1) I won’t allow my child to be baptized. I’ve never been particularly religious, and, honestly, the only time I pray is when I want something. My spiritual beliefs don’t line up with any one religion or way of thinking, and I plan on raising my child to be knowledgeable and respecting of all belief systems. So why the fuck would I designate any particular religion as Riley’s preferred way of thinking?
Answer: I won’t. I’ll expose him to various religions, and leave it up to him to pick one out for himself – or not.
2) I’m open to the opinions of others. I even ask people for their opinions. And, according to some, that’s not just a bad thing – it’s pure lunacy! Obviously, if I ask people for their opinions, I don’t know what I’m doing! Obviously, it must mean that I’m unprepared and indecisive! Obviously!
Look, I have a good idea of my parenting style – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to improve it. What’s the harm in taking stock of what other moms are doing? What’s wrong with figuring out the popularity of my first inclination? What’s the matter with keeping up to date with trends in child rearing? Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.
3) I don’t take the opinions of others. Ok, so I took an impromptu poll on the popularity of, say, circumcision, and the majority of my friends are overwhelmingly pro-circumcision. Does that mean that I’m gonna have my son circumcised? Fuck no. It just means that I was curious.
What? I’m not allowed to ask your opinion if I don’t intend on following it? Fuck you.
4) I won’t circumcise my son. Call me crazy, or call me a hippie, or call me either and assume that doing so implies the other. Either way, I value the sanctity of my child’s body. I’m weary of altering it for any reason and I need really good proof that any alterations I make to my child’s body are for his well-being. As far as I’m concerned, circumcision is a socially-sanctioned practice that has no benefits outside of those ensured by proper hygiene and safe sex.
If Riley wants to nip his schlong later on, then fine. But am I willing to alter his body [and thereby potentially diminish his sexual pleasure] just for the sake of following the crowd? Hell no.
5) I’m giving my son a “girl’s name.” Um, really? You’re saying that I’m scarring my kid for life because I’m giving him an androgynous name? That I’m somehow making him less of a man by doing so? That I’m emasculating him, and therefore making him more susceptible to teasing?
Wait till you see what other therapy-inducing scenarios I’ve got up my sleeve: Like teaching him to be proud of who he is; explaining that there will be people who will dislike him for any number of reasons – the color of his skin, the flag or his origin, the tint of his sunglasses, et al. – but that the only opinion that matters is his own.
You have a problem with “Riley” being the name of my son? You can suck it.
6) I’m hoping my son turns out to be a proud freak, geek and/or queer. I know that it would be simpler if he just wanted to stick to the status-quo and follow socially-acceptable mores – but would it be better? Nope, not as far as I’m concerned.
I want him to think for himself, to be creative, to be intelligent, and to be fearless. I want him to be an individual, and to wear his other-ness with pride and distinction. I want him to cultivate goodness in his heart and know that no matter what he does, as long as he’s true to himself, he can do no wrong.
7) I’m exposing my son to the “liberal agenda”. I consider myself a liberal, and if you’re not sure what that means, read this. Is it wrong that I’m going to raise my kids to have my values? Only as far as it’s wrong to raise your kids to be compassionate and free-thinking.
8 ) I haven’t yet earned a degree or started a stable career. You tell me that you’re waiting until you’ve got a bunch of dollar bills in the bank before you have a baby, and I say “More power to you.” If that’s what you wanna do, then I support it most definitely. But that’s not the decision that’s right for me, and from the snide sound of your voice, I gather that you’re not exactly respectful of that fact.
Go ahead. Stay on your high horse. Just use it to get out of my face. Pronto.
9) I have an *ahem* interesting past. I know, I know. I should have known better. All those times I was feeling strangers’ balls bounce on my ass, I should have instead looked into a crystal ball, seen my future motherhood, and decided not to engage in any *ahem* questionable situations. I should have been preparing for the future, and obviously that means sticking to the straight and narrow, never deviating from socially acceptable norms, and practicing the discipline of a Shaolin monk.
That way, when my kids have questions about riske subjects, I can either censor them completely or truthfully say that I have no idea what they’re talking about. Because, ya know, shutting them up or leaving them curious is waaayyy better than giving them answers and maybe revealing that I’ve lived a little.
10) I’m going to make mistakes. You see what I’m doing and you’re afraid: it reminds you of something your parent/s did that’s left you scarred. Consequently, you tell me that I should get married, or spend more time with my child, or do more for myself, et al. And ya know what? I’m gonna assume that you sincerely have mine and my kid’s best interests in mind.
The thing is, you have nothing to worry about. Am I going to make mistakes? Most definitely. But are they going to be the same mistakes that your parent/s made? Not likely. I’m probably going to find new and creative ways to screw up my kids.
Listen: we’re all fucked. Some of us are just more aware and better adjusted than others.
Relax. Me and mine will be A-ok.