March 17, 2009

Scrutiny

In the mood for a pissy irrelevant rant? OH GOOD ME TOO.

I sure am glad I'm not in the public eye right now: my house and family couldn't live up to that kind of scrutiny. One of the things making me all crabby about the octuplets story is the way news sources (by which I mean celeb mags, obv) bring up insignificant parts of Nadya Suleman's life as if they were evidence against her. Some things matter, some things don't---and the fact that her children don't have bed frames DOESN'T MATTER. It's just something that sounds bad if you don't think it through (sample: "Wait, does it MEAN anything bad if a bed doesn't have a frame?").

Though my children's beds all have frames (whew, I'm a fit mother!), one of my friends DELIBERATELY puts her children's mattresses on the floor---even though her living-in-the-household husband (and father to their non-fertility-treatment-conceived children) makes a kajillion dollars and AFFORDING or FINDING ROOM for the bed frames is not at all a problem. She prefers it because it makes falling out of bed a non-issue and because her husband is a doctor and says mattresses on the floor are better for spine development.

I guess, though, that my friend's children should be taken away from her, because "mattresses on the floor" = "unacceptable living conditions." In what country would that be, where having a nice clean firm mattress on an indoor, non-vermin-infested floor, under a non-leaking, solid roof, in a heated house where no insect nets are needed over the beds, is neglect and abuse?

The clutter, too. The photos of the clutter in her house are not that different from what a photo would look like of MY house, if someone visited unexpectedly during the day, except that her carpets looked cleaner. And oh dear, because is toy clutter now a sign of parental unfitness? If so, I am in TRUH-BULL. And I have one fewer child in the house than she does, so I have less of an excuse!

Now I'm hyper-aware of what a celebrity-mag review of MY living conditions could look like. This morning, if a reporter had stopped by unexpectedly and at a poor moment, she could have reported:

1) A child with a dirty diaper, crying in a playpen.
2) Toys all over the floor.
3) Laundry piled high in three different bedrooms.
4) Unmade beds; sheets on one bed not changed for more than 2 weeks.
5) Child still in pajamas after breakfast.
6) Child with hair still ratty in the back from sleeping.
7) Breakfast dishes still on table, including sippee cup of room-temperature milk.
8) Crumbs on the floor. Partially-eaten GRAHAM CRACKER on the floor.

Man, doesn't that look awful? And yet I assure you, the children are loved and well cared for, and the hair did eventually get combed, and I got to the diaper as soon as I noticed it, which did not take long TRUST ME (what did that child EAT??).

And oh god, please let her not bring a photographer with her to document:

1) The scunginess around the back of the toilet.
2) The dust build-up in the corners.
3) The dishes in the sink.
4) The dish on the counter, with an elderly cat eating off it.
5) The toy clutter, oh my dear Target, the toy clutter.
6) The area under the couch, which is probably 3 inches thick.
7) The scunginess around the faucets.


Oh, no: are they going to have someone dig into my past, too?

1. A marriage that lasted less than a year.
2. A year in therapy to resolve anxiety issues (FAIL).
3. Several cigarettes while UNDERAGE.
4. Bottle of vodka while UNDERAGE.
5. Took Percocet after c-sections---AND ENJOYED IT.
6. When Paul lost his job, we ACCEPTED UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS.
7. We had all our children while we were covered by health insurance, which means OTHER PEOPLE helped pay for our children's births.
8. We send our children to public schools, which means OTHER PEOPLE help pay for their education.


It makes me so FURIOUS that anyone would use any of these things to judge someone's ability to PARENT. Seriously, a child can live in GENUINE SQUALOR and still be loved and well cared for---but a nice house with wall-to-wall, running water, indoor plumbing, a good roof, several bedrooms, and a mattress for everyone is NOT squalor. "Clean" clutter (that is, not heaps of rotting food and fly-covered diapers, but just blocks and other toys) on the floor means nothing except that a household has children in it. Unemployment and disability checks show a faulty character only if you are NOT unemployed/disabled when you accept them.

OTHER ISSUES ASIDE, a person's ability to parent successfully can't be judged by their furniture and other material possessions, or by their interest in housecleaning. Thank god.

