I read an article this morning that really got under my skin. You can read the irritating piece HERE or just let me sum it up for you:
Well-educated mother-of-three, Michele Weldon, has deemed a sense of humor about parenting detrimental to rearing children. In fact, she suspects that “cool moms” like Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy) and Nicole Knepper (Moms Who Drink and Swear) are likely to raise children who get in trouble for things like underage drinking. She also says that American moms have it so good that we shouldn’t complain. To prove it, she compared us to moms in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who are brutally raped and who have their clitorises cut off.
So here are my thoughts for Michele, in no particular order:
1. I’d like to take you out for a drink. You need to relax.
2. Because Jill, Nicole, and Reese Witherspoon don’t embody the kind of “motherhood in the Courtney Love/Britney Spears brand of alcohol-soaked anything goes” of which you write, I can’t help but wonder if you picked on three popular ladies for the sake of your SEO.
3. None of us are perfect; some of us just aren’t afraid to admit it.
4. There is a stark contrast between complaining about motherhood and being realistic about it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and anyone who claims otherwise is either lying or comatose.
5. If it takes a village to raise a child, it must take an assistant professor of journalism at The Medill School of Northwestern University to dictate how.
6. Parents from all over the world submit their deepest, darkest fears and admissions anonymously to the Scary Mommy Confessional. The blanket of anonymity allows us to share more freely, but I wonder if it would be as necessary if other parents like you weren’t constantly passing judgement on the rest of us.
7. My husband and I are both teachers and we often lament over the steady decline of our students’ work ethics and lack of empathy. While I think you have a valid point that today’s parents need to step up their game, the ones who are articulating their experiences in writing aren’t necessarily the ones who deserve the bulls-eye on their backs. If we’re looking for a solution (and we are, aren’t we? I mean, we’re not just pointing fingers and brushing our shoulders off, right?), let’s start with the poverty levels and educational systems.
8. A friend of mine once asked what I’ll do when my kids discover the blog posts where I’ve discussed things like their failed potty training endeavors or how every Friday, like clockwork, my son would morph into demon spawn and make me want to take the bridge. I’ll tell you what I told my friend: I’ll have an honest conversation with my kids about how I was feeling at the time I wrote those things, explain that writing is cathartic, and then I’ll push a piece of paper and pen their way and say have at it.
9. There is an underlying current in your article that insinuates we who laugh at our mistakes do not love our children as much as you love yours, and that we don’t appreciate being a parent as much as you do. At first, that pissed me off. Now I just feel sorry for you because you must not be enjoying parenthood as much as I am.
10. You believe that “Kids deserve better from mothers. Mothers deserve better for themselves.” So what do Mothers deserve from other Mothers? We are behind the likes of Finland and Spain because those countries have a solid support system for mothers by other mothers. You are simply perpetuating the snarky Mom Competition that we need to move away from before we can progress as women or as a country.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I’m trying my best with my kids. I love them with all my heart, and I would do anything for them. Sometimes I stop what I’m doing and just stare at them because I can’t believe they were once in my belly or that I am blessed enough to raise them. It’s incredible. It’s indescribable.
Other days, I stop what I’m doing and just stare at them because I can’t friggin’ believe my daughter tried to bite her brother’s toes. Again. Or that my son bashed dents the size of my pores into the wall with his toy hammer. Those are the days where I take to my blog and use my sense of humor to deal with the chaos in my home. And if that puts me in your category of “dismissive approach to motherhood” so be it. I’d rather hang out with Jill and Nicole anyway.
