Monday, November 17, 2008

Everyone needs to step off!

And I mean that shit!

This Open Salon article about it's anti-feminist that Michelle Obama will "just be a mom" once the move into the White House is made has my blood pressure up.

The writer makes excellent points that I won't repeat here, but what I mostly got out of this article is that everyone needs to Shut The Fuck Up about parenting decisions that don't involve their child.

Sasha and Malia Obama are not your kids. Timmy down the road who is never seen without a Fun Dip is not your kid. You neice Becky who likes to play Xbox is not your kid. The three year old on that leash at Wal-Mart? Yeah, he's not your kid. The infant at the Red Lobster with a bottle? Not. Your. Kid.

Now don't get me wrong. I have some strong opinions about childrearing that i've formed from reading various websites, books, magazines, seeing the behavior of parents and their kids in public, and being the awesome but still flawed result of my own parents.

But you know what? I keep it to myself. I talk about these things with Josh since he'll be dad of any kids we have. I talk about it with my Mom and Dad since they're the most level headed people I know. I turn it all over in my head sometimes, going over the reasoning with myself again and again. But do I bring it up to strangers I encounter? No. Do I go bitching on the internet about how this person is doing it wrong, wrong, wrong? No. Do I even spout it here on my blog, where my pointless thoughts come to die? No, not so far. But that may change.

My point is that unless you have legal custody over a child (i.e. you created them somehow, adopted them or were granted gaurdianship by a court of law) you need to clam up.

And most likely you need to calm down.

Many of these little conniptions revolve around the possible harm that is coming to either the kids or the world at large over the decisions the parents in question have made.

Will feminism survive with Michelle Obama at home? Yeah, sure, why not? She's first lady at least for the next four years. Who knows what will happen in that time and what she may decide to do. But right now she, the woman who carried these two girls and knew them intimately before they were even here in many ways, thinks she needs to focus on her kids and making this HUGE transition easier on them. It makes perfect sense to me. But even if it didn't, it doesn't matter because (say it with me now!) they aren't my kids.

Will Timmy get cavities from his Fun Dip addiction? Maybe. Maybe not. Truth is a slice of bread will give you cavities if you let it sit on your teeth. Step off and trust Timmy's mom to make sure his teeth are brushed and he goes to a dentist. Does Becky play too much Xbox? Maybe. Maybe she gets plenty of exercise at school. You don't know. Her parents do.

Unless the kid is wrestling with the pet tiger, or Mom and Dad are making meth in the rumpus room, or there is some evidence of the kid being in immediate danger, calm down. Step off. Not your kid.

I know that the article is really more about a feminist hand-wringing, but it's just evidence of bigger problem of us making other people's lives all about us. And that problem gets soooooo much bigger when a kid is involved. It's all life and death then even when it's not. From breastfeeding vs. formula to what kids are being fed and what ever would happen if he was allowed to ride a bike down the street without his knee pads people think that it's dire enough to butt in and it's not. If kids were this delicate the human race would have died out by now.

We all need to adopt Not My Kid as a mantra and start trusting the people around us to raise the kids they have well their way.

And we can all stop worrying about feminism and Michelle Obama. She's a great lady, classy and smart. She'll do us feminists proud. And I think she'll do mothers proud too. But the only thing that really matters is that she do her kids proud, and I have no worries about that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree! you know, people always think they know what's best for OTHER people when they aren't even in that situation! and they just need to shut the hell up and mind their own GD business! if michelle obama feels like she needs to stay home and take care of her children, then that's what she should do. they're going through a HUGE transition- and i mean ALL of them- the whole damn family! and her being there helping them to get through all of this- supporting them and loving them, is one of the best things she can do. a loving, nurturing mother and wife is a wonderful thing. it's a role that she seems to embrace and i applaud her for this. and i consider myself a feminist in many ways. so you go, michelle! and everyone else shut the fuck up and mind your own damn business!
~susan gooch~