More than the sum of her womb.

28 Jul

You know what I’m sick of.

I’m sick of this shit.

Bitch, where’s your kids? Here’s Britney Spears hard at work on a plan to get custody of her kids back

. Her plan so far involves some pool lounging and flirting with anonymous dudes.

But we know Britney. We can see the gears sparking and grinding in her head. It smells like beef jerky. That’s how you know Britney’s plotting something.

 

Yes, Britney surrendered custody of her children to their father. Yes, she’s had various problems in the last little while. We know.

What drives me nuts each time I open my feed reader are posts that basically stand back and point a “HOLY SHIT DUDES! HORRIBLE MOTHER AHEAD!!!!!” finger at her, which numerous male stars walk out on their children, likely every day. And it’s everywhere-how dare someone with a working womb and vagina give up her kids, maybe to get better, or maybe because, like men all over the world, she can’t handle having them all the time.

This constant assumption of the sainted perfect mother who can’t be separated from her kids-this drives post partum depression, this drives women who work 60 hour work weeks and yet still make the cookies for playschool. It drives women not being able to make the reasonable decisions regarding their children because only bad monster mommies leave their kids. Only evil mommies dare act like men. How on earth could the womb that bore them walk away so easily?

To which I ask, how on each can the ejaculator who created them walk away so easily?

It’s so pervasive, so easy to think “Geez, what a cooze, leaving her kids and going sunbathing.” It’s so easy to judge, so easy to believe she’s a bad mother for leaving instead of a good mother for removing herself in order to get better for them. I could be wrong. She could be a brainless idiot who created a mental illness to rid herself of two children she didn’t want.

Somehow I doubt it.

It’s easy though isn’t it, to point at a woman in a way that we wouldn’t dream of pointing at a man-how many have children in or out of relationships, and all they’ve done is throw money at them? I’m sure you’re all counting right now.

What I expel from my uterus does not make me sacred, or special, or holier. It makes me a mother, as it makes the father a father. He is not blessed with special properties-hell, if he takes custody, he’s some sort of sacrificial cow, gazed at adoringly as a perfect piece of man. The woman-not so lucky, as she is selfish enough to not want her pwecious bebes. 

I don’t want my daughters to grow up in this world-in a world where every tabloid sings the lusty sins, perceived or real, of 15 year old girls, where your gender casts you out in specific ways, where the “good kid” doesn’t always win. I want a world with real freedom for women, not viral campaigns against something written on shitty underwear at K-Mart or pissing matches on the internet.

I want us ALL to have the freedom to walk away if need be. Just like our men do.

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16 Responses to “More than the sum of her womb.”

  1. karriew July 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    The double standard is revolting. I’m personally so very tired of and by it. Brit is/was a mess, but excellent point that she may need some R&R as part of her recovery. I don’t want to walk away from motherhood, but I know I would like some lounging.

  2. cj July 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm #

    Ummm, we should all have the freedom to walk away from our kids?
    I understand where you’re coming from, but we’re talking about kids, right?
    I mean, yeah, if you’re that f’ed up, I guess… but I think the point is that you’ve got to be pretty f’ed up to walk out on your kids.
    It’s one thing to have issues and want to get help and to want your own life. We all face that. It’s even understandable to get in a relationship that isn’t working and to struggle to get out. But to walk away from your kids and not do everything in your power to get back in there and be a part of their lives is pretty hard to understand – regardless of gender.
    The celebrity media are at the bottom end of the scum pond, but people pick up the magazines and watch the entertainment news shows, thus feeding the beast.
    It isn’t about turning a blind eye, but it’s about turning it off. Stop feeding it. Why are people like Brittany and Paris rich? How have they enriched your life?
    She’s screwed up because she’s got all the money in the world, and she’s still 14 years old, emotionally, with all the money in the world, and having children was just another thing to add to her career list.
    Ok, yes, she deserves a break. She deserves a tropical vacation. She has lived such a hard life. Hmm, maybe that’s not fair, seeing as I don’t know the whole story. All I know is there’s people like you and me, who work crappy ass jobs for crappy ass pay who manage to still look after their kids…
    Having kids is freaking hard. But if you’re mature enough to to bring one into the world (twice!) fess up and bloody well deal with your losses!
    When your kids are 18 years old you can go piss off and do all the crazy shit you want. Until then, either your life is your kid’s, or your kids get taken away from you.
    It’s called priorities and unfortunately, when someone who is unable to look after themself is under your care, they come first.
    It can suck sometimes, but such is life!

    Perhaps I’m just way off the mark here. Thinking about it, I guess I understand that you think everyone needs a little sympathy. No one’s perfect. Not me. Not you. But I haven’t seen anything from her that would elicit my sympathy. I haven’t seen her donating to charity, or giving concerts to children from poor families. I see her going to clubs, getting hammered, going to the beach and generally doing very little to get her kids back.
    If I were in her shoes, I’d be doing a lot more to be a part of my kid’s lives. She’s missing so much.