Post of the day. Week. Month. Love it. I have this mega-issue with the word “deserve.” Mothers deserve, children deserve, you deserve this… wait, I’m going to stop writing now, because I don’t have a post in queue for tomorrow and this is a really good idea… nobody else steal it. Love, Jane
I like where you’re going with this, Jane!! Thank you for your kind comments and shout-out on Twitter. My heart melts whenever YOU like my stuff 🙂
I have to wonder if Miss Judgy Wudgy actually reads blogs like Scary Mommy. And I mean really reads them, because if she did, she would realize how off her observations really are. Maybe she should mind her own business, focus on her own kids, and teach them that judging others and worrying about what others are doing/ not doing wil get them nowhere in life. Her article seems like a Mommy having a “mean girl” moment. Don’t be a Gretchen Weiners, lady.
Especially the recent post from Bethany about the Peter Pan song and shout-out to mothers who have lost their children. Seriously a Gretchen Weiners.
Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. says
Cheers to that. Wow, I am so impressed that you cranked out such a coherent post since reading that drivel this morning- nice work! You make some fantastic points, and I will share the hell out of this. I hope that woman reads this- your comment on her post was right on, as well. She missed the point entirely. And as far as how to explain to my one-day 16 year old why I wrote about how we labeled her private parts: She may not appreciate my blog posts as a 10 year old, a teenager, or even a college student. But I sure as hell bet she’ll thank me when she’s a mom. For setting the honesty bar high and the perfection bar low. And when I talk about being “imperfect” I”m not talking about being a drunk driver or humiliating my children. Just to clarify. Jeez.
I appreciate that you think it’s coherent. It took me a solid three hours to make a damn list–I was trying to work, play Chutes and Ladders with my son, and slap down some thoughts about this poo! I TOTALLY agree that, should our writing stand the test of time, it’s something our children will treasure once they become parents. (For what it’s worth, I would NEVER think you would be talking about “that” kind of imperfection)
Wow, your post brings up a scary question for me: will I let my daughter write about me someday (when she’s living with me; after that I doubt I can say much). The answer is, most likely, no. Ugh, what does that mean?
It means that you’re allowed to have your own opinion and share it freely here because we don’t judge ’round these parts!!
Juliet Neary says
11. Fuck off, you grim humorless bitch.
Holy balls, I read that and thought you were talking to me! I was quite offended at the humorless part. 😉
Juliet Neary says
I’d never be that rude to someone’s “face.”
Wait a minute, I totally would. 🙂
I like you, Juliet.
Juliet Neary says
I like you, too. I’m a crazy, exhausted mommy to three kids on the autism spectrum. If I couldn’t laugh at parenting, well…you and scary mommy make everything mostly better.
Cheers! We could all do with a little less negativity in our lives!
Totally off topic, I am SO glad that you commented here! I lost my connections/subscriptions to all of my WordPress pals and have been trying to find everyone to re-subscribe. And now here you are!!!!!! Yay!
As I read the original article your point for #7 ran
through my head over and over. I have some bad mommy
stories. Above and beyond mommy dearest. Great
response and thank you for doing it!
Thank YOU for reading and commenting!
Jessica Smock says
Okay. I’m similarly impressed that you wrote this so quickly. Does this woman realize how sanctimonious she sounds to moms who are now trying to navigate a totally different world than 10, 20, or 30 years ago? Seriously, this is 2013. Women find emotional support online. End of story. Whatever they’re dealing with, however much they’re comfortable sharing. They talk about the things that are important to them. I’m actually not that worried that my kid won’t get that. The younger generations understand that you make connections through social media. (Maybe they understand that lesson a little TOO well….But that’s another question.) This writer works for the Op Ed Project, and I’m a HUGE fan of that movement; they’re doing incredible things for women in the media. I’m not sure how someone who is working to try to get more women in the modern media — the point of the project for which she works — also has such fundamental misunderstandings of how women interact online.
Great point about the Op Ed Project, Jessica! I, too, am a fan and it seems like Michele is working against women in this article, rather than advocating for them like she does elsewhere. Quite the contradiction.
