are echoed in the drivel I read, and in the OP's responses.

Wow. I feel that I need to defend myself, but I'm not sure how to.
posted by skauskas at 7:03 AM on April 17, 2011


I feel that I need to defend myself, but I'm not sure how to.

Eh, don't bother. Haters gonna hate.
posted by kcds at 7:04 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Go to bed mum, and stop drinking dad's single malt.
posted by lil ubu at 7:05 AM on April 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Haters gonna hate.

Paranoids gonna fearmonger.
posted by grouse at 7:11 AM on April 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ugh. What schlock. And offensive to me at least for the idea that you wouldn't fear death or horrible things happening to your loved ones unless you have a child. Yes, because I don't have kids, I'm completely oblivious to the scary world! Tra la la!
posted by agregoli at 7:15 AM on April 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


The experience of parenthood, like most intense and significant components of a life, resists being reduced to this kind of essay, and that might be a good thing. Those who try and do so anyway may have the best of intentions, like this mother who thinks she can tell her daughter what she's getting herself into, but one thing a parent has to learn is that people need to have their own experiences and they can't be "told" like this. At best, it's trivializing and at worst invasive and controlling.

The experience of being a child of such a parent is a challenging as parenthood itself and I wish her daughter good luck with it.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:18 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


"...but this lady's examples seem paranoid at best." etc in the thread.

I read it the way I think she intended, not a paranoid rant (though child molesters at McDonald's might be a bit over the top, I worry more about locks that won't be opened by little kids hands from the inside and a crying child wanting to get out, that sort of thing.)
I totally understand what she means about reading the newspaper and feeling the worst thing in the world would be losing ones child. This sudden 100000% uppage of the empathy arrived early for me, mid-pregnancy. I was enjoying a beautiful sunny day with belly popping out and a big smile as I passed a newspaper headline that had a photograph a baby shoe in rubbish, declaring "2 year old Carsten killed by bomber". I cried silenty behind my sunglasses all the way home, and still get that horrible twang of pain when I see some headlines, feeling for all parents and children out there in war-torn countries, accidents, and bad situations. We worry. It's not in the front of our minds all the time, but man do we worry.
posted by dabitch at 7:26 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh good christ. This is just another one of those stupid chain emails. I've seen this more times than I can count, usually attached to anti-abortion nonsense.

For fuck's sake, the last place this smarmy shit needs to be is Metafilter.

And I say that as a Mom...so, take that for what it's worth.
posted by dejah420 at 7:26 AM on April 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


Well, that settles it. Next time I take a kid to McDonald's, they can shit on the floor.
posted by box at 7:27 AM on April 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


Could do without the blessed gift from God bit though. Tina Feys letter was better.
posted by dabitch at 7:27 AM on April 17, 2011


MayorCurley, right on. I was a stay-at-home mom for years, I'm mad about my kids, and yep, I worried from the moment they were born and continue to worry even though they are 25 and 21. But this lowest-common-denominator, condescending ("oh, you, my clueless daughter with your fancy manicure and your ... your job!") hallmark-y ... Ugh. Just ugh.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:28 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


lil ubu: Go to bed mum, and stop drinking dad's single malt.

Someone's gonna have some explaining to do once lil ubu is actually old enough to control his own account.
posted by gman at 7:29 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haaaaaaaate shit like this.
posted by padraigin at 7:35 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


For fuck's sake, the last place this smarmy shit needs to be is Metafilter.

This.

Tina Feys letter was better.

Better written, definitely. Pretty much the same message, though.
posted by Forktine at 7:36 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh, I was not aware that only mothers were allowed to be against "war, prejudice, and drunk driving"! I guess all my 40 years of working against prejudice were pointless and invisible, since I have no children. And look at all those young men who are anti-war protestors! Don't they know their efforts are totally worthless because they aren't even wome,m much less mothers?
posted by pbrim at 7:37 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


My two month old daughter is sleeping next to me right now. I love her fiercely and in a way I never quite expected. I have no doubt that becoming a parent has changed me forever, and I am surprised at how much I love being someone's mom.

However, this kind of essay makes me feel claustrophobic. It's like the second I had a baby the capital 'M' Mom moved everything about my identity aside and planted itself in the number one slot, at least to the outside world. On the inside, I still feel like an engineer, a wife, and a business person, but if I put any of that above my new role I'm selfish and unfit.

So, the paragraphs about business meetings, manicures, nice suits, and being reduced to a "primitive level of a bear protecting her cub" kind of made me want to tear my hair out. I'm still the same person I was before, though I have some new priorities, and I chafe at the idea that should cease being a reasonable, focused person. i'm not even sure that being a mom is the greatest, most important thing I will do, ever. At the very least, it's a priority for me to continue to support my family financially.

I don't think the essay was designed on purpose to make me feel this way, but, geez, there are a lot of different ways of being a mother, and lots of different ways to feel about it. I wear my mediocre mom badge with pride.
posted by Alison at 7:39 AM on April 17, 2011 [17 favorites]


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