If You’re Defending Josh Duggar, You’re the Problem

Josh Duggar repeatedly molested underage girls, including his sisters, while his parents sought to cover it up and avoid talking to the proper authorities. You’ve seen the news by now and you know how utterly revolting it is from every angle. I don’t need to cover the horrifying details here.

I read the news last night as I was going to bed. I thought finally, even the most ardent supporters of TLC’s clown show won’t be able to spin this, and perhaps common sense will prevail. The blanket condemnation and the collective horror at not just Josh’s action, but the duplicitous cover-up by his parents, will be the nudge all of the extreme fundamentalists require to come to their senses.

Turns out I was giving that particular group far too much credit.

Right, Samantha. Because the first thing a rational person thinks after finding out about a serial child molester who targeted sleeping children including his own sisters aided by his parents in a massive coverup to hide the facts until the statute of limitations had run out, should be “Boy, I really hope I can still watch all these people on TV every week.”

Oh you’re sorry, Republican Girl. You are very, very sorry. Mainly because your definition of “amazing people” includes child molesters and those who enable them.

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Catherine has taken the “blame the media” approach and given it an Alex Rodriguez level steroid injection. Instead of questioning why Josh Duggar is molesting young girls and, more importantly, why his parents wouldn’t alert the proper authorities, she points the finger at the DAMN MEDIA! After all, how dare reporters look under the surface for things and file FOIA requests to obtain information from official sources and then publish that information for people to read. Wait. What? That’s PRECISELY the job of media members everywhere? Oh. Well, nevermind then…

These two esteemed Twitter users were far from alone in making this point. As instructed by the Far Right Emergency Handbook, religious conservatives everywhere immediately started shouting about Lena Dunham (and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton too, just because) and pointing out the LIBERAL HYPOCRISY of getting upset about one and not the other.

Dunham, in case you hadn’t heard, described a moment in her childhood when she — at the age of 7 — looked in her 1-year-old sister’s vagina, found some pebbles, and then alerted her mother. Clearly this single incident is exactly the same thing as being a 14-year-old, repeatedly groping and fondling young girls while they’re sleeping, having your parents cover up that abuse over the course of years, all the while telling anyone within earshot gay people are dangerous pedophiles.

That’s not just apples and oranges, it’s apples and fire hydrants.

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Got that? It’s less about the criminal molestation and more about the actions afterward. And Josh Duggar apologized, so dude — move on already! Right? Hell, this thing has been in the news cycle a whole 20 hours and we’re STILL TALKING ABOUT IT! But it’s interesting Valerie thinks failing to alert the authorities and trying to pass off a summer remodeling homes as “therapy” is “lifting up the name of Jesus.” Jesus didn’t return an email seeking comment for this piece, but I have to believe he’s not too thrilled to be involved in this one.

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This is the craziest comment I’ve personally seen on this issue. And it’s also the most frightening, because it’s 100% pure, unadulterated praise. For Josh Duggar. An admitted child molester.

Kelly is right in that Josh Duggar didn’t “justify or defend.” Mainly because there’s just no way to justify or defend being a serial child abuser. And yes, he confessed. Bravo. It only took him 13 years, a hidden letter in a book that was sent to Oprah Winfrey’s show, and multiple FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests that revealed hard evidence in the form of police reports that couldn’t be denied.

But “humility and redemption?” Is it humble to publicly call gay and transgender people dangerous pedophiles when YOU are actually the dangerous pedophile? Sorry, but I fail to see how Josh Duggar is “redeemed” by being exposed as a dangerous and utterly hypocritical fondler of young girls, and part of a family that would DARE cast stones regarding homosexuality when they were housing and covering up for a pedophile in their own four walls.

When you think about it, several members of the Duggar family seem more like sociopaths than anything else.

All I can think about are those poor girls, the victims of Josh Duggar’s abuse. Did they get the help they need? Have they suffered additional trauma having to live with their abuser and see him every single day for all these years? Or were they afterthoughts in the mad scramble to protect poor Josh’s reputation?

