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When you're an adult who considers herself to be a fairly OK parent, if not a relatively good one, it's a shock to sit down to watch the season premiere of Teen Mom and find yourself identifying with one of the girls. That it was Farrah Abraham, who thought getting a boob job was more important than saving money to support her child, made it even worse. But there I was, seeing one of the hardest parenting decisions I've yet to make play out onscreen.
About to go under the knife, and under anesthesia, Farrah was forced by her mom, Debra, to write a will that designated a guardian for daughter Sophia, should anything happen. And she was uneasy about answering Debra's constant queries over just whose name was going to go on that form. I'm the first to say Farrah has screwed up priorities, but on this, I can't blame her.
My daughter is 6, and I haven't told my parents or my in-laws either. I know. I know. I know!
I'm not a teen mom, I should be able to buck up and lay down the law like an adult with the adults in my daughter's life. But it's easier said than done, isn't it? Because whoever you choose, feelings will be hurt, a familial relationship will be strained. Just looking at Debra's expectant face while Farrah said she had to think about it was enough to remind me that grandparents walk into this with their own motives. Kind, loving motives, yes, but personal motives all the same.
Just choosing a potential guardian for our child was hard enough. First we had to face our own mortality -- not easy when you're both under 30 (we were back then, anyway!), harder still when you've just given birth and want to be with this child forever. Next is the debate, the back and forth between spouses. Because each of you brings your own childhood memories to the table, things can get emotional.
And then you start slinging mud. "Your dad was a spanker, and I don't agree with corporal punishment." "Your parents are awful with money, and I want to know the money we leave behind for her care will be used correctly." "Your mom is a nag." "Your dad doesn't know when to let go."
It's no wonder grandparents take it personally when you choose against them. It can get pretty ... well, personal. As much as the decision might be circumstantial ("OK, your parents live closer, so there will be less uprooting for the child"), there's no way to get around the fact that you're judging how they parented and their potential for parenting your kid. I've just never wanted to face that -- because I don't want anyone to feel slighted.
Of course, Debra and Farrah proved the apple doesn't fall far from the tree when grandma listened in on Farrah talking to her lawyer about her decision (mom gets Sophia, and if she can't care for her, the job goes to Farrah's grandmother). And I know I don't want to be that passive-aggressive. So it's looking like it's time to just break down and break the news. Imagine that ... Teen Mom taught me to be a better mom.
Have you chosen a guardian for your child? More importantly: how did you break the news?
Image via MTV