69 comments:

pseudostoops said...

Love you, love this rant, thank you, that is all.

-R- said...

I love this rant and COMPLETELY agree.

kdbear said...

While I agree with you for the most part, I have to say, my first thought when seeing children's matresses on the ground is NOT "Oh, their father must be a doctor" but rather "Oh, they must not be able to afford regular beds for their children, that's unfortunate". It's not so much that I think the mother is BAD because of that, but just that the kids could be better off. And if that's the only area where they are not "better off", then great. But if they are lacking in many other areas as well (no curtains, general messiness of the house, mom doesn't have a job, etc) then it seems to indicate a LARGER problem in the household, which I think is what the media is reacting to. For the most part. Some of them are definitely on a witch hunt, though.

Nowheymama said...

Preach it, Sister!

And now I am going to print this out and hang it by my computer.

Misty said...

I can't help but feel very very sorry for that poor woman and, like you, am very glad people aren't digging around in my life. I work with a lot of social workers and have heard the battle stories. I think that people really need to understand what child abuse and neglect look like before they go around painting pictures.

As for the children being better off? Boy, I am glad that is not a criteria for keeping kids. Because maybe my son would be better off with a mom who is a certified teacher to help him with his homework. Or my youngest would be better off with a child development specialist to potty train him. I have a dear friend who was a foster parent to abused children for YEARS, who was also a professional counselor. And she told me that the system sucks, because, in the end, no matter what was going on, those babies just wanted their mama.

The end.

Tracy H said...

I totally agree with you, but I still think "Octo-Mom" is looking for fame and has a bad case of the crazies!

Jenni said...

wait, do we live in the same house?

caleyadams said...

That was good, Swistle; way to put it into perspective. And I can safely say that I think your description could apply to most of us. In fact, I have not yet opened the curtains in the front of our house JUST IN CASE a neighbor walks by and happens to look inside and notice my own "squalor": the MOUNDS of laundry covering the couch that I keep MEANING to fold, the toys everywhere, the snot-covered, juice-smile sporting baby who is currently sitting next to me in his high chair screaming at me that he wants to "Det down!" because he finished eating 10 minutes ago but Mommy isn't done commenting yet... Yeah. My own squalor.

Anyway, I agree with you. As usual. ;)

courtney in FL said...

I could not agree more with this post. I hate when people drop by my house without notice because most of the time ,no wait, ALL of the time, there are toys EVERYWHERE, and I wait to do the dishes at night so breakfast,lunch and snack dishes are piled up in the kitchen all day. My house is messy but not dirty (ignore the corners)! So, does that make me a bad mom because I would rather spend time with my son than to be cleaning ALL DAY LONG?

Kim said...

My house wouldn't pass, that's for sure. I also took the garbage out in pajama pants and boots this morning; I'm sure I'd be declared certifiably insane for that one. And I would and do agree with you on the level of scrutiny the media gives to a lot of famous people - it's way beyond what is appropriate. But I really believe this woman (trying to be mature and not call names) planned and wanted every bit of this. Just my opinion, but I caught a small segment of Entertainment Tonight the other night (I know, shameful) and she just came across as a fame mongering wanna-be and when I saw the two babies who were so grossly underweight, I got even more mad. (Lights and cameras in the premie room? Really?) I feel bad for these babies (and also for her other children) that they are probably going to be victimized in some way (and kind of already are)because of their seemingly unbalanced mother and a greedy doctor.
I'm non-argumentative and don't mean to be contrary, but this story brings out the horns on me.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Mattresses on bed frames is a cultural thing, not a necessary thing. Go to Japan. Futons are on the floor or on slightly raised platforms in most homes. When I see kids' mattresses on the floor my first thought is "ah, there were monsters under the bed". My kids' closet currently has no door on it because there were monsters hiding in it. I'm sure that would cost me some points. The stack of dirty dishes in the sink. The naked kid playing Wii at 6am. The saran wrapped plate of what is obviously someone's dinner from the night before in the fridge. The inability to walk down the hall without stepping on a lego or army man...
I'm screwed when the media arrives at my door

Jane said...

