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Jennifer Aniston vs. Bill O'Reilly on Choice Motherhood
a blog by Mikki Morrissette August 16, 2010
I still get surprised when people equate having a child on your own with deciding that men are not important. I understand why there can be the confusion. I’m just always a bit taken aback that so many people choose to blur that line in their reaction.
When Jennifer Aniston suggested in her promotion of the upcoming movie “The Switch” (a movie about a single women who uses a sperm donor) that being able to have a child on your own (rather than remaining childless) is a good modern-day option for women who can’t find the right partner, the comment drew predictable fire.
In a blast to the “Murphy Brown” past, Bill O’Reilly took the role of Dan Quayle to say that Aniston’s support of Choice Motherhood is “destructive to our society” by “diminishing the role of the dad.”
To my ears, equating single motherhood with “diminishing the role of dad” is akin to saying that a person who decides to have a child despite an income under $100K is diminishing the importance of financial security in a child’s life. My response would be: “No, it just means you don’t have it.”
I know I’m being simplistic here. But really, do we honestly think that a child thrives for the simple reason that they have a mother and a father in the home? Obviously that tends to make it easier in many important ways. But talk about “diminishing.” What about all the other vital ingredients to a child’s success?
Strong teachers. A spiritual community. Role models outside the family home. Enriching activities. Solid rituals. Positive friendships. Access to quality health care for physical and mental well-being. Freedom from violence and chemical abuse in the home.
I am the proud Choice Mom of two kids, 11 and 6. We recently returned from a month-long adventure in Europe with my parents. What was ultimately most meaningful to my kids was the time spent together on a rainy day in Lucca playing a card game, and the hand-in-hand chain we made sitting in the waves on the French Rivera. NOT the absence of a father in the scene. NOT the fact that we couldn’t afford the Ritz-Carlton. It was the special, simple moments we created together. It was having TIME together, focused on each other.
Aniston said it well: "Love is love, and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere."
“The goal of a single parent is not to raise our children alone. The goal is to consciously create the village in which we and our children will thrive.”
Far from diminishing the role of men in our child’s life, we tend to ADD as many positive influences as we can — men and women, family and friends, young and old. And yes, discard those who are destructive or negative models for our children. Importantly, as critics of single motherhood tend to assume, we don't think those weak links are simply men and dads.