Tag Archives: mothers

Another reason to be happy…

…I’m a guy.

Showers.

Of course, I’m not talking about the kind where you stand under streaming water to get clean. I’m all in favor of those. I’m talking about bridal showers, baby showers, and any other kind of showers that are little more than shake-downs, cleverly disguised as social events.

Mrs. Poolman and I were looking over our calendars for the next month or two to see what is coming up. Mrs. P noted that on one weekend later this month, she has a baby shower on one day and a bridal shower on the other.  I am SO glad neither of the hostesses was crazy enough to declare one of the events a “couples shower.” I hope I don’t give anyone an idea.

I understand the concept behind the showers. In theory, a group of the bride’s/new mother’s friends get together to “shower” the recipient with gifts to help them get started with their new married life or parenthood. Great idea. Keep it to the friends and immediate family who really want to help, and I’m all for it. What happens however, in an effort to increase the mass of presents, the guest lists extends out another generation to include the friends-of-family, etc. Attached to that invitation is an implied social obligation to pony up a gift and attend, whether you want to or not. Saying “no” is not an option. (“You know, when our daughter gets/got married…”)

In the case of the upcoming bridal shower, Mrs. P was invited because the groom’s mother is a long-time co-worker. I’m not sure Mrs. P would recognize the bride if she bit her on the leg.

The family organizing the baby shower doubled down on the misery. It seems the honoree and her sister had the poor timing to get knocked up with their first child within a few days of each other. (Must have been a heck of a weekend!) So the family decided to have a double baby shower.

That is an insidious little trick. At face value, it looks like a great idea. The more the merrier, right? But think about it for a moment. While family members obviously have connections to both mothers-to-be, many of the friends may be close (or maybe not really even that close) to only one of the guests of honor. Even so, they are now arm-twisted by a social obligation to purchase gifts for both of them.  (“The shower is for both sisters. I CANNOT show up with only one present.”) Nice trick.

I had an idea for Mrs. P to reduce her invitations to future showers, at least the bridal showers anyway. One of her good friend’s, daughter’s, partner (It’s complicated, sorry.) manages a sex-toy shop. I suggested she shop there for the bridal shower gift — the larger and more inappropriate, the better.

Her gift would certainly be remembered, and maybe even appreciated. You certainly can’t say the same thing about that off-brand chafing dish, or a cutting board. Plus, the word would get out and she would probably receive significantly fewer invitations to future showers.

Two birds with one stone.

Although Mrs. P laughed at my idea, she rejected it quickly. (In her defense, I think she really enjoys these girl-parties. These opinions are my own.)

“I can’t do that!”

“Why not?”

“Showers – they are part of the girl code.”

And that’s one more reason…

‘Why don’t I have a mother?’

Last week it was same-sex-marriages. This week it is same-sex-parents.

I heard on NPR this morning that actor Neal Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser) and his partner have gotten together with a surrogate mother to produce a set of twins (who are yet to be born.)

Neal Patrick Harris (l) and partner David Burtka

I’m not a homophobe. I really couldn’t care less what someone does in the privacy of their bedroom, so long as they aren’t hurting someone else. That’s the problem I have with this trend of gay and lesbian couples having children. There is potential harm.

I believe both mothers and fathers matter to children. Children absorb and learn different things from the different genders. In this case, why would you go through an incredible amount of effort and expense to create a child who will not have a mother? Did your mother not play an important part in your life? Why would you deny your child the benefit of having both a mother and a father?

The nephew of some of our friends went through the same process about a year ago. The two guys ended up with twin girls. While I’m sure these two guys will love and care for their daughters to the maximum extent of which they are capable, but they are limited biologically in what they can provide. Neither is female. The two girls will be raised without a mother or mother-figure. How will that affect the girls? I don’t know, but it can’t be ideal.

It seems like an incredible act of self indulgence. The same-sex parents get a baby to play with, but the child is the one who is missing one parent.

Of course, in today’s climate of “starter marriages,” “no-fault pregnancies” and high rates of divorce, missing parents are all too common with “straight” families.  The difference is that, usually, the parents do not plan to make it that way from the outset.

I feel the same about single women who elect to have a baby without benefit of a functioning father?  I don’t understand the benefit to the child of not having a father.  I guess some mothers really think you are going to be so good as a parent that they can fill both roles. Some of the time, and maybe even most of the time, many parents I know feel they stretching their abilities to handle one job, let alone two.

It may sound contradictory, but I don’t have any problem with gays or lesbians adopting children. Why? Because usually they are improving the lot of a child. By adopting, they are providing a child with a set of parents. While a male-female set of parents would be ideal, same-sex parents are better than no parents at all.

The question is simply this: In the grand scheme of things, is a would-be parent’s desire to have a child of greater importance than that child’s need for both a mother and a father? It’s something to think about.

Ironically, Harris is also the star of the CBS sitcom, “How I Met Your Mother.” That is one story he won’t have to tell his real-life kids.