Well done Swistle! It just so happens that we are deluged with Nadya Suleman and her 14 children on a regular basis, but this rant could apply to any parent who is judged superficially and unfairly. I think we may all be a little guilty of casting a judgmental eye on other parents, even if we don't mean to do so.

Thanks for the reminder to live and let live, with a ton of humor and humility mixed in. My clutter-filled and sometimes "scungy" house would probably raise some eyebrows (and I think my mother in law is constantly tsk-tsking, but that's another issue), but my kiddos are well fed, clean, loved, cuddled, played with, and feel safe here. For right now, that's good enough for us.

Giselle said...

Laughing...as I read your post, my girl child is eating a pile of Cheerios off the table (she dumps them out of the bowl immediately, so why bother?) with oatmeal congealed in her tangled hair. The baby is cruising around the kitchen eating Cheerios off the floor that his sister has dropped. Better than 2 minutes ago when I found him with a dog biscuit in his mouth (ew). Older brother hasn't taken a shower in...a week?...6 days? Does swimming count? Toys are...um...everywhere. There is a dish in the sink that has been soaking for...um...over 24 hours. No curtains (although we do have blinds)...walls scuffed and not painted...corners...ew...I haven't looked in the corners for a while...

But, then, I know that I have been beaten. I know that I am bested by these 3 creatures. I know my limits. More children would be cute and fun and interesting, but they will make the chaos in the house and our lives raise exponentially. And that is why I'm not going to go out of my way to have more children. And if my husband were gone...holy S*%!... I think THAT"S why I think she's crazy.

Shelly said...

Oh God, please don't send that reporter and photographer to MY house! I completely agree with you, and in fact, my children AND MY HUSBAND AND I all sleep on mattresses and box springs on the floor. It's just easier and yes, makes falling out of bed a non-issue. (Um, for the children. I haven't fallen out of the bed in years.) One of my friends asked why hubby and I sleep on the floor and I replied, "Well, after we broke the bed frame, we didn't have much choice." That shut her up quick! HAHA!

kate w. said...

Would you please tell me if there is a house for sale very near you? We could be friends! and we could go shopping to Target with Mr.Pickles! and you could make me coffee in the morning because I would be over all the time so you could make me laugh! Oh wait, you DO make me laugh (almost) everyday and even though moving to your neighborhood and sitting and drinking coffee with you sounds fantastic,I could never sell my house since my three children have trashed it and it is looking like a crack house with all of my laundry piled up and dirty dishes... and cat vomit (ok I DID clean that up right away this morning!)
I O'heart you!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

ktjrdn said...

Heh. My husband and I actually took our bed frame apart and stacked it in the closet for a while. I liked the bed on the floor. Plus, it avoided ... uh... squeaky issues. Now we have a frame, and I don't realy like it.

Hillary said...

We cover a lot of "dirty house" stories at the paper I work at, and some of them are shocking. Feces, flies, roaches -- yuck. But a couple have been crusty plates and a couple dirty diapers, and I've wondered how long it'll be before my house makes the news.

St said...

"But if they are lacking in many other areas as well (no curtains, general messiness of the house, mom doesn't have a job, etc) then it seems to indicate a LARGER problem in the household"

Not to be argumentative but maybe these aren't the best criteria by which to judge other parents. The fact that you jump straight to "they must be poor" (which, so what??) to me, that says you will automatically assume the worst.
My girls beds are on the floor because DD#2 has seizures. I got my first living room curtains last summer, my house is a mess (in the same ways Swistle mentions) and I don't have a "job". Of course, I have a husband and he has a job so I guess it's all okay.

I'm glad she's getting the assistance she needs and I do not feel the need to temper that with a judgment about her decisions.

the new girl said...

HA HA HAAA! Oh! The picture of that COUCH at the end just KILLED ME.

You are, as usual, so right. I've been BLIND to the shitstorm that has been following that woman and all of that kind of media attention makes me queasy and uncomfortable, no matter who the target is.

I make an exception for people in failing companies accepting MILLION DOLLAR BONUSES, though. Let's dig into THEIR lives.

stephanie said...

You're right. The things you mention aren't what make her an unfit mother. There are PLENTY of legitimate reasons why this woman is a sad, horrifying excuse for a parent...

