The post starts off dramatically: “I don’t like my children, at least part of the time.” This was a guest post by the blogger Adventures of Not A Super Mom*, hosted by the blog Scary Mommy. She goes on to qualify the statement immediately, of course: “There. I said it. Don’t misunderstand me, I love them dearly, and would cut a bitch should she mess with them. I love my children more than anything, including but not limited to, my right kidney. But, when pressed to admit it, I just don’t *like* them sometimes.”
Over the last few days I’ve watched, with sadness, the ripples from the post scatter across the blogosphere. The momosphere can be a pretty judgmental place. Many were dismayed about the post title and first line, and expressed worry that the children about whom this post was written would find the post and suddenly know this painful truth, the fact that at one point in time for one day their mother was frustrated enough to say out loud and online, “I don’t like my children.” Jill, the author of Scary Mommy, responded today to the detractors saying:
Motherhood is hard. The joyous and beautiful moments far outweigh the frustrating and infuriating ones, but they don’t comprise the complete package. If there is a mother out there who has effortlessly glided through this ride without a complaint, I want to know what pills she’s popping because it’s just impossible. Some mothers cope with alcohol, some cope with expensive shopping habits, some cope with extreme dieting, some cope with affairs… and some write. You tell me which is most detrimental to a family.
Personally, I’ve spoken extensively about my frustrations as a parent on my blog, up to and including specific behaviors my daughter has exhibited that worried me – such as that phase a while back where she hit our dog. The post I wrote about that was full of first-time-mom angst, wondering what I had done wrong as a mom that my amazing little girl would do such a horrible thing. Luckily, people told me the truth: she was a preschooler. She didn’t have a large arsenal with which to express her feelings, and it wasn’t a big deal. And you know what? It wasn’t. She stopped that behavior as soon as we made it clear that it wasn’t okay. But in that day? In that moment? I was a scared mom, I needed to vent, and I did: as a mom blogger, I told my story about being a mother that day.
The truth is, we never know a person’s whole story. We don’t know if the blogger or mother in question is just having a bad day, a bad week, or a bad year. We don’t know if she’s got post partum depression. We don’t know if she’s suffering from PTSD. We don’t know if she has Caregiver Depression. We don’t know anything about someone, really, based on a single blog post – any more than we really know the story of a mom blogger that snaps out on twitter, “I would never say THAT about MY children online.” We are all just human, and frail, and full of love and sadness and frustrations and suffering in some way.
The internet is instant. I think all of us – both mom bloggers and those that read (and judge) them – should all take a step back, take a deep breath, and think: do I really need to say that? Sometimes the answer to that question at any given moment for a mom is going to be yes, I really DO need to say that. So when a mom blogger does share at that bitter moment, perhaps instead of acting on our initial judgmental reactions, we can instead all extend a hand out and say, We’re so sorry it’s horrible for you right now. How can we help?
*The original blogger linked in this post was inaccurate. The bloggers is Adventures of Not a Supermom, and not Not A Supermom. My apologies to both bloggers.
MORE ON BABBLE:
Everyone else is spared on my blog, except for me — Amalah on being a public oversharer
Do writer moms owe their kids more privacy online?
Heather Spohr asks, should we really write that we “hate” our kids?
Why I write about my kid on the Internet