  3. Eden July 29, 2008 at 1:26 am #

    But… but… you have a womb. And you’re supposed to use it. An absolutely adore everything that comes out of it. Every woman is supposed to be a mother. I mean, that’s what I hear. And what I’ve always heard. So it must be true… right?

  4. Shana July 29, 2008 at 3:55 am #

    Amen sister. Did you ever read Allison Pearson’s “I Don’t Know How She Does It”? In it, Pearson writes (about kids), “In general, men walk away because they can. Women don’t walk away because they can’t.” What she means is that SOCIETY doesn’t let women walk away, whereas it freely condones men who pick up and leave after a roll in the hay.

    We’ve gotten a LITTLE bit further by inventing birth control. But until we stop the lies about the glories of motherhood, we still put women and girls at a huge disadvantage in our society.

    I think the most important next step is to break through the myths, to have the courage to expose parenthood for what it really is (an indentured servitude for 18+ years, with no pay and irregular rewards), to take the rose-colored glasses off naive females who don’t yet have children. The more we inform our females, the better off they will be.

    And frankly, it takes a few women like Britney to make it more acceptable that women CAN, and sometimes should, walk away from child custody. I’m not pointing the finger at her. I wish her all the best in becoming healthy again.

  5. thordora July 29, 2008 at 7:44 am #

    I am NOT saying that ANYONE should just walk away.

    But if I need to walk away from my kids to keep them safe, if I need to place them in their fathers hands for their own good, I SHOULD be able to do so without facing the glare of a double standard. You should be able to as well.

    The people in the media reflect the attitudes of the majority. Most people DO believe that a woman who dares give up her custody is a horrible mother. I don’t.

    I manage to look after my kids because I have people around me who love me and support me-money and fame does NOT mean any of these things, and I find it revolting that people assume it does. If I had people following me, waiting for me to make a mistake and constantly critiqueing my parenting, I’d go a little off. I find it highly repulsive that we spend our time condemming other women instead of trying to support them CJ.

    If her brain is truly like mine, as it seems. She has all the sympathy in the world from me, because she’s still alive. I wouldn’t be in her shoes.

  6. thordora July 29, 2008 at 7:45 am #

    @ Eden-you are SOOO right. I’m gonna go adore my next blood clots. kthxbai.

  7. B July 29, 2008 at 10:06 am #

    I haven’t received child support since October. I found out that the baby’s Daddy moved to Florida a full three months after he had actually moved. Call after call is made to the Attorney General’s Office to try and enforce the order or garnish his wages, but amazingly, I haven’t gotten any financial support, no matter how much I yell, or curse, or wail against him or our society. I’ve lived with my parents for the past year, trying to pay off medical debt from when my son lost his health insurance.

    Every time I hear about Britney’s kids, I think how lucky they are that they have two parents that love and support them. When you are living with the alternative of nothing, the fact that she’s still present and still trying speaks volumes to me.

  8. Judy July 29, 2008 at 11:21 am #

    Well …

    Britney: I really feel for her. I can’t imagine how messed up she must be after having spent the last 10 years of her life in the spotlight, with everyone telling her how great she is, and having every failure blown up for the whole world to see. If my early 20’s were on magazine covers and the TV, I’d look as bad as Britney, only without the money.

    I don’t have custody of my daughter. She was born when I was 17. I got married to her dad 4 days before my 17th birthday (married at 16, yes), because it was the “right” thing to do, and I feared my parents (well, my mom) would have him put in jail if we didn’t get married. I felt that our getting married was better than his going to jail.

    We got divorced when I was 21. I left him. I didn’t get custody of our daughter, not because I didn’t want it, but because I had no resources to fight a custody battle and he did (his mom’s money). Did I mention I was a stripper at the time? Because my lazy ass ex wouldn’t get a job, and he was fully supportive of me being a stripper? And both his family and MY family sided with him, even though no one really knew any of what was going on?

    Anyway: people hear that you are a non-custodial mother and assume you are a crack whore, a child molester, or hate your kids.

    Add to this the fact that we moved here, to Texas, 2 years ago, and my daughter stayed behind in Missouri with her dad, and it makes it so much worse. No one understands how I could do such a thing. Not that we didn’t have health insurance, and for us to afford it I would have had to work 2 jobs – one to pay for health insurance and another to pay for day care, because my husband’s contract required his department chair’s approval before he took on extra work and she wouldn’t grant it – and that my daughter was actually probably better off without constantly shifting back and forth between two households with drastically different sets of rules and values. They just see that I “voluntarily” moved 1,100 miles away from my daughter, and think I’m a bitch.

    Yes, mothers do need to have more choices.