Either way, if you’re someone publicly defending Josh Duggar or the Duggar family after this unspeakable atrocity, you are every bit as big of a problem as the perpetrators.

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Every Parent’s Feeding Journey Is Different

photo credit: bottle V via photopin (license)
photo credit: bottle V via photopin (license)

***I have partnered with Similac for this piece.

Unfortunately, feeding your baby is controversial before you even have a baby.

Eight years ago, when my wife was pregnant with Will, we started getting questions about our unborn baby and what he was going to eat. I thought this very odd, until I realized it’s just a way of ascertaining whether or not an expectant mother is going to breastfeed, so she can be summarily judged one way or the other by the person asking the question.

It’s not a very good system.

As breastfeeding proponents, MJ fed both kids from the proverbial tap at the outset. It was not smooth sailing with Will, and the process was very painful for her and stressful for everyone. Why wouldn’t he latch? Why didn’t MJ seem to be producing enough milk? Why did the lactation consultant seem so judgmental? All of that stress combined with postpartum depression led to an untenable situation.

MJ exclusively breastfed for four months. But honestly, she would’ve stopped a month before that if not for all the guilt courtesy of the BS pressure society puts on a woman to ONLY breastfeed the first year.

Before our decision to switch to formula, Will was cranky and irritated and MJ’s supply was dwindling. Watching them stress each other out stressed me out. When she finally decided to try formula, Will sucked down that Similac like nobody’s business. Soon he was full and happy, MJ was relieved, and we all started to regain a little sanity.

With Sam, things were even more complicated.

MJ had an easier time breastfeeding, but when it was time to switch to formula we hit a snag in the form of a milk allergy. Sam instantly went red and puffy when we tried Similac, so we experimented with a few other brands. Same result. The doctor told us to try Alimentum — a formula specifically designed for babies with allergies and sensitive stomachs — but Sam still had a bad reaction.

With Sam’s voracious appetite outpacing MJ’s dwindling milk supply and none of the specialized formulas working, we began to panic.

Thankfully, our saving grace was Similac Soy formula. We could finally feed our little guy something he liked that didn’t require us to reach for the doctor-prescribed EpiPen we carried with us wherever we went.

The point is, your baby’s feeding journey will depend on many individual circumstances. And that’s OK. If you want to exclusively breastfeed and it’s working for you, that’s wonderful. If you want to formula feed for whatever reason, rest assured that’s OK too. Despite some reports to the contrary, formula-fed babies are happy and healthy just like their breastfed counterparts.

And when you start getting into solids, know that each kid will be ready at his/her own schedule. It’s not a contest or a race. As long as our kids are getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy, we’re doing our job as parents.

So let’s stop the judging and be confident in the choices we make as parents. Because whichever path you take — breastfeeding, formula, or a combination of both — you’re doing it right.

Good luck.

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ABB_SIM_BloggerBadge_250x151I was compensated by Similac for the “Sisterhood of Motherhood” campaign, which aims to unite all parents in a judgment-free zone. But as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Check out:

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Parents at Playgrounds on Phones Are the Worst People Ever

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I’ve been waiting for a chance to use this picture for three years!

There are some bad people out there.

The world is full of liars, cheaters, serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, and New York Jets fans. Unfortunately, the derelicts are living next to us, conversing with us, and subversively poisoning our way of life as they chip away at society’s common decency. They’re right under our noses, yet because there’s no readily identifiable mark of evil to witness, it’s impossible for us to tell the good guys from the dregs.

Until now.

If you’re not familiar with the worst people on Earth, I’m not surprised. No one has ever actually seen what they look like, because their faces are perpetually pointed down. Yup, that’s right — we’re talking about parents at playgrounds who use their smartphones!

I know. Savages, right? I mean, these are our children. Our babies. Our future. But sadly, you can’t throw a dead Angry Bird on the Internet these days without coming across another heartbreaking tale of innocent children being shamefully neglected by smartphone wielding monsters. Seriously, it’s an epidemic.

