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Raynard Kington and His Mom Are My New Favorites!

posted Nov 4, 2016, 7:10 AM by Ariel Purkeypile   [ updated Nov 4, 2016, 7:11 AM ]

Raynard Kington is my new favorite!! (His mom is also my new favorite, you should read this article just to love his mom.) He has a wonderful appreciation of both the special misery of the "mommy wars" and his own position of male privilege. Here's my favorite quote about parenting from the article:

"It’s not that I don’t feel incompetent as a parent at least once a day. In those moments of craziness and despair that every parent of young children has, I ask myself: What made you think that you could pull this off?"

I love it! Here's a college president, former deputy director of the NIH, married to a child psychologist and their kids STILL run circles around him. Is it weird that I find it comforting that we are universally humbled and united by our parental "moments of craziness and despair?" If so, I'm ok with being weird. Come be weird with me.

As a parent, so much of what we strive and sacrifice for is not just thankless, but often completely unnoticed, especially by the primary beneficiaries of our hard work, our kids. Which is (a) fine and (b) the way it is even if it's not really fine. But it's refreshing to see someone so appreciative of his mother for the specific gifts she gave him. Mommies, skip ahead to paragraph 9 and just imagine your kids saying all this to you.

Can we just take a moment to celebrate this moment when a wildly successful, happily married, gay African-American parent lists being born black in the 1960s among his advantages? He describes it as a world that "prepared its young to become accustomed to defying expectations, if not to ignore them completely." We still have so much work to do, but this reminds me of how proud I am of our nation, our people, and our history of relentlessly moving towards the best in ourselves. That's a reminder we all need this week.

Also, Raynard's mom was obviously phenomenal. I mean, really, someone give this woman a hug for me. We need these male feminists (uh-oh, I used the "f-word") if we're to reduce the disparities between the male and female experience of parenting so that all parents are honored for their effort and choices as parents and professionals. Right now, it's like male parents get to have their cake and eat it too while female parents get to bake the cake, hand it over to a guy so we can throw him a "Yay, you did some parenting!" party, and then feel guilty because she was too busy to make cookies for a PTA bake sale. That sounds silly, but you know what I mean. (Today, I'm primarily celebrating his refreshing attitude towards gendered parenting, but this man has an amazing educational background and professional resume. I put a Wikipedia link down at the bottom so you too can be impressed.)

Doula training and all of our care at Enhancing Doulas include focus on social support in large part because the process of parental role acquisition and adaptation tends to be brutal, beautiful, and baffling, all at once. Of course we work hard to help daddies thrive as parents (hello, doula! Doulas are for daddies!), but its a very different experience for moms. Sometimes it's nice to have someone see all the parts of your mothering for the rich gift they are. So mommies, call your doula so she can remind you that you're rocking it even though it can be so, so hard, or read paragraph 9 again. Paragraph 9 is the bit where Raynard says,

"the reality is that I couldn’t truly be in my mother’s position, because it’s different for men — society doesn’t put the same pressures on us. And the choices we make are not judged in the same way."

That's it right there. Hugs to your mom, Raynard.

P.S. And if you're reading this and wondering how I had time away from getting ready for our Open House event this weekend but didn't have time to put up part 2 of the post on why researchers love doulas so much, what can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants. I was up in the middle of the night, read this article, and just had to pass it along. Come see us this weekend and I'll get the evidence part 2 post up ASAP next week. Who knows, maybe I'll even make this post prettier then, too!…/im-gay-and-african-americ…/