    You know what though? So do dads. My husband is a non-custodial father who pays out the ass in child support, and gets no respect or appreciation or any say in his daughter’s life except for the 6 weeks a year she spends with us. Even during that time he has no real say, because her mother calls almost every day, and his daughter breaks down in tears whenever her mother calls, because she’s so sheltered and has such a hard time being away from home. (She’s 10, and can’t go to sleepovers because she always ends up crying and having to have her mom come pick her up in the middle of the night.) And he lives in constant fear that his ex will sue him for more money or deny him visitation or otherwise try to make life more difficult for him. (An example: She gets a portion of the sales from his book that was published while they were married. After her portion, taxes, and the money that goes to his agent, he LOSES 2% every time he sells a book.)

    So it does go both ways. And she left him, not the other way around.

    Back to Britney: SO she’s lounging on her balcony in a bikini with a cigarette, or whatever she’s doing. So? What, precisely, could she be doing to get custody of her kids back at that exact moment in time? It’s not like she could be in court, or making phone calls, or whatever 24 hours a day. And even if she doesn’t have her kids and really really does want them back, should she never do anything else but pine away for her babies?

  9. Judy July 29, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    Oh dear God I didn’t realize that was that long. I was interrupted 6 times by my own babies – change a poopy diaper, wipe a poopy butt, pour a cup of milk, help brush teeth, and break up some fights.

    I have moments where I want to be Britney and lounge in a bikini with a drink and a smoke.

  10. Sara July 29, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    I’m with you there. I hate the mental health stigma too. I hate that because I’m not married and have my kids on my own that Often when I think I’d do better seaking inpaitent treatment, I’m terrified too, and end up sending my kids to their grandparents until I can get my medication taken care of at home, because I’m afraid if a memeber of the wrong party finds out I’m hospitalized they will use it against me in court (they have already tried once, and it got them more visitation).

  11. Sara July 29, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Oops sorry.

    You know, if someone finds out you have a mental illness immediately they think your a less of a mother. More likely to kill your kids or beat them or punish them severely, or drive them into a river or whatever else.

    It’s scary to be Mentally Ill and a mom at times.

  12. Bon July 29, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    i have no categorical problem with non-custodial mothers, having walked with a friend through the leaving process and with my nephews through the being left process…i agree that there’s a total double standard and it’s harsh, and the judgements are frequently cruel.

    i do think we all have the right to be perceived as more than the sum of our wombs, and i want that for my daughter, and for yours.

    and yet i do still have a problem with Britney and the culture of entitlement she stands for and seems to uphold with her actions. or…at least that’s what gets reported, admittedly. i’ve never seen her do anything that seemed to be an effort to be the sum of anything i’m able to respect. i do hope she gets what help she needs for her mental illness. but mostly i just wish she’d go away quietly and live whatever life she’d like to as a never-heard-from-has-been.

    i know. i know. i’m uncharitable. but she pushes all sorts of buttons for me that have nothing to do with judging her on the basis of having given up custody.

  13. thordora July 29, 2008 at 12:49 pm #

    I agree Bon, but I think she stands at the moment as a bit of a figure head, and we endanger ourselves by dismissing her out of hand because she is who she is.

    A little less judgement for all parents who can’t be parents, perhaps a little more support? I don’t know the answer, since I know some people DO leave because it’s easier or cheaper, and then disappear.

  14. CharmingDriver July 29, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    Taking Britney out of the equation, the fact remains that non-custodial mothers are judged differently than non-custodial fathers, not opinion, in society as a whole. And that sucks. Because nobody is recommending the ”freedom” to walk away from responsibility for any parent but there should absolutely be the ”freedom” to heal and be a better parent to all, regardless of gender.

    You know what? I am going to stop here because I am unable to separate some of the harsher criticism of Britney from that of my own (crack addicted, mother of three) sister and it infuriates me. No view from the outside can ever give an onlooker the whole picture and the very idea that somehow money can cure addiction or mental illness sickens me completely.

  15. Susanna August 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    I’m pretty sure I couldn’t agree with you more… Seriously.

  16. Cynthia Page August 4, 2008 at 3:05 pm #

    Word.

    Britney – I’m not saying she’s not an idiot, but it is clear to me she is mentally ill. We also haven’t heard stories of her crazy escapades in quite a few months, but most people seem not to notice that. As well, only the outrageous gets press. No one can see her talking to her lawyer, getting therapy, taking her meds. Oh ye gods, she dared to spend some time outside not looking agonized. Lock the bitch up.

    Several places I have worked, I have known people who ended up out on stress leave (the soul-sucking atmosphere being a clear contributer). I cannot count the number of times I heard things to the effect of “She should be working. I saw her at the movie theatre / beach / store, therefore she’s fully capable of returning [to this hellish environment].”

    Bullshit. As someone who has (and continues to) suffer from mental illness, it is clear that people on the outside will usually assume a character flaw and rage against some perceived unfairness rather than educate themselves.

    Motherhood invites ridiculous judgement about arbitrary rules and standards. Motherhood plus mental illness and all bets are off.

    Sometimes I really wish it were possible to smack the stupid out of people.

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