Sunday, December 3, 2006

brit brit and a confession of sorts

As everyone knows by now, Britney and Kevin have split.
I was hopeful for the girl. I thought, she's seems pretty devoted to her kid(s). She was one of a handful of celebrities who are actually seen holding their children. Her wild days were past her, and she really beginning to seem to me to have her maternal hat on somewhat squarely.

Well, there was THIS.

and THIS.

and there was THIS, TOO, but I think this last one was just overblown. Anyone who actually holds their babes in arms will come across a moment where they may stumble. She might want to consider a sling for Jayden, however.

So she leaves K-Fed. Smart move. That decision gave me hope that she would continue to make wiser decisions for herself and for her kids.


Of course, soon after her separation, she began leaving the kids at home and partying with the scourge that is Paris Hilton.

I remember when I split with my previous husband-- I started hanging out with a friend who was somewhat toxic for me. I think it's normal for women who are finally free of and independent from a burdensome man to transition to a female friend who is equally toxic.

My friend was named Melissa Maier. She was so much fun! We clicked really well together pretty much immediately. She and I worked together as CNAs at a nursing home in town. We worked the swing shift (3p-11p), which left us with time to go out after work and time to sleep in in the morning. Did I neglect to mention that I had a 4 y.o. daughter at the time? Okay, well, I did. Paige was pretty much on her own or cared for by my mom in the mornings.

I was not a good mom. I was self-centered and focused on what I needed at the expense of my child's needs. I even allowed Melissa to, at times, discipline my child.

Looking back, I am totally embarassed by my lack of concern for Paige. Obviously I loved Paige, and I cared about what happened to her, but i was simply too preoccupied with what I wanted to see what she needed beyond the basic necessities. It takes work to be consistent with discipline, and I was too lazy and over-worked to deal with being consistent. I let Melissa take up the slack. She wasn't always the kindest person with her words towards Paige. I think she may have even begun to see herself as a parent-type to Paige.

Paige was a holy terror, as either my brother or sister will attest, but she was totally a product of her child-rearing. Kids who act up like she used to are often acting out to attract attention. Any attention (including negative) is better than zero or minimal attention; is better than feeling like your parent sees right through you except to yell at you.

It makes me so sad to see other women doing exactly what I did. It's difficult for me to say anything about that type of behavior without sounding condescending, and I have definitely been accused of looking down upon others from my high horse. I'm not, though. I have so totally been there, and I know the damage that can be done on so many levels.

Melissa and I eventually moved in together (ROOMIES! YAY! How FUN!), and Paige was miserable. Partying was intensified. Paige was usually gone for those parties because she did see her dad regularly, but then she would have to deal with tired, cranky, too busy for Paige mom. Sometimes hung-over mom, too. I thought it was all okay because i would party while she was gone. How could it possibly affect her?

Melissa was definitely my Paris-- until she started stealing money from my checking account, lost her job because she was always high and would call-in to work and then she eventually moved out. Abruptly with no notice and leaving me responsible for 4 more months on a lease that I could not afford on my own. I doubt Paris will do that to Brit-Brit, but you know what I mean.

I wonder how many women surround themselves with a toxic friend after a big break-up-- the kind of friend who can smell vulnerability and a desire for rebellion in a person and who feeds off of that to her own benefit. I've known other women who have gone through the same type of thing, but the difficulty is that a relationship of that type is not really recognizable until damage has been done. To kids. To the mother-child relationship. To the woman's financial well-being. To her mental well-being. And so on.

Poor Brit-Brit. She's just trying to assert her independence. She's trying to feel like she's not suffocating.

I hope she curbs her partying a bit simply because she will never gain back these years with her kids. Anyone who says to her, "Girl, you need this! Your kids are fine; they won't even know you're gone" etc are not doing her any favors. Our kids do not ask to be brought into this world; we brought them here, so the least we can do is respect their presence.

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