Tag: Parenthood

Resolved: A Child has a Right to a Mother and a Father


Resolved: A Child has a Right to a Mother and a Father

By this I mean a right to the affections provided by nature to the offspring of a sexual union from the actors in that sexual union.  I am on one side of this, so I will lay out a few pieces of what I feel supports my position; decidedly pro the proposition.  By “mother and father” I explicitly mean the biological parents.

Living in the tension; reflections on pregnancy and motherhood


When I was pregnant with our first son, I told Mustangman I was one and done. “I’m never doing this again!” I said with great conviction. Pregnancy was hard on me physically- 18 weeks of constant nausea, back pain, and debilitating pregnancy induced carpal tunnel that meant I could no longer perform surgeries after 26 weeks. Even holding a pen or opening a can of soda water was excruciating. My husband saw how difficult pregnancy was for me, and said “ok” in response to my vow to never have another baby.

When our son was stillborn at 33 weeks, I was frantic to get pregnant again immediately. During induction, even before he was delivered, I told my husband that I wanted to get pregnant again as soon as I could. I had no idea how much I would miss the kicks and hiccups I felt while our son was alive inside my belly. It wasn’t until his kicks had stopped that I felt an overwhelming need to feel kicks again. Four months later, I fell pregnant. The second time around, pregnancy was easier physically, but emotionally much more difficult. I simultaneously loved and hated being pregnant- I wanted it to last forever, but also wanted it to be over right away. 

Why Even Have Sex Ed?


With Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law (which has nothing to do with saying “gay,” oddly enough) and all of the disproportionate hand-wringing, mud-slinging, and poo-flinging for all to see, I have come to wonder why we let schools have sex education anyway.

It is possible that this will mark me (yet again!) as some sort of dinosaur.  But follow me here.  What was the original purpose of sexual education?  If you ask Planned Parenthood, it is to promote sexual health and wellness.  If you ask others, it is to promote awareness of the body, reproductive functions, and to limit negative behaviors that result in unwanted pregnancies and STIs.  If you ask even more people, they’ll tell you that it is to teach healthy sexuality and promote monogamy.  Everyone has their own definition and purpose of what it is.  Newsweek even had an article on the history of sexual education in the US starting from the 1920s onward.

Vermeule’s Gleeful Illiberal Legalism


Few have been brave enough to flesh out what the Ahmarist, or “anti-Frenchist,” vision of the common good should be. Some have said articulating specifics is beside the point, that Ahmarists’ refreshing achievement is unapologetically asserting a common good exists, even if they decline to say what, exactly, it is. And then, there are guys like Adrian Vermeule, writing in The Atlantic, brave enough, at least, to flesh out a vision of sorts. Vermeule calls it “common-good constitutionalism”, which he describes as “an illiberal legalism that is not ‘conservative’ at all, insofar as standard conservatism is content to play defensively within the procedural rules of the liberal order.” When Vermeule writes,

[U]nlike legal liberalism, common-good constitutionalism does not suffer from a horror of political domination and hierarchy, because it sees that law is parental, [emphasis added] a wise teacher and an inculcator of good habits. Just authority in rulers can be exercised for the good of subjects, if necessary even against the subjects’ own perceptions of what is best for them—perceptions that may change over time anyway, as the law teaches, habituates, and re-forms them. Subjects will come to thank the ruler whose legal strictures, possibly experienced at first as coercive, encourage subjects to form more authentic desires…

Warehousing Joy: A Retail Therapy That Works


Mostly, I hate to shop. I cook well enough that buying ingredients is sometimes a pleasure, but retail therapy doesn’t work on me. There’s only one kind of store where I consistently leave calmer than when I arrived, and that’s a home-improvement warehouse.

Many household chores produce only ephemeral improvement. Doing laundry and dishes never ends. With toddlers underfoot, as soon as you finish vacuuming or mopping, you might as well start again. By contrast, even minor home-improvement projects can deliver lasting satisfaction. Like many women, I’m no expert in naming all the doodads which make up a proper, manly workshop, but I’m still mechanically inclined and pretty handy with tools. A trip to a home-improvement warehouse promises long-term solutions to household problems. The warehouses also smell good — the lumber especially, though even the weird chemical smells in the lawn care section smell comfortingly of problem-solving. The warehouses’ high ceilings mean the background music is actually in the background for a change, and plenty of products on offer are pleasantly unclad: you see the items themselves, rather than a jarring welter of flashy packaging. These stores are peaceful places.