Actually, horrifying doesn't even do it justice. I abhor her.

Lora said...

my kid has a bed that cost more than a month's rent in my first apartment, but my bed is on the floor. By choice though. It makes me feel like I have higher ceilings. Don't ask. I am a mental patient.

Also, I have worked in social work for almost a decade, and my house is full of things that I would report other people for. So sad. Jake ran thru the living and dining room with a knife this morning. And not a butter knife.

Oops.

Rah said...

For a similar perspective, and a drop-dead gorgeous wedding photo, see Pasta Queen's post at http://pastaqueen.com/halfofme/archives/2009/03/that_woman_with_14_kids.html

I don't see the wisdom of what the octuplet mom and her physician did, but it's nice to see people taking some different perspectives.

stephanie said...

I hope people realize the issue isn't solely that she chose to have 14 children. Pasta Queen's grandmother and the Octomom are WORLDS apart.

Ahhhh, I have to stop talking about this or I will explode.

Blame it on my bitter, infertile heart. I really, REALLY can't take people defending her.

And BELIEVE ME, I know I'm so high up on my horse right now you can barely see me. I know. And I don't care even a TEENY bit.

This issue is one of very few that I'm passionate about. She makes me physically ill.

AndreAnna said...

Right. The. Frick. On.

Michelle said...

Infertile me agrees with infertile Stephanie. She is making us look like a bunch of crazies and we already feel bad enough!

I don't care about the mattresses on the floor or the clutter. I do find it hard to believe that she honestly feels she can give each of her 14 the care and attention they deserve on a daily basis for the next 18 years. 14 kids that are 14 different ages might be one thing, but 8 going through all the same stages are approximately the same time? No way.

And, she makes me - and others trying desperately to expand our families by one, maybe two - look crazy. I hate it when people make me look crazy.

Alice said...

maybe THIS is why my mom was so anal about keeping the house clean growing up? in case a reporter showed up and tried to make her look like a bad mom? :-)

Kristine said...

When I saw the pictures of the "mess" of her house, I was like - "uh, looks like a kid lives there. I didn't have a matress frame for most of high school. And then in college for a while. Not because I didn't have one available to me, but because I liked it that way.

Plenty of other reasons she needs a pschiatrist, but not for the housekeeping.

Hotch Potchery said...

We made children of opposite sexes SHARE A ROOM until the elder one was 11. Apparently we are lucky they didn't go all Flowers in the Attic on us. Oh, and while Mr. P and I were both in college, we got foodstamps. In my opinion, not letting your children eat healthy to avoid embarrassment is a sign of bad parenting.

Joceline said...

Thank you! Our new realtor showed up yesterday afternoon to check our place out before listing it, despite the fact that she specifically said she'd come TODAY. Which means...I was unprepared for a visitor and the house was a wreck. I was actually in the process of cleaning in preparation for her arrival THE NEXT DAY so everything was up off of the floor for mopping and was instead piled on tables, couches, beds, etc. Laundry was piled high. Toys were everywhere. Both kids were in droopy old stained diaper covers and t-shirts. I was a sweaty mess in sweats FOR CLEANING. I'm sure she thought I was a nut job.

Mommy Daisy said...

Um, it's bad if sheets aren't changed in two weeks? Really? What about 2 months? Is that bad?

Mommy Brain said...

I think the difference between you and her is that she sought out media attention for monetary gain. There was another set of octuplets born 10? (11?) years ago and they did not invite people into their home for $$$ and in general have stayed out of the public eye.

Miss Grace said...

This reminds me of the Caylee Anthony case and how the news kept reporting on how Casey once called her daughter a snot head! Evidence of murder! Now there is a LOT of legitimate evidence against that woman, but referring to a two-year-old as a "snot head" in an INSTANT MESSAGE does not equal MURDER.

Tess said...

Something you once wrote that I think of OFTEN is how you ask yourself whether a certain thing (cleanliness of house, clutter, etc) ACTUALLY bothers you, or whether you just think it SHOULD bother you, based on what bothers OTHERS.

Good stuff.

stephanie said...

Oh MommyBrain, there are 80 kajillion differences between Swistle (and all these moms!) and that woman.

