It seems like every time I turn around these days, I hear someone commenting on "how the kids are going to turn out" or someone gasping or looking at me like Im a beaten kitten at the fact that Im parentless. Let me tell you something, we already know it can be shitty, we dont need the help. But thanks anyway?
Actually, its not even that shitty. Its just the way our life happens to be. Some people cant walk or talk or read or do lots of "normal" things, and that doesnt make their life "shitty", it just makes it different. Your family background is the same. Of course the family splashed all over the latest volume of the Sears catalogue, draped in jewel toned cardigans and swooning over their healthy-hipped middle aged Golden Retriever makes the illusion seem achievable and wonderful, but maybe its all just that... an illusion.
I know tons of kids who come from single parent homes who are some of the most fantastic people I know. They learn at a young age what compromise is all about and they absolutely learn early about struggle and broken hearts. Im not saying this is good for a kid, but lets face it, its not exactly uncommon. These kids also empathize with other kids going through the same situation and learn to be a shoulder to lean on at an early age. Im also not saying that kids from loving, two-parent homes are not empathetic or fantastic, but you can read about them on every magazine shelf in the world... this is a post for the 'screwed up' kids.
Im not exactly sure what society considers normal. What is the family goal we all want to achieve for our future families? What exactly are we aiming for? This is what I hear...
Single parent - "Oh that poor parent, it must be so hard. Working all the time to the pay the bills, who even helps little Timmy with his math homework? No wonder he looked so sad at the Christmas Concert" In reality, little Timmy probably has the best math marks in the class and was just pissed off at the Christmas Concert because he was forced to be the donkey in the school play (that we all hated being in, by the way lol)
Dual Parent- "Oh must be nice to be little Timmy, having his mom home all the time to make his lunch and help him with his math homework, he probably looked so sad at the Christmas Concert because his parents didnt give him a new car for Christmas... little spoiled brat." Yup. I actually hear this, too. Kids from two parent homes are always "spoiled" and "ungrateful" because they come from a cakewalk of a life (didnt you know?!)
Foster Parent/Any other living arrangement that people dont hear about EVERY DAY- "Oh poor little Timmy, doesnt stand a chance. Did you hear that most kids in gangs these days come from similar backgrounds? I hope my kid doesnt befriend that hoodrat, he will get him in all sorts of trouble. No wonder he looked so sad at the Christmas Concert" Nope.. Timmy looked sad at the Christmas Concert because the rock in his shoe is pissing him off and he cant take it out because everyone is watching him.
Single parent homes are judged because dont give enough support to the child, but then mixed families with stepmoms and dads are judged because their is just too much going on and the kid doesnt get the attention he/she needs. And then, MY GOD, we have same sex marriages who apparently cant raise a decent child or polygamous households who also cant do anything right. Then we judge families of different race or religion, too! The judging just never ends.
I can tell you something right now... the only people who ever made me feel weird or like I was not going to be as good as kids from a "normal" household, were grown ass adults who laid their judgements on me. But dont worry, they sugar coated it with a head pat and a long face, accompanied with a long "awwwwww....." before they spewed their negative blanket of bullshit all over me.
Sleeping for a week at moms house, and then a week at dads house is NOT going to mess up your kid. Making them feel like they are different because of that, WILL mess up your kid. They are KIDS! They dont know shit from shoe polish, let alone what a "normal family situation" is. And what is a normal family situation, anyways? This is their reality, its not their fault, so dont make them feel like they are going to be the next Timothy McVeigh because mom happens to live a couple km down the road.
I guess what I am trying to say here, is that everyone faces struggles with their family as NO family is perfect. I feel like its the outsiders judgement and treatment towards these families that create the real issues. I personally know drug addicted gang members who come from great homes and I also personally know more than one doctor who managed their way through life just fine from a single parent family. However, I also know a few drug addicts from broken homes and a doctor from a great home... and I know tons of folks in between all the barriers who turned out to be jusssst fine. We need to do less profiling of specific kids and start giving a little more support to ALL kids... but keep in mind, its the folks who know struggle that create an empathetic and compassionate world, and with that, Ill take being a 'screwed up' kid any day of the week.