Wednesday, August 8, 2007


This piece appeared in the Indianapolis Star's free tabloid, INtake. It's supposed to be a publication for the young and hip to find out what goes on in Indy. Most of them are quickly disabused when they find out that what goes on is not much. This is evident from the tone of some of the departing columnists, who lament that Indy never lived up to their expectations. However, I like Indianapolis, and in this space, that's all that matters.

But the above mentioned article astounded me and had me fervently hoping that it does not represent the attitude of young parents today. Outrageous Exhibit A:

"And no one can tell you how to decide if it's fair who goes out and who stays
home, and that even though your baby daddy is incredibly sweet you might not be
happy with him all the time."

Firstly, I loathe the term "baby daddy." It implies that the mother is not married to the father (and I don't know if the columnist is or not), which is troubling enough, but it is also demeaning and insulting to those of us who take fatherhood seriously by insinuating irresponsibility.

Secondly, I have a problem with her thinking that their social life should continue as it was before they became parents. She mentions that all her friends are bartenders and musicians; sometimes a life change like having a child necessitates a change in social habits, and yes, maybe even friends.

Becoming a parent is a monumental change and no amount of advice (written or oral) can fully prepare you for the challenges. Ms. Halverson seems to have recognized that part, but she doesn't seem to have grasped that one of the challenges is realizing that you are not your life's focus anymore. Someone rightly described parenting as a full time job, and it is one that is best shared by two people, a mother and a father.

Children are not just possessions or life milestones; they are a commitment in time, effort, and money. You cannot provide the care and guidance they need if you are trying to decide which one of you gets to go clubbing and which one gets to stay home. BOTH should stay home, or if you really want to take a break and go out, hire a baby sitter or enlist friends or family.

It comes down to priorities, and I hope that Ms. Halverson finds out where hers truly lie. But I wonder how far down we are going when more young people think of parenting they way she seems to.