The parenting put-down that needs to stop.

| 44 Comments

I’m going serious today, y’all.

Last week, I wrote a post called Three Truths and a Lie About Having Twins. It also went up on Mamapedia on Tuesday. Most people really connected with it, but I did get some negative feedback. This negative feedback all said, more or less, that the commenters felt bad for my children because I obviously do not like them.

Now, this isn’t a new song and dance. Just about anytime someone complains about their children on a blog or on other social media, someone is going to helpfully speak up to say what awful parents they are. It seems that the default slight made at parents who are honest about how much parenthood sucks sometimes is that we must not like our children.

Shockingly (since I write so much about my terrible parenting,) this is the first time it has happened to me. So I would like to respond.

First of all, bite me.

Second of all, this idea that if we love our children then we must love parenting without qualification is outdated and false. Just look in the parenting section of any bookstore and you are sure to find a dozen books about how hard it is to be a mother. You can’t shake a stick without hitting a parenting blog that tells it like it is. Everything about parenthood is messy; conceiving a child is messy, giving birth is messy, and raising a child is messy. That cat is out of the bag.

But despite all that has been written to show that the idea of the perfect parent is a lie, and to show every parent out there that they are not alone in their moments of frustration and unhappiness, we are still burdened by this idea that if we say anything negative about parenthood, then that means that we don’t love our children. It’s an easy diss by the judgmental and unsympathetic. It is meant to cut us down, and put a crack in the already fragile shell of confidence we have in ourselves as parents.

In my opinion, however, love is more honest when you’ve gone through both the peaks and the valleys than if you’ve driven the smooth road around them. It’s when love is tested that it shows its strength. And how much stronger can love be than to be driven to your absolute breaking point by your child, and yet still be willing to give your life for them at any second?

Yes, there are times when I wish my children were almost anywhere else so that I could have some time to myself. There are times where I don’t want to play with them, and tell them so. There are times when I yell and scream. There are times when none of us like each other very much.

But I LOVE my children more than anything on this earth. And they know that. No matter what, THEY KNOW THAT. I love them so much it hurts, and I tell them that so often that sometimes they don’t even hear it. “I love you” becomes chatter behind the story they want to tell me about their video game, or a momentary interruption before they can ask me that question about how far outer space is. It is not a statement that requires a response or even any attention, and that is how it should be. For my kids, “I love you” is the background noise of their childhood.

Parents shouldn’t have to defend their love for their children to anyone. We shouldn’t feel the need to say, “Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I love my kids…” Of course you do! Can we please give each other the benefit of the doubt? Can we assume that love is a given? Sure, there are horrible and abusive parents out there. There are parents who do hate their children. But they aren’t writing a whole lot of parenting blogs, and they don’t tend to talk openly about the hatred they have for their children. If you can’t tell the difference between a frustrated, exhausted parent and one who truly hates their child, then you need to talk to more parents. The more parents you talk to, the more you will see how very normal it is to say things like, “I would rather give birth to and raise an incontinent porcupine than another child,” and still love your children.

So can we please, PLEASE find a new put down? How about calling me a fatty? Or telling me that I dress funny? Both of those things are true. But when it comes to my feelings for my children, get off your goddamn high horse. If you enjoy judging, go to the state fair and pick the best pig in show. Just give me — and all the other moms and dads out there who busy loving our children through the hard work that is parenting — a break.

Author: admin

Meredith likes to write the funny at her blog, Pile of Babies (http://www.pileofbabies.com).

44 Comments

  1. Yes, yes, and yes. And a big Amen to that!

  2. I’ve been debating writing a response to some of the negative stuff on my last piece but oddly I almost feel vindicated just reading yours. People love to be negative, especially on the nameless, faceless internet. It happens to the most honest, the funniest, the best of posts. I thought your post was hysterical and refuse, as always, to believe those couple of hundred words represents all of you as a mother (or wife).
    Carinn @welcometothemotherhood recently posted..Are YOU Going To Have More Kids?My Profile

  3. Eff those stupid robots. My skin has become thicker than ever since I started putting words on the Internet – but I know that it’s hard to get those first bits of criticism. Try not to let it get to you – you are an amazing mother!
    Guerrilla Mom recently posted..All The Stereotypes About Living With Your Mother Are TrueMy Profile

  4. *Thunderous applause*

    This needs to be on every publication ever and I’m going to share the shit out of it. I’m sick of sanctimonious harpies taking out their insecurities about their own parenting on patent bloggers. Go read the comments section on Kristen howerton’s HuffPost piece about holidays with kids yesterday. It will make you batty.

