I Changed My Mind

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My husband and I took a drive to the beach to sit on the sand, enjoy the sun and read a book on our day off. It was a hot day and there were children playing in the waves of all ages. As I glanced at them I noticed something. Each child had a personal lifeguard. There were blankets on the beach and coolers and bags but they were empty because all of the caretakers were on duty. I saw mostly mommies but there were dads and grandparents as well.

Such a strange dichotomy between that scene and a 20/20 episode I watched recently about moms moving out and choosing to be non-custodial parents click here. One mother said she didn’t want to to do the bath and bedtime routine. One mother moved states away and Skyped in to speak to her children. Her middle child, a daughter, took care of feeding and getting her little down syndrome brother ready for school. Dad was there and the family was coping. At first I went into judgment mode, “What?!! Who does this?!!” Then I stopped and thought, she is doing what fathers have been doing for decades. I am outraged either way, maybe I understand it less because I am a mother or a woman I don’t know but I do know that it seems incomprehensible for a parent to leave their child.

The mothers were in new relationships, didn’t know if they had ever really wanted children, but knew they didn’t want the daily interaction of it. I get that actually. I remember once in a particularly frustrating day I announced, “That’s it, I’m running away from home.” Casey who was 4 at the time said, “Wait, mommy! Let me get my shoes on, I’ll run away with you.” I laughed and went on with my day. But what if I had been serious as apparently these mothers were?

The women made the argument that men had been doing it forever and they wouldn’t be judged as harshly as the women were. I just can’t go there. Children need their parents mother and father. They don’t get to change their mind.

One mother when asked if she loved her children more than herself answered, “Should a mother love her children more than herself?” I guess I think we should.