Ever have one of those gut feelings about who shouldn’t be around the kids? Not in a nefarious child molester with aviator glasses sort of way but instead a doesn’t share your values in a way that could seriously undermine your parenting?
We had one of those.
My husband and I are among the few of our friends who had children. And for the most part, our single friends have done the whole takes a village to raise a child. We happily accept their offers of time and sometimes presents and loved that our breeding led not to us being ostracized from our friends but that it opened up a whole new level. I was grateful we weren’t dumped for having children in our lives and I was happy and proud that they got to enjoy the beauty and wonder that are our children.
But a few of them I had misgivings about.
One of them was a friend of my husband’s. A guy who always reminded me of the comic book store owner in the Simpson’s. He was generous and kind when he wanted to be. Slovenly and a know it all too. He would fix your screen door or lend you money but he had to come out on top and he had to be needed. If you didn’t need him, well that was the end. He was the kind of ‘uncle ‘ that would take the kids to Disneyland which was great. And sneak a Wii into your house after you forbid it. He was mister big ticket item. He bought the kids many things over the years but didn’t really spend too much time with them otherwise. He was Santa. He was larger than life.
But I’d notice odd things. His penchant for putting my daughter down or ‘in her place’ and his intentional praise of only my son. THe way he talked about the women in his life was entirely disrespectful. He seemed to think that his role in life was to be judgmental towards women, women’s work, women’s lives, women’s struggles. He’s had no real relationship with a woman.
I get that his mom was a stripper and that she left him for drugs and finally left him for an overdose. I totally get the damage done. But a bad mother is not a reason to be a misogynist. A good son would figure out how she got that way.
He needs a good therapist. He needs a job. I get that too much time on your hands makes you sit and brood and view the world and everyone in it negatively. But he doesn’t ever need to be around my kids again.
Sometimes it takes awhile for parents to realize that someone they’ve known their whole lives needs to go. There’s room for a lot of acceptance of a lot of people with a variety of view points on a variety of things. I want my kids exposed to the world. The kids will grow up and they’ll see hatred in the world soon enough. They don’t need it introduced in the home.
But no one needs a misogynist in her life. And I don’t want my son thinking that it’s okay to view and treat women and girls the way he does.
So the kids have one less adult in their lives but at the same time they are meeting new people every day. Positive people with positive contributions to make. I hope a little of that rubs off on them and that they forget about that ‘uncle’ we mistakenly let in.