  5. Could not agree more; it is so sad one will always find a hater or someone whose only desire is to put you down. And that is where all the blogs have the power – to tell the truth, all the truth and nothing but the truth – there are moments, days, weeks (!) when parenting sucks. If someone (a parent) disagrees with that he is either the luckiest fool on the planet or just blind and lying.
    Alexandra recently posted..StorySmith: Medieval Kingdom reviewMy Profile

  6. Perfectly put! I always suspect those people are kicking their dog behind closed doors.
    Kim recently posted..A special guest post by a special skank!My Profile

  7. Right on the money, my friend.
    Well done.
    (and the “go to the state fair and pick a prize pig” line is golden!)
    Laura recently posted..Thoughts on Spring Break, Part IIMy Profile

  8. I always assume those comments come from people who don’t have kids. Seriously. Kids can drive you batty. My mom always said, “I will always love you, but that doesn’t mean I always have to like you.” So true. Sometimes moms get cranky, or their kids are behaving badly, or we’ve all just spent too much time together. It’s normal to not enjoy every aspect of parenthood. I mean, who loves cleaning poop off the floor? Nobody.

  9. Dude. People suck sometimes. Isn’t it weird that we can get a million compliments, but a single shitty criticism can dig at you all day like a tiny rock in your show? There are a few comments buried on my blog that I still go back and look at from time to time to poke and see if they still hurt.

    Oh well. You rock. I know you rock. Lot’s of other people know you rock. Your kids know you rock. And I’m pretty sure you know that you rock. So just keep rocking and let the shit heads be shit heads.

    Thanks for all your awesome posts! They make me happy.
    John at Ask Your Dad recently posted..Things My Wife Told Me Not to Put on the InternetMy Profile

  10. Um, Hell Yes.

  11. you rock my world.
    BEST essay YET!

  12. Very well said, Meredith. There are a lot of crazies out there on the Interwebs looking to ding others from behind the veil of some anonymous avatar. And a lot of weirdos with absolutely no sense of humor or satire. I’m guessing these same people respond to articles in The Onion with total outrage.

    Keep up the good work.
    Jeff recently posted..How to Deal with Needlessly Naked Guy, Part II: So Long to the DongMy Profile

  13. Well done! I could not have said it better!

  14. I wanted to respond with everything that has already been said, so I’ll think fast here – thank you, thank you, thank you for putting my frustration (perfectly) into words. Corny as it sounds, I respect the shit out of you right now. Can I print it on a postcard and hand it out to people when they even start to utter a condescending word about my parenting? I’ll even hand them out for the hell of it, like the deaf people at Taco Bell – sans the pen with a silk rose tied to the end of it.
    Tahlia B. recently posted..My Recent Steal: Free Product Coupon TripMy Profile

  15. I think a lot of parents prepare their kids for a perfect world in which people behave and do the right thing and say the right thing and don’t get angry. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist, and when these kids get into the real world, they are shell-shocked. My kids know that I’m human. Sometimes I say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, get mad yell, swear, act inappropriately, or whatever. Knowing that their mom, who they love and who they know loves them more than anything in the world, is human and flawed gives them a more accurate and compassionate world view. I think that if they thought I was perfect and one day woke up and read my blog and saw what a mess I am, they’d probably be pretty messed up.

    I love your writing and appreciate your genuineness, your honestly, and your uncanny ability to put a funny spin on some of the issues and frustrations we all face. Anyone who wants to throw stones at you should probably make sure they are wearing shoes so they don’t step on the shards of their glass house.
    Mary recently posted..I. Have. Issues.My Profile

  16. Bite me, indeed! You speak for many with this post – loved it!
    Daily Dose of Damn recently posted..Learn Your Cheeses – One Less WorryMy Profile

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Nailed it.
    Mackenzie @ Raising Wild Things recently posted..Multiple Personality ParentingMy Profile

  18. I think too many parents nowadays need to have those sticks surgically removed from their asses.
    Shannon akaMonty recently posted..Just call me Mother Fail.My Profile

  19. Agreed! Also: The Incontinent Porcupines would be a good name for a band. Just sayin’.

  20. Preach it, Sister!
    GunDiva recently posted..Italy, Day 5My Profile

  21. Hot damn, Meredith! I wish I would have had you in my corner when all those bitches in middle school were giving me a hard time. Rock on with your bad self.

