I really try to not give too much additional press to some of the more sensational stories that come out of the 24/7 news feeds (*coughCharlieSheencough*), but there was one last week that I can’t let by without giving some of the other side of the story and rambling/ranting a bit.  What am I talking about?  The author of a new book who discusses how she was a better mother when she left her 20-year marriage and two young boys behind.  Um, excuse me?

I realize that people can be misrepresented in the quest to get better book sales or hits on their website (Yes, Tiger Mom, I’m talking about you), but seriously? There’s no way that someone should be making the abandonment of your family into a book.  A blog maybe, but not a book to take on the Today Show circuit. All parents know there are ups and downs to the “job” – no one signs up for the tantrums of 2- or 13-year-olds, but we press on because like it or not, that’s part of being a parent.  I used to say that I never really knew what the term “forever” meant until I gave birth to my twins.  I was FOREVER in charge of the well-being of these tiny little humans and for the rest of my life I was a mom! Holy moly! And there have been many days between then and now where I wanted a weekend off or even just one night, sometimes life just doesn’t work that way. It’s called something that I’m working on with my own kids: responsibility.  I completely understand that women (or men) shouldn’t have to give up their life for 18 years so their kids can grow up in a loving home, but my goodness – how selfish can you get?

I want to read her husband’s side of this story because I’ve seen first-hand how the children fare when Mommy decides she doesn’t want that responsibility anymore and it’s not an improvement for anyone left behind.  My 13-year-old step-daughter was “abandoned” by her birth mom when she was barely two years old. Her birth mom decided she wasn’t really ready to be a mom and left. My daughter grieved and does have some continuing things that she’s working through, but she’s been able to have a fairly stable life provided by her dad and has done okay for herself. There has been more than one occasion over the years where she has questioned if she did something to force her birth mom out or if her birth mom loves/remembers her. No kid should have to go through that. Luckily my husband was able to get help from his family and make sure that his (now our) daughter was cared for and loved. He could handle whatever came his way, but when it came to it, he couldn’t protect his daughter from that pain and that was the hardest part for him.

I realize that parents leave all the time due to all sorts of reasons, but at least when the reason is that the parents aren’t compatible, the kids can (someday) rationalize that it wasn’t their fault. How does the kid that was abandoned because their mom or dad didn’t want to be a parent anymore work through that? And yes, it is abandonment. A child who has had two parents in their life and suddenly doesn’t have one anymore due to a parent’s free-will decision (and not a tragedy) has been abandoned. That is not something that we need to be writing books about – I think every parent would know that not having kids anymore would be a freeing exercise; we don’t have to pay you money to read about it. And if you feel the need to justify your decisions by writing a book, keep it in your journal. Parenthood isn’t for everyone, but please make sure you figure that out BEFORE you become a parent. Maybe that’s her intent? To be a form of birth control by saying that parenthood isn’t for everyone? I think maybe there’s a better way to market yourself without seeming like a selfish b*tch if that’s the case.
 


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