Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What matters most

Warning: Rant in progress

When I was a kid, there was a family down the block from us with children close to my age. They seemed like the perfect family: two parents, two kids, a girl and a boy. My brother and I used to play with the kids, although I can't recall their names anymore. They're one of the many things that have vanished from my mind with the passage of time.

One thing I do remember, though, is how their family fell apart.

This seemingly normal family collapsed so suddenly it was shocking. The mother decided she'd married and had children to young, and left to "find herself."

First off, I feel like there was a period in the late 80's where this happened a lot. I'm not sure if that's just an impression I hold because of this family or whether it was a trend to leave your family.

But as an adult, I can't help finding myself condemning that woman. If she needed to leave her marriage, then I support her. But to leave your children—in my opinion, unconscionable. Because those children didn't ask for their mother to have children before she was ready. They weren't clambering at her conscious before—or apparently, even after—their birth.

Dads often get the bad rap for ditching a family. Worse is when they leave their families and start new ones, abandoning their children as if they were the leftover sofa that no one wanted to claim after the divorce. But woman can be just as guilty of this.

No one could ever know what they're getting into when they have children. The lifelong commitment, the love, the responsibility. And anyone who enters into the state too lightly deserves a good old fashioned wake-up call: It's not about you anymore.


1 comment:

  1. I completely agree. It goes both ways - for moms and dads. And here's the bottom line: divorce affects the kids more than it ultimately affects the parents. There are now studies that bear this out. If parents divorce before their kids are well into high school (the age might have been 18 but I don't remember exactly), the children are more prone to divorce themselves. I've seen this happen to multiple relationships. Thankfully many were "starter marriages" where there were no kids. But still, with the divorce rate of nearly 50% in this country, it seems like we give up awfully easily....