...but I find myself coming to the defense of Britney Spears. I am aghast and ashamed of myself.
I saw an online article that said George Bush was voted to be both the number one hero and number one villain of 2006. I was amused, so I started reading. Towards the end of the article I read this:
"When asked to choose from a list of names, nearly three in 10 adults, or 29 percent, bestowed the honor of worst celebrity of the year on Spears.
The 25-year-old pop singer and mother of two young sons recently filed for divorce from Kevin Federline, her husband of two years. She then followed with highly publicized nights out with party girls Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, including photographic evidence of Spears wearing no underpants, which raised questions about her fitness as a parent."
I italicized the absolutely ridiculous part. Oh. My. God. What? What kind of idiocy is this? Speaking as a mother myself, I will say that:
-I have occasionally and unabashedly gone about my business sans underpants. Gasp! Am I a bad parent? Of course, when I go without underpants, I don't attract as much attention, (or any) because, 1.) I am not NEARLY as attractive, 2.) I am not a pop star, 3.) I don't wear really short skirts, nor do I have to clamber awkwardly out of low-to-the-ground, European made sports cars. Regardless of all that, there are few among us who have NOT had a wardrobe malfunction of some sort, and we are fortunate enough not to have people following us about and photographing us from eighty different angles. Should she have been a little more careful? If she cares that her sons will one day be able to Google-Image her private parts, yes. Does it make her a bad mother? No.
-News flash, people: Mothers are human, too. We are. And we have desires, and needs, and we get stressed out and want to relax, just like ANYONE else. So Britney goes out and parties. SO WHAT. If she went out and partied and locked her children in a bathroom with some newspaper on the floor and a bowl of water, then yes, going out makes her a bad mother. If she left her children with a loving relative or loving paid caregiver while she went out and blew off some steam, does that make her a bad mother? Not in my book. Since becoming a mother, I have gone out and left my daughter at home with her father or a grandparent. I have had a drink or two, and I have danced badly, sang too loudly, and "WOO!"'d enthusiastically. I have held a friend's hair out of their face while they threw up in some bushes. I have said things like, "I don't think Sammy's will take a credit card for a cover charge" and "If I keep one foot on the ground, it makes things stop spinning and I probably won't throw up".
Granted, I haven't said things like that often, nor do I go out often. Maybe the frequency at which Ms. Spears is going out for the evening, maybe that is what is bothering the nosy, celebrity-obsessed public. Maybe, if the nosy, celebrity-obsessed public had lives of their own, instead of living vicariously through public figures, this would be a non-issue. Now, I can be just as fasincated as the next person - I will admit to perusing through Brian's mother's Star Magazine sometimes while eating breakfast, but COME ON, PEOPLE. Leave the poor woman alone.
Mothers are just as entitled to time away, time to themselves. Just because a mother does not spend every waking moment at their child's side does not make them a bad parent. I spend as much time with my daughter as I possibly can, yes, as do most parents I know. I cannot imagine why anyone would begrudge a woman having some grown-up time, even if it is with Paris Hilton. Motherhood is a job. The catholic church calls it a vocation. It is a job that one enters voluntarily, yes, but you wouldn't expect ANYONE to work at their job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without taking a break now and then. At 2AM, when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep, a mother is awakened by a cough, or a cry, or the sound of a toddler puking onto an army of stuffed animals that will have to be washed. You're never not a mother. And sometimes, a couple of drinks and some freeballing help you to remember: that isn't such a bad thing.