Great post.Love it and will share with abandon. I write with humor, as many awesome mommy bloggers you mention, about the crazy crap my kids do. How can anyone NOT ADMIT THEIR KIDS DRIVE THEM CRAZY AT TIMES?? But I also attend all their parent teacher conferences, go to school activitiets, chaperone school trips, get gifts for teachers, follow up with school issues by reinforcing them at home, institute rules at home and follow through with appropriate consequences, make them eat healthy, kiss them when they are hurt or kiss them for no reason at all. My goal is to enjoy my kids, encourage them and support them. Just because one laughs at the absurdity of parenthood doesn’t mean they brush off the responsibilities and aren’t a great parent.
Sharing is caring, Christie! 😉 And you make a great point that I was trying to throw into my post as well: these women are PRESENT in their kids’ lives. They drive them to school, help them with homework, practice soccer in the back yard. Doing all of those things is surely fulfilling, but can also be maddening. What’s the harm in admitting you’ve had enough of the carpool crap or soccer kicking?!!
Thanks for commenting, lady!
Dani Ryan says
Best. Post. Ever.
You said all of this so well, and I agree with every single point you made. I’ve re-read this THREE TIMES to try and figure out which point I love the most, but the truth of the matter is that I love all of it.
I do feel sorry for women like this who can’t see the humor in parenthood. Because it really is a fun ride. Especially when you can laugh about it!
They’re surely missing out, aren’t they?!
Hope your gal is feeling better! Hugs 🙂
The Sadder But Wiser Girl says
As always, well put. I love the fact that you are so good at summarizing so I didn’t have to go read that drivel. A gold star for you.
I am to please, Sarah 🙂
Mom Rants and Comfy Pants says
For someone who is an assistant professor of journalism (at Northwestern University no less), she is the poster child for someone who misses the point. Apparently she is more focused on what she WRITES, as opposed to what she READS. I am sure that raising her 3 boys alone was difficult. No doubt, dealing with the turmoil of her breast cancer was terrifying. It would seem to me that she has chosen to view her parenting journey through the lens of seriousness and has removed all the humor (and therefore the joy) from it. She spoke of a time when she crumpled to the floor while taking clothes out of the dryer and sobbed. She was so happy that her boys never saw this display of emotion. WHY????? I don’t make it a habit of crying all the time in front of my kids. But sometimes, we have to show our kids that we feel pain, and heartache and despair. How will our children know that it’s okay to have these feelings and express them openly with the people who care about us the most. Our children take their cues from us and they need to see all the sides of our personality that prove that even though we are their mothers, we are human. By seeing that we can get upset, angry and “lose it” from time to time allows them to see how we rectify those situations and learn from them. How will children learn forgiveness without having someone to forgive? And our children should see our funny, irreverent and even snarky sides sometimes as well. This way, they learn that we are well rounded people and they can feel safe to be the same. By the way, I WAS that militant mom who “followed the rules” and held in my feelings so my kids wouldn’t see any negative emotion. While my oldest kids are great today, they haven’t always made the best decisions. They felt that my standards were too high and they were terrified to make a mistake. I knew they were right and holding all of that in nearly ate me alive. Today, my youngest sees me as a real person who is flawed and he is the most secure, self assured, confident kid I know. I feel sad for Michele Weldon because she is the one who sounds bitter, angry and spent from being a mother. Too bad she decided to write a nasty, judgmental article. There are people in the blogging community who would have certainly helped her deal with those issues in a blog. She just couldn’t come down from her high horse long enough.
Reason #45024 I love you, Penny. I read about her battle with breast cancer and my heart goes out to her; she’s a survivor. But the same part of her article resonated with me; why not admit your tears to your kids? I don’t want my little ones to think I’m a robot; having emotions doesn’t mean I’m weak or a bad parent!
This is brilliant! With everything in life you have to have a sense of humor, or else that spark that makes you fun tends to go out. If you can’t laugh at your yourself and the stupid stuff you’ve done as well as the stuff your kids do, then you are doing something wrong.
Lynette, I couldn’t have said it better myself: f you can’t laugh at your yourself and the stupid stuff you’ve done as well as the stuff your kids do, then you are doing something wrong.
