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Cross-posted at MotherTalkers.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed at MotherTalkers:

We had a lot of discussion over who we would choose to care for our children in the event something tragic happened to us. (Don't forget to write your wills, people!) The discussion was sparked by this diary of a controversial Washington Post column in which the columnist, Carolyn Hax, let this woman off the hook even though she said she would not take in her niece and nephew even if it meant they would have to go to foster care. The woman actually had the audacity to write Carolyn all hurt that she was not invited to her niece's and nephew's birthday parties -- and Hax coddled her. We thought the letter writer needed to grow a thicker skin and allow her sister to mourn the relationship she thought she had. After all, she basically told her sister that in a worst case scenario -- every parent's nightmare -- she would not be there for the children. Do you have backup guardians? Why did you choose them?

In somewhat related news, a diarist here at Daily Kos, "coquiero," wrote a wonderful piece on why it bothers her when people say she is a great mom. The mother of three, including a severely autistic 9-year-old, said it is almost a copout for not helping out. I agree with her that the biggest compliment anyone can pay a mom -- or any caregiver for that matter -- is a helping hand.

Fellow MotherTalker GiGi, who has a wonderful blog of her own called One Lazy Liberal, wrote about how industry is disgustingly trying to sell the toxic chemical BPA, which is surprisingly in a host of baby and children's products. She made sure to expose the names of some of the companies involved in this deceitful and unethical campaign, including Coca-Cola and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. What creeps.

In a more light-hearted discussion, we swapped ideas on home remedies. For example, did you know that Vicks VapoRub can also get rid of unsightly toe nail fungus? Ladies' Home Journal listed this and other home remedies as well as myths you should discontinue like treating burns with butter.

As I mentioned before, I went with my husband, children and in-laws to Connecticut and Washington D.C. two weeks ago. Here are some photos to stow away in the gratuitous file.

How is everyone doing? Have a good weekend!

Originally posted to Elisa on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 07:58 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good point about taking care of the kids (6+ / 0-)

    My wife & I have not chosen someone to raise our 2 year old daughter should the worst happen.

    I have three unmarried siblings. My wife has one married sister who simply doesn't know what to do with children, nor does her husband. We might do better with one of our grown children.

    We ought to work this out and put it in writing. Thanks for the reminder.

    Tipped; rec'd.

    Searching for intelligent life on the Internet. Please post a URL.

    by blue aardvark on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:25:11 AM PDT

    •  For me, when I considered this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it was 'who will continue her upbringing with the same or very similar values?'  

      This wasn't a family member.  As a divorced single parent, that wasn't even her father (who anyway, is largely AWOL).

      When I was having some surgery, I had put in my Will that my friends in the next state would be my preferred guardians for her.  This was obviously after in depth discussions with them.  

      When you are a single parent and there is an existing other parent, designating guardians is NOT a guarantee, but it's about the most you can do.  In my case, there were very good reasons why her father should not have become her guardian. The executors of my estate (different from the designated guardians)  had full knowledge of and experience with those issues which made him undesirable as a guardian, and were prepared to testify in court had that become necessary.  The executor knew what to do in the case of my death:  bring my daughter to the guardians.  

      My daughter is no longer a minor, but she  knows that if something happened to me, she'd have a family with those dear friends who had agreed to be her guardian.

      In the age of the internet every citizen is the constituent of every elected official. It is SO easy to make small dollar donations now.

      by pvlb on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 09:12:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  we haven't chosen anyone either- (0+ / 0-)

      we're a blended family- our two are almost 4 and 6, but i have a 15 year old, and he has 26 and 19 year old sons

      our parents are all much too old to take on the responsibility

      my son would go live w/ his dad, who he visits every single weekend anyway.  so i don't have to worry about him.

      my husband is an only child, i have an unmarried brother who lives in chicago (we're in connecticut) and my grown stepsons live in england.

      my 19 year old stepson is coming to stay here next week for three months.  i'm thinking he and/or his older brother would be the ones we'd hope would be willing to take the girls, if it ever came to that.

      i love my friends, but the only one i'd ask to take my girls has an abusive husband- maybe if they split up i'd ask her.