Jess said...

This is NOT irrelevant. It is AWESOME and TRUE.

Elizabeth said...

I try to remind myself on daily basis "A three hundred dollar car seat isn't what makes you a good mom". Right there with you, sister. d

Joanne said...

I agree with Jess on every point - not irrelevant, awesome and true. I saw some ninny on the Today show, when they were *listening to a call that the octuplets' mother made when she thought her son was missing* and she said that neither she nor anyone she knew would ever get that upset. I thought well la - de - freaking - da, lady! Aren't we all different? I am a) crazy and b) pregnant and c) crazy and sometimes I overreact to things, and I don't think it makes me crazy even IF YOUR FRIENDS wouldn't do it. Sheesh.

And I really don't think it's the end of the world if a family doesn't have curtains or is 'poor'. Sheesh.

Melospiza said...

Yes! Yes! YESYESYES!

I think this EVERY TIME I see/ hear a news story about some family that had something unfortunate happen to them that can even remotely be construed as their "fault." Now everything about that family is bad! They don't make the bed! Bad! They don't put the laundry away the second it comes out of the drier! Bad! They maybe haven't cleaned out the refrigerator in a few weeks! Bad! Never mind that every normal family does this shit and furthermore IT DOESN'T MATTER.

And then, what makes me the MADDEST, is that my stupid MIL gets into the whole thing. Am I sending a child to preschool (PRESCHOOL) in pajamas? I'd better be careful: "a friend" of hers says that's a signal to call social services. Is my child sleeping on the floor (beside his bed, which is THERE, just not the sleeping area of choice)? Better look out; social services might care. *steam coming out of ears*

Better stop now. But I so, so hear you.

Kathy said...

How funny you should post this blog the very day after I put my toddler on a mattress (on the floor) to sleep at night. Not because we can't afford a toddler bed, but because hubby took too long wiping it down and it wasn't ready by toddler's bed time!

Christina said...

Aww, your toilet has the scunginess too?! Glad to see I'm not alone! ;)

Beth said...

yes, the octomom is nuts. obviously. the doctor who treated her is equally if not MORE to blame for the situation. now we have a woman with 14 kids and no way of providing for them. now what? hating her, abhoring her, will not unring the bell. i'm glad i don't have 14 kids and no way to feed them is all i'm saying.

stephanie said...

No, it won't unring the bell, but neither will pretending that her choices are OK. That they won't physically and emotionally damage most, if not all of these kids.

I hope all of her children are provided for, but am I going to support her and her disgusting sense of entitlement? Heck no.

When reproductive endocrinologists like mine and infertile couples like my husband an I are lumped into one mass category with her completely unethical doctor and HER, there is no room in me for support. None.

And that is saying a hell of a lot for me. She makes a mockery of the suffering so many of us go through. I wish NOTHING but good for those babies, but I've got nothing for her.

And again, it has NOTHING to do with the state of cleanliness in her home.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Didn't read through all the comments yet, so sorry if this is a repeat... but...

I'm pretty certain (The Gods Of Parenting,tm) Jon & Kate + 8 had matresses on the floor for their little ones. I'm certain I've seen episodes when they were napping on matresses on the floor.

It makes so much more sense so they don't fall out of bed and get hurt.

GEEEEZE.

(I don't actually watch a lot of Jon & Kate, and don't really consider them The Gods Of Parenting, but seems like whenever anyone talks about Families With Lots of Children, they get referred to as the benchmark, lol).

Anonymous said...

You should be a pundit on Dr. Phil, Oprah, Today Show, etc. because you rock, and you are so eloquent. I will be your agent if you like. THANK YOU for this post. :) ~ Jenny in MD

Beth said...

rational people don't think infertile couples are like octomom. she's obviously one in a billion- mentally unstable working with an unethical doctor.

i feel bad for her kids; i hope it works out for them somehow. it's going to be a tough life.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Your couch just needs the Band-Aid tool. Sorry, I can't ever forget about that. I get tears in my eyes when I think of your fridge :) That's all for now, Pundit Swistle!!!! ~Jenny in MD

thefrontroom said...

swistle - you rock.

St said...

ITA with Beth I have not heard ANYONE lump Nadya together with other people using IVF.