Great post! I think another important thing to remember is: Moms who pretend everything is butterflies and rainbows and who try to act the perfect parent and don’t relax often and who don’t dare say anything negative about Motherhood…..are the ones who are so much more likely to go postal. That said, I’ll swear and drink wine all I need to in order to keep my sanity!!!
Valid point, Michelle, and I thought the same thing when I was writing my response today. I would rather rant and rave on my blog than hold it in only to explode on my kids and husband.
Thanks for reading!
Practical Mama says
A friend of mine told me that when she was younger, one of their neighbors, who was also the mother of one of her classmates, was giving hard time to her mother -about her parenting skills- because my friend was dyeing her hair different colors etc. Eventually, that neighbor’s own daughter got busted for drugs.
So the premise of the story is not to judge anyone else’s parenting for what might possibly happen, because they are not parenting the same way you do. Keep an eye on your own children, to prevent what might happen to your own children while you are busy judging other people.
People should also come to an understanding that bloggers, reflect only a limited portion of their personalities and their life on their blogs. Unless, you get to know them in person, you cannot predict what their kids are going to be like.
Keep an eye on your own children people.
Practical Mama, you make so many good points in here I don’t even know where to begin! I’m not about to cast the first parenting stone, that’s for sure! And you’re absolutely right about the blogging gig. We don’t share every intimate detail or thought; although, putting ourselves out there is something that we’ve chosen to do so I guess we anticipate some backlash, right?
Chris Carter says
WOW. Your words are so eloquent and SPOT on Stephanie! I am a bit scared to go read her ‘drivel’… Oh my, I can’t pick just ONE line of yours that rocks- seriously? Every Single BIT of it rocks. BRAVO!!!! Standing O at my laptop right now!!!! You tell ’em girl!!! I simply turn the other way to people who judge and snarl and snare… I personally, refuse to spend any of my precious energy on that. I am so glad for people like you that fight the good fight for me! 🙂
Thanks, Chris! I guess I don’t have the “turn other cheek” personality, but I always feel the need to speak up and defend friends, those who can’t fend for themselves, etc. I get myself in trouble a lot. Obviously. 😉
Thank you for saying, so wonderfully, everything I felt when I read that article!
Thank YOU for reading!
Anita @ Losing Austin says
So agree with you! Except on one thing. I had to stop looking at the SM confessionals- some of the things there should be judged and there’s a reason they can’t say it to friends in real life. Namely, the confessions about being the other woman or about cheating on partners. It’s sad that the things really intended to be shared there, are sometimes overshadowed by women who have taken the ‘just do your best’ to mean that anything goes.
We have to be able to laugh at ourselves and our kids and our situations. We sometimes have to laugh to keep from crying!
Anita, I’ve seen those, too, and I’ve always wondered what made those women/parents feel the need to stray. Ya know? What if home life was so bad that they needed an outlet? I’m not saying it makes it right, but heeding Atticus Finch’s words to walk around in a man’s skin for a bit comes to mind!
Thank you for reading and for commenting!! xo
Jill Pinnella Corso says
I just attempted (for the second time) to read that article. Got a little further this time. I had to stop when she jumped to the conclusion that “cool” moms raise kids that get arrested. Just because you like a glass of wine at the end of the day, she assumes you’re going to let your kids and their friends have a raging kegger at the house? It’s a reach.
I also object to the idea that people that have a good situation are never allowed to complain. Everyone has problems and they’re all relative. Well said, Steph.
It’s a HUGE reach, and you’re absolutely right about everyone’s problems being relative. What is a “good situation,” anyway? We’ve got shit to deal with and unless she’s walked in our shoes, I don’t suppose she has a clue what she’s talking about.