Maternal Inadequacy and a Musical Son


I’m not a music person. I’m just not. Yes, I used to play the piano. Still do, when I happen across one, but otherwise? I barely even listen to music on the radio anymore.

I wouldn’t have said that my children’s dad was especially musical either, yet somehow we managed to produce Peter. Who has been working on, working with, working toward music — specifically the drums — since he was about 11 years old.

Is he any good at it? I don’t know. Even when I do listen to the radio, I listen to classical (specifically Baroque). Left to my own devices, I would never listen to whatever it is that Peter’s band does … though when I go to hear his band play, I am mesmerized. All the wild energy that made Peter a difficult boy to have in the house or for that matter in one’s uterus (he was always Peter, right from the get-go!) make him compelling on stage — unless that’s just maternal devotion talking?

Lifelines and Deadlines


“Are you sure you should go?” my mother asked. Yes, I was. Positive. A family friend had just lost her newborn. How could I not go, unless my presence at the funeral would disturb her too greatly? But I had been assured this was not so: the grieving mother would not be undone by the sight of the visibly pregnant, and would rather have more people, not fewer, with her to remember her own child’s brief life. So I went.

The child had died of SIDS. The coroner said there was nothing that could have prevented it. It was just one of those things. The grieving mother, though, believed the truth might be otherwise. Hers had not been an ideal pregnancy from the start. She had made choices that she now wished she could unmake. No one could wish to add to her grief by agreeing with her, at least not during a time when the grief was so fresh. But her regrets were understandable ones.

Member Post


This is a little untimely, since Father’s Day was obviously a few weeks ago. However, I got some positive response to my storytelling podcast on Stanislav Petrov and near-Armageddon at the height Cold War. Thus, I thought I might share this one as well. Unlike the historical tale of Petrov, this one was a very […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


Many elements are necessary for the stability and prosperity of a society. For Christians and Jews, the most basic requirements of behavior are codified in the ten Commandments established directly by God Himself. Among them is a standard agreeable even to atheists yet perhaps poorly understood: “Honor thy father and mother.” What does it mean? […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


Nothing can quite prepare you for the experience of parenthood, save perhaps having siblings significantly younger than yourself.  We married in June of 1999, me fresh out of college and my wife at the end of her first year of law school.  Over the prior year we had been to a number of friends’ weddings, […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


A relative of mine has been calling me for advice.  He wants to build his first AR15, and as I’ve built several he’s called several times asking about different components, budgets, specs, etc.  The most important question he’s had to ask, however, was how I got my wife’s permission to not only build them, but […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Coming Out


It’s still summer, but autumn felt close this past weekend. Daughter #2 has returned from camp. We were hosting a family barbecue as a sendoff for daughter #1, who will be spending the year in Israel before entering college. The crispness of fall has yet to set in, but the heat and humidity of summer were gone.

At the barbecue, we talked about my daughter’s classmates, and their plans. About half are going to Israel next year, the rest straight to college. What happened to the boy who applied to West Point? He discovered he had a disqualifying health problem. My parents expressed relief. Ilana, their friends’ daughter, was injured in Iraq, and years later she is still fighting to get proper care from the VA.

The Paternal Instinct


I’d like to ask the dads here: when did you first think it might be great, or kinda cool, or even possible for you to become a dad someday?

I have a 20-something son and have known my daughter’s 20-something boyfriend for years now, and both are wonderful guys.  My daughter and her female friends make no bones about fussing delightedly over babies brought to work or babysitting for their nieces and nephews. It’s probably very normal that these guys keep their arms safely locked behind their backs when a baby is in the room, and conveniently have important meetings to get to when there is babysitting to be done.  

Demanding More from the Childless


Should the childless pay higher taxes so that families with children can pay less? That is the question asked, and answered in the affirmative, by conservative columnist Reihan Salam in a recent column at Slate.

Salam, who is himself childless, comes to this conclusion after analyzing some of the realities that beset parents who are raising children in these difficult times. His major premise is that it is unjust to impose heavy tax burdens on couples raising children because it is they who are making the sacrifices necessary to produce the generations to come — and to raise them to not only be economically productive, but to pass on the social capital upon which the nation thrives.