When Russel Brand came clean about his shortcomings as a parent, a lot of people, particularly parents had a serious problem with it.
He was called ‘unwilling,’ ‘inept,’ and even reportedly needed to put his big-boy pants on and do what needs to be done, or else, he wasn’t a good father.
It made me think of someone I know, all too well – me. I have two children with someone who is a recovering addict.
When they were just 4 months old and 1 1/2 years, their father, whom I was married to at the time, left me. He just could not handle the pressures that came with being a father. When the babies cried, it sounded like bombshells going off in the house.
Their constant neediness made him feel inadequate. So, out of the love of that he had, he did the next best thing that he could think of, and it wasn’t to man-up or to be there and push through.
He removed himself from the situation in order to heal and to allow a competent parent to do the heavy lifting. In fact, looking back, I think it was the superior decision to make because the truth is children are smart and they sense things like stress, sadness, emotional vulnerability and pain.
As a mother, I applaud Brand for allowing his wife to take on the responsibility he feels he can’t do. Brand said on several of his past interviews how deep his love is for his children. The world ought to respect that love comes in different forms.
It’s no secret that Brand went through his own share of childhood challenges. Hearing the cries of his child may remind him of his inner pain. It’s not a surprise to me that this might take place while feeding his children. In addition to battle addiction issues, he has an eating disorder.
His decision to defer to his wife, Laura, is a personal boundary that demonstrates maturity and courage. It may not look like sound parenting to onlookers, but weighted against the inner struggles of a recovering addict who is professed to be nearly 5 years sober from all addictions, he’s proving that he’s come a long way.
What about the mother with postpartum depression who can’t care for her child when she’s emotionally frail and she has to lean on a partner or a family member? What about other parents who struggle with mental illnesses and require extra support which can mean hiring a sitter to do things that a parent ordinarily would do? Who would fault them? Why be critical of Brand?
Brand isn’t insensitive. It appears that he’s intuitive and dedicated to the care and nurture of his children in the best way that he knows how to be at this time. And if that means, he’s not the primary caretaker during feeding time, who is anyone to judge?