Happy Belated Mothers Day Stephanie and all the other great moms on here. I suppose everyday is ‘mother’s day’ for you ladies, so I’m not really that late am I? Anyways…Stephanie I didnt read that whole article but I endorse #1 on your list. She needs a drink..preferably something with lots of apple vodka in it!
Thank you for the belated Mother’s Day wishes, Vernette! Very kind of you! Now get over here to the states so WE can have ourselves some apple vodka 😉
Bravo! That article was so pathetic it wouldn’t have warranted a rise out of me, except she called out Jill and Nicole, who are kind and generous women, and wonderful mothers. What’s Her Face just seems sand and mean-spirited.
Besides, how can we be mad at someone who calls us cool kids? I haven’t been called cool in forever! It’s about time someone realized how bad ass we all are. (See how I put myself in the same category as the heavy hitters?)
You know, I thought long and hard about including that chick’s name and/or a link back to her piece, but the English teacher in me just had to give the author credit and cite my sources!
P.S. You’re right where you belong with the heavy hitters, Mama!
Kristine Castagnaro says
THANK YOU! I woke up this morning still annoyed. You articulated (so damn quickly, I might add) the messed up jumble of thoughts in my head. When I’m trying to be more compassionate, instead of just pissed off, I think that Michele Weldon is afraid. She’s afraid that a new way of mothering might be better than hers.
I always go with the list when I don’t have the brain cells to put together a more coherent, dazzling post like Alan’s! Thank you for reading and for commenting, Kristine!!
Carisa Miller says
Brilliant! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how motherhood has made me less judgmental. Apparently it can also have the opposite effect. How does someone not get that we who write about our children love them so much that we write about our children?
Carisa, RIGHT?! Motherhood has definitely humbled me in ways that I never could have imagined. Let’s start with everyone all up in my biz while birthing, followed up by my 6’5 male nurse who helped my kid latch onto my boob. Seriously. Laugh or cry…which one sounds like more fun?!
Excellent post Stephanie! Well, you know where I stand on this issue! If you can’t laugh at this craziness called motherhood you would most certainly cry. I prefer to laugh than cry so let’s find some humor in all this poop and snot and have some fun sharing this with other parents so we can all commiserate and laugh together!
Thanks so much, Melissa! I definitely know where you stand, and that’s part of the reason me likes you so much 🙂 That and you give me kick ass ideas for creative stuff to do with/for my kids!!
Wowzers! Fantastic post! Judginess is my biggest parenting pet peeve. Miss Judgy Wudgy clearly needs to take a deep breath, make herself a nice cup of tea, and sit down and read my favourite parenting article of all time: http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/ (And I’d just better hope she doesn’t track back to the post where I call my 3 year-old a jerk!)
Sometimes 3-year-olds are jerks. Period!!
Thanks for stopping by, Karyn!
JD Bailey @ Honest Mom says
ROCK ON, lady. I completely, totally agree. And I loved the comments on Michele Weldon’s post too – so many people obviously agree that she needs to get off her high horse. Her post was infuriating!
It sure was!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow, great post!! So glad you had the fortitude and patience to read through that drivel (I kinda skimmed the final section) that SO CLEARLY skips an SEO stone across so many major hot topic links I was almost embarrassed for her. I mean, I’m desperate for pageviews, but have some blogging self-respect, Michelle McJudgerson!
I loved calling her out. Someone had to, right? 😉
Melissa S. says
It seems to me that bloggers are actually doing quite the opposite of taking a dismissive approach to motherhood. If anything, we’re over analyzing the hell out of it, lol. Humor is what makes human beings really connect. A smile is universal, no matter the language, so why wouldn’t we laugh at ourselves? It doesn’t mean we are laughing AT our kids, just at their antics and the unbelievability that we actually created someone that funny. And I’m so damn tired of the judgy-wudgy thing. Aren’t the 50s over yet?
I just checked my calendar, Melissa, and you are correct. The 50s are long gone, yet some would still prefer women to be starching shirts and shutting their mouths. Sucks to be them, eh?