And you thought ISIS was bad news.

I’m sure you’ve run into their ilk at the local playgrounds. It’s always the same horrid scene. Kids happily cavorting and scampering around the playground, instantly making friends with other kids as only children can do. They climb the climbing walls, slide down slides, and cross the monkey bars while enjoying some exercise and the outdoors. On the surface, everything seems fine until you see the parent sitting on the bench tapping away on a phone.

Make no mistake, these people are what’s wrong with society.

Don’t approach them, as they probably won’t notice you anyway. Because hell, they’re already missing every single precious moment of their baby’s life and clearly prioritizing technology over their own flesh and blood. Instead, just make a mental note of everything they’re doing wrong, and shame this abomination on your blog as soon as you get home.

These people are so dangerous because they’re not thinking about the children. I mean sure they could be a stay-at-home parents who devote every waking second to the kids all day long up until this point and now they’re searching Pinterest for a dinner recipe while their kids get exercise, but that’s beside the point.

And yeah, I guess this could be a working parent returning a quick email because she negotiated a flexible schedule and the ability to work remotely so she can see her kids more often instead of coming home from the office after they’re asleep, but that’s neither here nor there.

And yes, there is an infinitesimal chance the dad on the phone needs just five minutes to himself to check Facebook or read the news while his kids play, because he hasn’t had an adult conversation in more than a week and he fears his brain is turning to mush. But that’s hardly relevant.

What is important is shaming these parents without knowing anything about their personal circumstances.

After all, if your head is buried in your phone how can you ensure your kid’s safety? Didn’t you watch the incredibly frightening video about child abduction??? Anyone with a furry creature and a warm smile can steal your kid at any second. I mean yeah, technically that video uses erroneous statistics and only 115 “stranger abductions” a year are reported in the US. And it’s true the world is actually statistically safer now than at any point in recent history. But the point is, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KIDS!

Every mom and dad knows the only way to be truly great at parenting is to spend 100% of your time and energy on your kids and always put them first at all costs. That’s just science.

You need to follow them around the playground and be a shadow.

Is junior having trouble climbing the ladder? Help him immediately. Is your little girl in the middle of a nonviolent disagreement with another child? Step in as soon as possible and resolve it for her. Do your children have trouble playing independently and need you helicoptering around them at all times? Then congratulations, because you’re winning the parenting game.

In a world where the bad guys often look like good guys, it’s comforting in a way to have a common despised enemy. That’s why it’s not enough for you to parent your own kid and let other parents handle things in a more hands-off way. You have a responsibility to point out perceived shortcomings of others based on little to no actual information, and use it for blog fodder and just making yourself and others feel better about themselves in general.

In a world gone mad with terrible dangers like parents with smartphones and deflated footballs lurking around every corner, it’s up to you, super parent, to continue to fight the good fight.

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Is Lying a Part of Parenting?

I lie to my kids.

I don’t say that to brag nor do I shy away from it. In fact, I wrote an entire post about the lies I tell my kids that went viral last year. After seven years and two kids, it’s just a fact of life. I’m honest with my kids to a large extent, but sometimes it just makes more sense (and is far easier) to tell a little white lie.

“Can I watch Caillou again?”
No, it’s not on TV right now (boy does it suck when they learn to read the channel guide).

“Is the Polar Express real and can I really ride it to see Santa?”
It’s real but you can’t ride it because you already believe.

“Are you and mommy wrestling?”
Yes. We’re wrestling. And ONLY wrestling. Now go downstairs and watch Caillou while waiting for the Polar Express.

I know there are some parents who claim they NEVER lie to their kids and are honest about everything. Good luck with that. I don’t advocate a strict diet of lies for anyone, but sometimes family members tell some little white lies and fibs that are necessary to get through the day and make life a little easier.

The trick is knowing the difference between an appropriate bending of the truth and huge lies that can tear people apart and cause years of hard feelings and destruction.