    I found myself in the same predicament when I was out on a girl’s night (like, one of three in the last four years). I was explaining that as much as I love my son – he is totally a little fucker sometimes. Oh, lord. The look I got from one of my friends (who does not have kids, by the way)… Murderous eyes.

    I’m with you – let’s pick a new parenting style to hate on. Like those parents who drag their children around the mall on leashes that pretend to be backpacks… Unless you do that. Then we’ll pick something else. :)
    Lisa recently posted..The Big OMy Profile

  22. You guys are awesome. Thanks for the nice words!!!

    Mer
    admin recently posted..The parenting put-down that needs to stop.My Profile

  23. I am SO glad someone put this out on twitter where I happened across it! Bless you!
    Ironically I just told a friend yesterday that I always love my children fiercely, sometime I just don’t like some of them all that much. It happens. And I know they feel the same about me sometimes too!

  24. Well said!!
    My one year old is teething and after a LONG weekend together, I said to my husband last night “If daycare is closed tomorrow because of the snow and I have to stay home with the baby, I might go insane!”
    I love that child more than anything but I am ready to go back to work after the weekend.

  25. I’m always surprised that a large chunk of this type of criticism comes from people who don’t even have kids. Then I remember the things I used to think or say before I had kids; I always said, “Why would anyone let their kid watch a singing purple dinosaur?” A few years and one toddler later, I was all, “This singing cucumber is brilliant.”
    Sarah recently posted..On the Title of this BlogMy Profile

  26. Pingback: The parenting put-down that needs to stop. |Google Alerts – Parenting | Self-Improvement

  27. Hang in there, people without children say the stupidest things.
    I had a frumpy old man approach me in Bruegger’s the other day to interrupt my 3 year old’s tantrum and inform me that my child was annoying. “Yes, I know she is.” Did he really think that he was teaching me something? Or helping somehow? Or that his bagel was so sacred and holy that a screaming child would ruin his dining experience? Or that I was actually ENJOYING the show? I offered to let him spank my 3 yr old to see if it would accomplish something. And have people call Protective Services on him instead of myself. Funny, he didn’t want to actually DO anything about it, just yell at me…
    There’s just no explaining some people.

    Oh, and Sarah, the singing cucumber IS brilliant.
    Joy recently posted..Pregnancy and Dog FoodMy Profile

    • JEEZ. Thank you for your input. I will take it back to management. “Hey, so this guy at the bagel shop said he thought screaming kids were ANNOYING. Hm. we might need to rethink the prototype.”

  28. YES! I have been blessed with relatively easy kids. HOWEVER, the well mannered, well behaved kids they have become has been a shit -load of hard work. Work that I didn’t like. It was not fun, parenting is not fun and happiness and roses and skipping. It’s hard f’ing work. I also homeschool – this is 24/7 y’all. I would die for them, but very few people (including my husband) understand the need to be AWAY from the precious ones for my sanity.
    Very well written. Continue to preach it sister! You’ve found a new fan in me. :)
    L

  29. Very well said! Some people have nothing better to do with their time than to judge others harshly, so that they can convince themselves that they are superior. We all know that only seriously insecure people do that, so if they are fooling anyone, it may be themselves. I adore honest, straight-talking people who don’t have hidden agendas. Therefore, I enjoy your blog very much. Don’t worry about the “trolls”. They are always out there waiting to criticize and cause conflict. You just keep doing what you do best, and know that it is appreciated by many.

  30. I am never one that leaves comments, rather I tend to just stalk other blogs. HOWEVER, I cannot go forward without giving this post what it deserves:
    **Standing Ovation**

  31. Thank you!! I read your “Three Truths and a Lie About Having Twins” and loved it! While I don’t have twins, and cannot possibly imagine the daily, no minutely (is that a word?) challenges of that responsibility, I was still able to connect with the blog. I LOVE my daughters with all my heart and soul and would lay down my life for them without a second’s thought. HOWEVER, there are moments of parenting that I despise; things nobody told me about when I was planning my ‘happy family.’ So, for future mothers, I thank you for your honesty. I wish someone had taken the time to tell me there would be times when being a Mommy just, well sucks. It wouldn’t have deterred me from having my daughters, but at least I would have been better prepared and known there would be times I’d wish for just five minutes of freedom. Could have helped me to avoid the hefty guilt I feel for having those thoughts/wishes.
    And as for those on their high horses, with their judging opinions: opinions are like @$$holes ~ everybody has one. Try keeping yours to yourself.

  32. Pingback: Parenting Pet Peeves | Another Big Bite

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