I've been following the story of the nanny accused of killing two kids in NYC, and I've learned a lot -- not from the story itself, but from the media coverage and the comments on several websites. I thought I'd share, in case you weren't following. 1) Good mothers don't leave their children with anyone, ever. If you're a good mom, you surgically attach your children to your leg so you can say you are ALWAYS there for them.
2) It's OK if good mothers conveniently forget that they often leave their kids with family and friends, who, statistically, are much more likely to hurt their children than paid help.
3) Being rich means you deserve whatever terrible things happen to you. Fuck the rich, even if they earned their money honestly. Their lifestyles lead to dead kids, which is what you get when you have money. Fuck the poor and working class, too, who can't afford to gaze lovingly at their kids all day and need to work if they want to eat. They should have considered that before they made babies. And fuck people who live in cities and struggle with a high cost of living. Good parents live on farms. We should depopulate all our cities so children don't have to live in them.
4) We all have access to free, abundant child care. We all have living, healthy family members who live within a few miles of our home and are eager to help. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying.
5) Fathers are irrelevant in child care. If something bad happens to a kid, it's always the mother's fault.
6) If a family pays for child care, it must be because the mother is a ladder-climbing money-grubber. It couldn't be that they really need the money; that she does something worthwhile and rewarding; that she's the only or primary breadwinner; or that she needs time alone, with friends or her partner, or with other children.
7) If something terrible happens to you, it's because you did something to deserve it. We're all a little Catholic sometimes.
8) Few things are as satisfying as blaming the victim. It's better than chocolate.
9) If my life is torn apart in a horrific act of violence, I need to watch what I say in my unspeakable grief, lest judgmental strangers on the Internet rip me a new asshole for it.
This has all been especially enlightening as I prepare for the birth of my first child. Until now, I figured, if a kid hasn't been abducted by a stranger on the way home from school, killed by a child care worker or suffered brain damage from falling onto the corner of a table, it's because:
1) That stuff is obscenely rare. 2) That kid and his parents got lucky.