As a semi-single parent with an easy only child, I try to step back and be sympathetic to the parents with more and smaller kids.
(I say semi-single because my half-the-week-with-help arrangement is an insult to the hard-working people who really earn the title.)
And nothing brings out my sympathy like the twinfolk.
I suppose in some ways it's just a bigger pot of stew, as my mechanic with eight kids puts it. But I still can't begin to get my head around it.
Apparently, the double-burdens include flat out discrimination, at least according to Susannah Meadows in The New York Times Complaint Box section. Not Rosa-Parks-on-the-back-of-the-bus discrimination, but discrimination of the twin variety:
Imagine my surprise when I went to enroll in a Trees and Saplings class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, part of a program that teaches children about the joys of gardening, and found a "No Twins Allowed" sign nailed to the clubhouse door. Or it might as well have been. Apparently, the garden has a policy requiring one caregiver for each child.
Sucks, right? But still. Every parent with more than one kid faces this conundrum one way or another. There are constant situations that require two grown-ups by rule or by necessity, and you just need to avoid them. My feelings were validated by a twin-mom friend:
"I actually think the mom is being whiny," she told me. "Yeah, it sucks there is a rule like that, but it is what it is."
But then I read the comments. And damn do they have at her. I thought the discussions could get nasty sometimes here at The Stir but it's all tea and crumpets compared to the mud wrestling at the once-distinguished Times.
A few representative samplings, probably not the meanest since I couldn't bear to read all the way to the bottom:
"If this is the worst discrimination you can come up with in your life, you should count yourself lucky."
"So don't have kids."
This one, though, is really a masterpiece of the form.
"Maybe everyone’s just sick and tired of having to dodge those behemoth double strollers and the righteous parents who propel them. (Park Slope, ugh.)"
Yeah! Having two kids is elitist! Make your kids sit on each other's laps like they do in the red states! And how dare you want to live in the city! Plus there's the little parenthetical "Park Slope" jab. Good thing she didn't call her a "hipster." In Internet comments, that's like rubbing cow blood on someone in a piranha-filled stream.
Yeah, whining is annoying. But whining about whining -- the idea that everyone needs to shut up if someone, somewhere, has it rougher -- is worse.
So I'm with you Susannah. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Let's link arms. We shall overcome.
What do you think? Twin discrimination? Parents of more than one kid discrimination? Or just the rules?
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