Saturday, October 30, 2010

Who's raising baby?

One of the standard arguments against gay parents is that "children need a mother and father in their lives." Taking out the percentage of kids raised by single parents, I realized the other night that this still doesn't make sense.

I may be totally off in my chain of logic, but this is how it sounds to me:
Children need a mother and father, as in, they need one parent of each gender in order to give them proper role models and input into their lives. This implies that there aren't any other significant people in their child's life. Doesn't it? The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child seems to fly out the window. If a village were involved, would it matter so much whether the child was living with two women or two men, since he or she would have an entire village of people at his or her disposal?

I'm confused. When V and I have a baby, or more than one, we want men in her life just like she'll have us. We want strong "uncles," or whatever we decide to call them. (Side note: I always use "her" when talking about our future baby. Power of positive thinking?) She'll have lots of close relationships with men, in a way having more than one father (just without the title and living arrangements, which frequently don't exist anyway), just as she'll have more than one mother. She'll have other women beyond us, too, because everyone knows sometimes you need someone other than your mother(s) to talk to.

Am I anywhere near right in thinking that the idea of raising a child with one mother and one father as the only way is exclusionary to everyone else in the child's life? Yes, our baby will live with us, and we will pick her name and her school and her first Halloween costume. But she will be surrounded by other adults, of any and all genders, who love her (almost) as much as we do, and are just as invested in her life.

4 comments:

  1. I hate to be all mainstream or conservative or whatever I might be for saying this, but I disagree. You hit the nail on the head when you say that the village who helps raise your child will love her ALMOST as much as you do. She will be your child and you will probably want to kill anyone who claims her as their own. Just saying. Plus, I believe the phrase "it takes a village" refers more to turning a child into a societally acceptable adult than actually sharing the weight of raising a child. Finally, I think that statistics show that a child is best off being raised by their loving bioloigical mother and father. Until every child IS being raised by their loving biological mother and father, I don't see any reason why gay couples shouldn't have kids or adopt. It's not a perfect world or country and not every child is going to have the perfect home. I do believe that being raised by a person or people who love you more than anything and know how to care for you is more important than what sex/gender/orientation they are.

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  2. Interesting points, though I do disagree with some. I think you're right that she will be OUR child, but my interpretation of the village is people we trust to take care of our child, and in that way, I think they do help raise. Question for you: if an ideal world were to exist where both biological parents wanted every child and were involved in raising him/her, would you then be opposed to gay parenting?

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  3. As much as I hate to say it (because I could very well be in the situation someday when I want kids with a wife of my own), I think I would. However, my opinion lies more along the lines of "I don't think it would be the best situation for the child" than simply "opposed". There are things children can only learn from the people they live with. If I were to have a wife and a son, I don't think I could actually teach him how to be a "normal" man because I'm not one. I have no clue what men talk about, think about, how they relax when no one's looking, what they think is fun. I could let him spend time with men I trusted him with, but that wouldn't be the same as him seeing the same man come home every day with a reasonably similar routine. I don't know if I can express this thought very well. I know I didn't do a very good job in my previous comment. I DO think you and V will be great mothers (and I think I will be a great mother someday, too) no matter what sex child you have.

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  4. I don't think gender of parents matters one iota. I think it is definitely better to have 2 than one, regardless. And it's even better to have 2 main parental units and then a bunch of "secondary parents" like grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. who have an important place in the child's life and who the child can trust and feel safe with.

    The old "it takes a village" adage I feel like is an ideal that is just slightly unattainable these days. It depends on your situation, but for us, we definitely don't have a village. We have us, grandparents who live far away, grandparents who are useless, aunts who are too young to babysit, uncles who live far away, and soem great friends who would help us in a pinch, but have their own lives (and children) to tend to.

    Maybe this is just a symptom of our lifestyle. Sometimes the "adopted family" aspect of organized religion is something I actually miss and long for. If only I could get that without the god stuff... ;) But yeah, it is damn difficult to raise children when it is just one or two parents, but 2 is better than one, and the genitalia in the pants of said parents doesn't matter AT ALL.

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