Tipsy said...

Good points. Parenthood doesn't require perfection, otherwise none of us would be here.

I might keep my house cleaner than some, but neglect helping my kids with homework. Or vice versa. Who is to say which is more important?

Mama Bub said...

For the record, if the toys are picked up off the floor it's a SPECIAL OCCASION around here.

I take issue with some of the actions of Octomom, but certainly not toys and mattresses on the floor.

Jen said...

Yay! Someone who voiced my frustration about this whole media-frenzy over Nadya. It is truly frightening what people seem to be willing to do to this mom. What happens when the media decides that what YOU (or I) are doing is wrong and should get the same negative attention? It's all fun and games when it's someone else they're picking on.

Kristin.... said...

I am screwed. Right now, you cannot walk in my living room as it's littered with toys. The dishes from dinner are still on the counter. There is laundry in the hallway. However, my kids are happy and sleeping.

I think we're all screwed. At some point, something someone does will seem wrong to someone else and there will be a big bruhaha about it.

It will be lovely when she fades into the background and we don't have to hear about her anymore.

amber said...

You, Swistle (as usual) are exactly right. It makes me so angry when people find fault in ridiculous, unimportant things.

There was a story in the local newspaper about two girls, ages 3 & 4, who were locked outside in fifteen below zero weather. One was without a coat or socks. Upon investigation, the parents were discovered to have another child SLEEPING IN FECES and several prior offenses. THAT is wrong and abusive.

Dirty dishes and no bed frames? Trivial bullshit.

Kelsey said...

Oh yes, if anyone had walked into my kitchen this morning they surely would have grabbed the children and walked right out of there - I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Most of the time there is a disaster in some part of this house. I don't feel like the world's best mother by any stretch, but I'm pretty sure the authorities shouldn't be taking my kids away. It's hard to get a complete picture of anything through the media lens.

bluedaisy said...

I agree with you- excellent post-- and a really good reminder that we shouldn't be so quick to judge.
And really, no matter how you slice it, there are still 14 kids who need someone to take care of them. That's the thing that gets me. Their wellbeing- as well as mom's- is lost in the media storm.
Let's also remember that the media is going to paint this story in the worst light possible. There are many issues no doubt- but we should all be praying that things work out for the best because those children deserve a decent life. I don't think even "Octomom" knew exactly what she was in for...

Michelle said...

Ahhhh... you crack me up. This is why I can't stand to follow so much of the media. I want to make sure they stay away from me!

Karla said...

Thank you. I was starting to feel bad about my pile of dishes waiting to be washed and the 7 loads of laundry that I was walking on as I passed through the living room tonight. Tonight especially, I needed to hear that it's okay.

Kelly said...

great post. I have thought the talk about the conditions of the house were pretty silly too (some of them. the house was clearly not ready for 8 newborns but may have been ok for the status quo). My child eats off the floor and I don't even blink. the back of my practically new couch is taped together with duct tape that by some lovely miracle, matches the color of the leather. My dog apparently thought there was something IN the couch that merited getting out. We had a bed on the floor for my son for a long time for the falling-out-of-bed reason. My house is a flippin disaster. Its not dirty, but its a total mess. And I don't even have normal guilt about dirty dishes and mountains of laundry. I say F it on a regular basis. Our yard is pathetic because of the aforementioned dogs. I don't think anyone could guess our income based on the appearance of any of those things. Nor could anyone guess how much we love our kids based on either the appearance of our landscaping or how much money we make. And God forbid someone judge us as fit based on our past. Our marriage has been on a ride or 2 in the last 5 years. There's lots of stuff that, on paper, would look pretty if-y.
Luckily however, we have not made a choice to put ourselves in the public eye. This IS a touchy subject in regard to rights and laws and whatnot, but clearly there is some good sense lacking here on the parts of several people. Love isn't the only issue. She may be capable of loving them to the ends of the earth, but humans do have this irritating habit of requiring some physical and material items like clothes, food, safe shelter, and maybe, if they're lucky, a stable environment.

Other than hoping that they all get what they need...I am so tired of hearing about that woman. I hope she keeps the beds without frames in the NEW house just to thumb her nose at...someone.

but I have nose thumbing issues.

anyway...great post as usual.

