I used to think parenting was political because I am political, my family is political, but as I’m exposed to more parents online and in the real world, I realize I was wrong. Parenting is inherently political. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Private school, homeschool, or public school? City culture or country life? Everything is political. Every choice we make is scrutinized. Every box we check puts us into a column: “Us” or “Them”.
That being said, I have never been afraid to speak my mind, and that has gotten me into some tricky situations. Just this week I went on a Facebook rampage on a post debating raising minimum wage. Only after calling the original poster a snob and telling them they should be ashamed did I take a breath and realize that he was the significant other of one of the few people I consider a friend. Oops.
Imagine what I’m like when the issue involves my kids, or any kids for that matter.
I try to stay positive. I try to remember my own motto: that we are all here, all doing our best, all trying to raise these cretins into creatures that can take care of themselves and maybe even the world.
Man is it hard to remember sometimes.
It’s not hard to remember that the moms and journalists who brought measles back were well-intentioned. What is hard for me is the persistence and proliferation of the idea in the face of evidence. Facts. Facts like the doctor who started the rumor was stripped of his medical license for fraud and unethical practices. Facts like no one has been able to recreate his purported findings in subsequent studies. Facts like the diagnosis of ASD has risen over the last 10 years despite the number of unvaccinated children has quadrupled since 2001, all while measles has made a comeback with 917 cases reported so far in 2019. Compared to 37 in 2004.
Shouldn’t facts matter?
As parents, isn’t it our obligation to look at the science, look at the facts and make decisions based on the most-updated information possible? Don’t we owe it to our kids? Don’t we owe it to our kids to say we did our absolute best with the information we had?
There is room for disagreement when it comes to timeout regiments and bedtime routines. We can talk stats on whether or not kids should have chore schedules and allowances, best practices for gift giving, and teaching them religion, but please, please can’t we agree that facts matter?
Can you sense my frustration?
And it’s not just vaccines. Things like LGBTQ+ rights. As parents, no matter your religious affiliation, it should matter that children are 50 percent less likely to attempt suicide if they are supported by their family. 50 percent. It should matter that the kids are alive. It should matter more than faith. Lives should matter more. Our kids lives should matter the most.
In this world, in this time where facts are not just negotiable but disdained, what keeps me up at night is not whether working moms think I’m lazy or traditionalists think I’m ruining my kids. I don’t care if the rainbow flag on my front porch is offensive or if my grass is cut to the proper height. What I care about are the kids. I care about the kids being alive. And I just cannot understand how that is a negotiable issue. I cannot understand a world where facts don’t matter to parents.
How the hell else are we supposed to do any of this?
How are we supposed to go to bed at night and then look ourselves in the mirror next day and stand our own reflection if we don’t do our damnedest to keep the kids alive? Please. Someone explain it to me.
- http://healthland.time.com/2010/05/24/doctor-behind-vaccine-autism-link-loses-license/ .
- https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html .
- https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/percentage-of-young-us-children-who-dont-receive-any-vaccines-has-quadrupled-since-2001/2018/10/11/4a9cca98-cd0d-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html .
- https://www.cdc.gov/measles/downloads/measlesdataandstatsslideset.pdf .
- https://www.hrc.org/blog/family-acceptance-saves-lives .