Octomom Fail: It May Take a Village to Raise a Village

Nadya Suleman's brood needs help while she shamelessly pursues 15 more minutes of fame.

Read more by Genevieve Suzuki

If ever there was an argument for a parent’s children to be taken away, it’s likely most persuasive when it comes to “Octomom” Nadya Suleman.

When Suleman first made the news in 2009 as the mother to eight babies, my head swam with the work she faced. “She and her husband must have really wanted children, huh? And they’ve gotta be loaded!” I said to friends.

Wrong on both counts.

She – by herself – really wanted more children to add to her already existing six kids, some of whom have special needs. And no, she wasn’t loaded. Rather, she was a graduate student, working toward what she claimed was a master’s in counseling.

Look, as a woman, I support my sisters. If a friend of mine told me she wanted to parent a child on her own, I would be there for her. It is the 21st century, after all. A woman can bring home the bacon and fry it up on the stove. Shucks, she can even buy and at the San Diego County Fair.

But as a parent, I think Suleman is a woman in need of professional help.

Having a 3-year-old with my husband is hard enough. I can’t fathom a world in which I would think having 14 children on my own would be a marvelous idea – not without earning a Bill Gates-type of income, which Suleman isn’t doing, as indicated by her recent public activities.

Suleman resurfaced in news reports several weeks ago when her hairstylist sold her “parenting” tactics out. Turns out the mother of 14 still gets her hair done to the tune of $520 despite receiving public assistance. While I don’t fault anyone a visit to the salon every now and then, the fact that she spends more on her hair than I do on my monthly grocery bill blows my mind.

And yet, folks, that’s not the worst of it. The story takes a very twisted turn when you realize the stylist blew the lid on Suleman’s hairy habit because she was shocked at Suleman’s decision to lock her kids in a room while having her hair worked on.

Not content to stay out of the headlines, Suleman booked a stripper job at a gentleman’s club in Florida. This gig is in addition to her recently announced intention to become a solo porn star.

Suleman has told reporters she’s just trying to make ends meet. She unsuccessfully filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April and is almost a year behind on her mortgage payments.

Although she would like us to believe she’s just a modern-day Fantine, selling herself to support her little ones, we need to face reality when it comes to Suleman. She has shamelessly sought fame from the very beginning, even sometimes intimating she would love Kate Gosselin’s life. She’s tried – unsuccessfully – to copyright the moniker “Octomom” and has appeared in a variety of media-mongering stunts, such as boxing Long Island Lolita Amy Fisher in a match made in F-list reality star heaven.

There was a time when I would never have thought being a mother defined me. I would have fought that definition, insisting that I was career woman first, family person second.

But that was before I had my daughter. Since Quinn, I understand I am a mother first, all else second. It’s the same conviction that gives you the strength to stay up all night with your children when they’re sick, the tenacity to enroll and take them to various classes, and the desire to give them everything you can within your power.

It’s too bad Suleman didn’t think this way before she had in-vitro fertilization. It’s an even bigger shame that the doctor who performed the procedure didn’t think twice about adding eight more babies to an already large brood of six.

At this point, it seems someone other than Suleman needs to watch out for her children’s welfare. One of the basic tenets of family law in California is “the child’s best interest” – it doesn’t seem to be in any of Suleman’s kids’ best interests to have their mother neglecting her parental duties in the pursuit of fame.

When it comes to raising Suleman’s kids, it may really take a village to ensure they turn out healthier than their mom.

J.B. June 18, 2012 at 02:39 PM


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