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Justin Timberlake and the Parenting Wars

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A few days ago, Justin Timberlake was asked how he and his family were dealing with quarantine life. His reply was "We're mostly commiserating over the fact that 24-hour parenting is just not human" and boy oh boy, were the opinions unleashed.

I honestly don't think the comment was an attempt to say his life was harder than any other family's life right now. It was to say, this shit is hard and maybe I never realized how difficult it actually was until now. Maybe the intention was meant to go further "Why are we finding this so hard when everyone else seems to have this parenting thing down" Even in jest, it felt vulnerable. Vulnerable because every parent in every corner of the world is scared, stressed and dealing with a different way of parenting and it certainly isn't always easy to admit.

If money doesn’t buy happiness than it certainly doesn’t diminish insecurities.

Parenting isn't a club that anyone is allowed to deny membership and invalidate struggles simply because a person may fall into a higher a tax bracket. You can have a nanny and still feel exhausted from the demands of having children. You can have a 10,000 square foot home and still feel suffocated at times by children tugging at your leg all day. You can have one child and still feel like there is not enough of you to go around.

It's like a new mom being asked how she is adjusting after having a baby and she responds with "tired". To which she is met with a detailed account of why another mom is more tired..." I have 5 kids and 2 were sick and up all night and my husband is working overtime, you don't know what tired is!" She walks away still feeling exhausted, guilty for complaining and inferior as a new mom.

The old saying, "don't judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes", still holds true even if those shoes are Manolo Blahnik and your's are from Target. Each family has its own unique hardships. We all respond to the demands of parenting differently because of individual circumstance and experiences. You can have a padded savings account and still feel more insecure than a mom living paycheck to paycheck. It's okay to feel the pain of your family life while also accepting that another family can have pain too. One doesn't always have to trump the other. The fact of the matter is, it isn't a competition of agony.

Do they have a nanny? I hope so. I would employ 3 right now, if I could. Could my house fit inside one of their houses a few times? Probably, but I bet Jess still uses the bathroom with their five year old banging on the door and asking what she's doing. Do they only have 1 child? Sure, but my youngest son is more work than my older two were put together.

To ridicule any parent's confession of failed effort and justify it by claiming it couldn't possibly fit into a fictional, hierarchy of parenting woes, is absolutely ridiculous. We are all allowed to feel inadequate at times, even my boy, JT with his large bank account and attractive wife. You know why? Because we all have the weight of trying to raise a tiny human and that weight is crushing for different families, at different times. Plain and simple. Insinuating that a mom and dad have not yet earned a right to complain, when asked, about having their respective lives turned upside down like the rest of us, is absurd.

Imagine the outcry if we applied this same mentality to Justin when he was bringing sexy back? I don't remember anyone yelling from behind a keyboard... He can't bring sexy back!... How hard could it be to bring sexy back when you have a persona trainer!...Let me tell you what I have to go through to bring sexy back, Justin!

There is nothing enlightening about pointing out obvious differences between two families and exploiting those differences. What would be enlightening is finding the common qualities and using those pieces to connect us together as human beings. There is already enough in the world that divides us, nothing good can come from growing that list. I may not be bringing sexy back anytime soon, but I still can meet you on the middle of the floor and find a common ground between a mom in Baltimore and a celebrity dad in Los Angeles.


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