  •  I went to live with an aunt when I was 7. (6+ / 0-)

    My mother passed away and everything got very complicated with my father and older siblings regarding who was going to live where.  So my very rich aunt got custody of me.  She didn't really want me, but did it anyway and then played martyr about it for years to come with all her socialite friends .. 'look at me, I took in the poor little orphan girl of my dying sister' in addition to ongoing emotional and physical abuse. When I got older, I was told by another aunt that she wanted me yet she and her husband were very poor at the time and couldn't afford to take me in.  This aunt, along with my brothers and sisters, who were young adults at the time of my mother's death, have carried a tremendous amount of guilt that they didn't / couldn't step in and raise me.  They knew of the abuse I was undergoing, of the horrific childhood I was experiencing at the hands of this aunt and her husband, yet they did nothing.  Funny, these sibling all have children now and have asked my husband and me to be guardians should they die.

    Child custody is a very difficult decision to make when you think about and ask others to be custodial parents upon your death.  On one hand I have a comfort in the fact that I made it through a horrific childhood, am successful and happy, yet on the other hand my head does not allow me to think too often of such things regarding my own children because of the hurt I experienced myself as an orphan.

    My husband and I created wills years ago when we were traveling the world with our 3 children.  Very generic wills that last through time regarding bank accounts, savings, and custody.  

    Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. -- Rachel Carson

    by Silent Spring on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:28:15 AM PDT

  •  I Have No Plan. (6+ / 0-)

    My sister is an addict who has lost custody of her own kids to the state, my Mom is in her 60s (and would be fine, except my daughter is little and I don't think its a possible permanent placement) and my ex, her Dad, is severely mentally ill.

    I'd put it in writing....but I have no idea who to ask. My best friend lives half the continent away so it would take my daughter far from her father who she does get to see, as well as both Grandmas so I'd hate for them to lose touch with her.


    No idea.

    "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

    by vintage dem on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:33:20 AM PDT

    •  I work with children every day (3+ / 0-)

      who are in the custody of people other than their parents due to the same scenarios you have described above.  Some of these children are being well taken care of and some are not.  That being said, CPS and the courts goes out of their way (in my own experiences) to keep young children with family members .. even if the scenarios are horrendous and the living arrangements not conducive to a healthy upbringing.  And in my experiences mental health issues always surround these cases.

      I'm not going to advise you,  yet will ask you to think about something as a child survivor of abuse from a custodial parent:  Who do you think would unconditionally love your child like you love her?  Who would honor your memory in a healthy way?  Who could provide her with food, a home and clothing?  Who would have the energy and perseverance to advocate for her during her school years?

      Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. -- Rachel Carson

      by Silent Spring on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:54:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting Points (0+ / 0-)

        And it is a concern that she could end up with her Dad, even though he means well...he still battles serious issues.

        This is something I need to really think about and address soon....thanks for bringing it up!

        "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

        by vintage dem on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 01:16:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think in the case in the column (3+ / 0-)

    I think that the siblings must have had an especially awkward and inartful discussion. It's a shame there was so much hurt in it, and it seems to me that an aunt who was hurt to be excluded from birthday parties would be pretty likely to step in, in the end, if the worst happened.

    In any case, the best thing for the Mom to do would be to foster a strong relationship between her kids and her sister. The more their relationship grows (and to some extent, the older they get), the more likely it is that she will be willing and able to step in.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:48:36 AM PDT

  •  When my son was born, (4+ / 0-)

    the brother to whom I am closest and his wife still lived in the area. We made them godparents and agreed that they'd take my son if something happened to us.

    They've since moved out of the area and my son doesn't know them at all.  

    So we amended out wills ... if something happens to us my son goes to our best friends.  They have a son of smiliar age.  We've raised them together and it wouldn't disrupt his life at all to live with them.  

    Except they're now in middle school and hate each other's guts.


    Soon he'll be old enough that this kind of decision won't matter any more.

    "A guarantee of equality that is subject to exceptions made by a majority is no guarantee at all." San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney, Therese Stewart

    by DMiller on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:53:40 AM PDT

  •  We haven't decided yet, either. So in (2+ / 0-)

    the meantime, maybe my husband and I should fly on separate planes and generally travel apart until we've made our decision!

    It's tough, especially when you have two dysfunctional families to choose from.

    "Most fools don't understand my worldview." - Ignatius J. Reilly

    by impygirl on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 08:55:53 AM PDT

  •  Off topic in a sense: Here in OC CA we have a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ten year old girl who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Think about it, under the Tanner system of breast development, this little girl has breast formation enough to sustain a breast tissue cancer.  I am deeply concerned regarding the phytoestrogens in our foods and environment; not that these have been proven to blame, yet, and research is being done.  I'm a mother of grown sons but have two little granddaughters and I worry that the age of menarche is declining so rapidly in today's females.  

    In youth we learn, in age we understand.

    by Jbeaudill on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 10:20:18 AM PDT

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