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.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...