Bloodline

That’s what happened to the Rayburn family in the masterful Netflix original drama, “Bloodline.”

Set in the aesthetically stunning Florida Keys, the Rayburns are a prominent local family who own a bed and breakfast in paradise. But as the four Rayburn children gather at home for a family reunion, Danny Rayburn, the black sheep, threatens to expose all deep, dark secrets festering just underneath the surface of the beauty of South Florida. Soon the lies are unraveling just as quickly as the family is being torn apart.

If you like rich characters and a slow-burning drama that peels back the onion in tantalizing fashion, you’re going to tear through the first season of Bloodline in a heartbeat.

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If you’re looking for some new kids’ programming on Netflix, try these:

MayNetflixBox1. Richie Rich, season 2 (5/22)
2. Littlest Pet Shop, season 3
3. All  Hail King Julien

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I was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

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Moms Should Be the Most Upset with Piers Morgan’s Paternity Leave Comments

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You know who should be the most upset regarding Piers Morgan’s bafflingly backward comments about modern fathers not wanting paternity leave? Moms.

The British television host was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last week, when the issue of paid paternity leave came up. It was then Morgan decided to reach back into the 1950s to pull out this gem. “Most dads don’t want to do paid paternity leave. They pretend they do, but after two weeks of a tiny little baby…all they’re doing is eating, guzzling, and depositing, it isn’t the most exciting gig in town.”

Despite that being moronic enough to cause co-host Mika Brzezinski to literally roll her chair off the set in wide-eyed horror, Morgan didn’t apologize or reconsider his stance after the show. In fact, he doubled down with these tweets.

That last one is the real problem, because it assumes moms know everything about child-rearing from the get-go while dads are “invariably utterly useless” when it comes to babies. Or, to be blunt, taking care of babies is a woman’s job.

What Morgan apparently fails to realize is most first-time parents are equally clueless. There is no child-rearing DNA that is biologically inherent in women but not men. Yet Morgan’s comments set the stage for the unfair societal expectation we place on new moms to automatically know everything. Meanwhile fathers are seen as “Super Dads” just for changing a diaper, because the bar is set so low compared to moms.

By tapping out at the starting line and playing the “well dear, you’re so much better at it” card, Morgan places the burden of child-rearing on moms and minimizes the importance of shared parenting. Perhaps he’d be interested to know women account for 40% of all breadwinners in American homes, meaning many moms are no longer content to be saddled with all the household duties while the man returns to work.

But if dads accept Morgan’s tripe about being useless then they are let off the hook. No paternity leave, no early bonding with the child, a slower learning curve for how to take care of the baby, and a decreased role as a caregiver.

And then there’s the fact that what Morgan is saying just isn’t true.

The Boston College Center for Work and Family surveyed more than 1,000 fathers, and found 89% think it is important for companies to offer paid paternity leave. Also, more than 90% of fathers reported spending time caring for their new child and changing diapers during their time off, while more than 80% went food shopping, cleaned the house, and prepared meals.

“When men fail to be active co-parents in the first few months of the child’s life it sets up a pattern that is difficult to change,” according to the findings.

Which means maybe it’s just Piers Morgan who is useless to his wife in caring for a new baby, and not “most men.”

Speaking as a father of two (soon to be three) who took time off after both kids were born, I can personally attest to the fact that it is a vital and cherished time. My paternity leave allows my wife to rest and recover while I bond with my baby (and take care of my other kids). My company gives me two paid weeks of leave which, while I wish it were longer, I’m also fortunate to have.

Morgan is right about one thing – it’s not always exciting. Then again, it’s not supposed to be. It’s messy, hectic, life-changing, monotonous, difficult, wonderful, and sometimes it downright sucks. But guess what? Welcome to parenting, Piers. We don’t do it for the excitement, we do it because it has to be done. We do it because it’s so incredibly important. And we do it to let our wives know it’s not all on them.

Here’s to more paid paternity leave for more men who would be more apt to take it if not for antiquated, less evolved attitudes like Morgan’s.

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