Anonymous said...

So I'm wondering something...When I think about Nadia Suleman, it just feels...wrong somehow. Something's not jiving, and it has nothing to do with clean/messy house. I wonder if the media is cottoning on to this feeling of 'wrongness' with the whole situation and sensationalizing whatever they can.

Obviously, the media is vilifying her, maybe because she was so blatent about wanting to publicize her story. Regardless of whether her choice was good or not, the fact that she was so eager to (in my opinion) exploit her children for financial gain immediately turned people off.

And don't even get me started on Jon and Kate. Yikes.

Up here in Canada, there were quints born several decades ago to a poor Quebecquois family, who were persuaded that since they couldn't care for that many children, they should be taken into care.

What happened next was called 'Quintland' where these poor little children were essentially living in an amusement park, paraded out 3 times a day and subjected to all kinds of abuse (google 'dionne quintuplets' for more info). John and Kate and Nadia Suleman all smack of similar situations....

Getting off my high horse now.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say, my 2 toddler boys' mattresses are on the floor of their bedrooms. They DID have bedframes, up until one fell into the footboard and had to get 3 stitches in his forehead. A week later my other boy had a repeat performace: 3 stitches near his left eye. I yanked those MFers (the bedframes, not my boys!)

Badness Jones said...

Well said. My babies both gave up sleeping in a crib well before their first birthdays (one would make herself puke over the edge as soon as we put her in, the other learned to climb out at 8 months old) so we've done a lot of the mattress on the floor thing. I'm a fan. I have issues with the medical establishment that allowed her to have so many children, but the fact is that they're here, and demeaning their mom isn't going to help anyone.

Tracy H said...

I wanna know where all of you messy moms are!! Sometimes I feel like I am the only mom that can't keep up with the laundry, goes to bed with dishes in the sink and doesn't make her kids beds. Seriously, where are you because I feel like I am surrounded by "supermoms!"

DCMomma said...

I see both sides of the coin. I think since I have become a mom I am more understanding of all moms. So try not to judge. My biggest worry for her is care for her kids. Dr. Phil stepped in and she agreed to that round the clock care by that angel company. I think any and all help can make this a happy story. Especially with her already having so many kids before the octuplets.

This is a great post. We all can't be superwoman all the time. It is nice to know we aren't alone!

Joanne said...

My house is pretty clean, but it's always a bad sign to my husband when it's clean, because it means that I am really nuts. I tend to take out all my frustrations and anger at the world on my floors. Plus it's sometimes the only thing I feel like I can control. So don't be fooled!

Bring A. Torch said...

This raises a ton of issues and is fabulously relevant, so I will have to limit myself to what I know from my own life, which is: you can enjoy ridiculous material privilege as a child and still be miserable.

Cagey said...

I heart this post. Completely.

I, too, did not buy a bed frame for my son's bed because of the "falling out" issue. Not that it matters, because both kids co-sleep with us anyway. Yet another reason, I would be crucified: "family too poor to buy beds for all its members". No, we could afford beds for each family member, we CHOOSE to sleep together. Bah.

Don't even get me started with the "toys all over the floor". If having a clean floor is considered a bastion of Good Parenting, then lock me up now and throw the keys away. Game over.

zoot said...

I've been asked repeatedly what I think about Nadya's story since I had my own fertility issues. I think people expect me to go on some tirade about her having all the kids when some of us struggle.

Instead? I said exactly what you said. Whether or not she should have had those children is not worth debating. What pisses me off is the criticsms of her motherhood. I don't know about you - but we have children here in Alabama being beaten and starved to death. The CPS is so understaffed that some of THOSE cases don't get the attention they need, yet someone thinks we should worry about a girl whose house isn't big enough for her family? I'm not going to judge her at all because I could never live up to the same standards she is being judged with. I'm the one who went 5 days without bathing my kids once, for chrissakes.

Stimey said...

I feel the same way. Who are we to judge and say she shouldn't have so many kids? Who are we to comment on her house?

I'm not necessarily her biggest fan, but I combat that by not paying attention to her.

Chantal said...

Bravo!!!