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April 07, 2010

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Wow. I just read this post. And thought - this is great. This is how I feel. I've always thought we should just support each other as parents doing what we feel is best for our situation and I don't like the *hate* that is out there for people who chose a different path. I thought this was a great post summarizing that - that maybe it was our own guilt leading to that hate and that maybe we should just get past it and support one another.

And then I read the hate in the comments. I guess you can't get away from it, even in a post that I think was supposed to get away from it.

Kristen - because I don't think it can be said enough - I enjoy your post today and I enjoy your blog and thank you for putting yourself out there. You are a leader in the community of support that exists now due to social media & blogs - and I hope people who are posting negatively realize that this is supposed to be about providing support and not about taking it away.
Thank you.

I read that study, too, and I was glad to do so. My first breastfeeding experience only lasted 3 months due to my inexperience and first-time motherhood jitters. I felt guilty for stopping so early, even if Dawson did start the weaning process on his own.

Owen is 6 months old and I'm still nursing (successfully, after those first 8 weeks of HELL) and I've endured some praise, but even more negativity. I don't judge other moms for their choice to breastfeed or not, and I'm tired of being judged for my decision -- but perhaps I just need to ignore the naysayers.

The things is, mothers are too often set up to fail by others. And I hate to say it, but it will probably happen for years to come. We've all asked, "Can't we all just get along?" And the answer is, sometimes. Depends on the topic I guess.

We all do the best we can, and we need to be compassionate to other moms. Okay. Stepping off my soapbox now.

Yo, poking my head through the volatility and saying, amen, Kristen.

LadyHash,

You're really off the bus here. Quoting someone directly, who is publicly responding to a third party, is not grounds for a libel claim by that third party. The closest someone can come to claim libel here is the person quoted, but, as I said, they have no grounds if the statements made about them are true. This third-party has no standing whatsoever.

Unless, of course, the third-party wants to sue the second party for publishing something that gives the appearance that the third-party holds an opinion that they don't. The "it makes me feel small too" remark might illegitimately paint the third-party as having said "it makes me feel small", which, if false, would be a reason for the third party to claim libel against the second. But not against Kristen; she didn't make any statements about the third party at all beyond noting that the third party was the person being responded to and that her tweets are private. Find another statement about the third party that isn't actually about either the second party directly or about people in general who hold views like that one indirectly. If the third party does hold views like that, then they are certainly included under the umbrella, but unfortunately they're included in a way that makes the statements about them true, not libelous. You're itching to find offense where there isn't one, and now you've decided that the offense is libel, and you're foolishly wrong.

Sweeping generalizations about the third-party? Inflammatory condemnations in response to a theoretical comment? Manufacturing drama? These are, it seems, false statements, and arguably malicious ones at that, uless you can convince someone that you really believe them and you aren't trying to defame Kristen by making them. If they aren't lies, then they're merely stupid. Any generalizations are based on the quoted, second-party; any responses (whether they are condemnations or not) are to the second party. You've demonstrated again that you don't understand what libel means, since you've actually published false statements with seemingly malicious intent for the purpose of defaming Kristen.

And I offer a pen in case you want to fill out paperwork for an idiotic law suit. Anyone can file, why not you?

@backpacking dad,

OH! You were gonna make TRUE statements! That's interesting. See, that wasn't apparent from your initial comment.

I assumed you -- like Kristen -- were going to make sweeping generalizations, and inflammatory condemnations in response to a theoretical comment made by an individual. Because if you did THAT, your published statements would NOT be based upon facts (ie an attributable, recorded quote), and you could be accused of libel because you damaged a person's personal and professional reputation.

Bottom line: the real message of Kristen's post is lost because of her ill-conceived introduction. I am however confident that her blog stats (and ad revenue) have benefited from this manufactured drama.

Also: why would I need a pen?

christ, if I had a hot tub time machine I would just want it to take me back to a time before twitter.

Totally agree girl! My sister is pregnant and I can already see what she has to face day to day.

Oh, speaking of which... check this website out www.pregnancybda.com if you know of someone pregnant. I know it had been a great support for my sister for all the future moms, I just wanted to give a shout out :)

Also check out the promotions they have to offer :D

Thanks for the great post, I will make sure my sister reads it so that she is ready for her future!

@LadyHash

I'm not sure you understand what "libel" means. It's not "telling people that someone talked to/about someone ELSE who thought they were hidden", which is essentially what Kristen did and what I would be doing if I quoted a book that responded to letters, and mentioned the author of those private letters by name.

The key element in a libel suit is the truth of the published statements. If they are true, then even if the opinion about the person generated by making the statements is a bad one, there is no recourse for the person claiming the libel.

There are no legal implications to writing ABOUT (or quoting) a published response to a private statement. That's idiotic.

On the other hand, as my wife is fond of saying, anyone can sue anyone else for anything, even idiotic things. There is no reason someone couldn't sue Kristen for libel. It would be as effective as suing her for destruction of property or wrongful death, but the paperwork can be done.

Did you want to borrow a pen?

Backpacking Dad,

If you were to pursue that scenario, you should consider your moral AND legal obligations. Of particular interest: the application of libel laws when a participant has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

I read a book once that was written in reply to some unpublished letters. It didn't quote the letters, but it named the author and conveyed some feelings that arose because of reading his letters.

But now I know, based on the finger-wagging in the comments here, that if I ever feel compelled to write about my own response to that book I am morally obligated to not mention the author of the letters by name, because that's dragging him into a discussion against his will.


I. Call. Bullshit.

Kristen - Thanks so much for this post. It hit me on a couple of levels.

First, I wanted to link to the study about breastfeeding on my blog, but I didn't because I didn't want to cause any guilt in my friends/readers who were unable to or didn't want to breastfeed. Your talking about the discussion on Twitter got me thinking, and I think I am going to write a post and link to it but frame the link in a way to let my non-breastfeeding friends know not to click the link if it might make them feel bad.

Second, I've actually been feeling guilty lately that I don't really feel guilty for anything! I've made the best decisions and choices for my family that I was able to make at the time, and I've come to terms with the ones that didn't meet my ideals. But everyone else seems to feel guilty about so many things, that I've begun to think that I SHOULD be feeling guilty about some choices and wondering why I don't. Isn't that insane? I'm going to stop that now. Instead, I'm going to try to encourage other mothers so they can come to terms with any guilt they have and realize that we are all just doing the best we can with what we have at the time.

Annnd...I agree with Catherine, wow...people on the 'nets, particularly Twitter, are very, very touchy.

I haven't read all the comments so please forgive me if I am repeating something already said.

A lot of parenting guilt comes from comparing your choices to other people's choices. Personally, I didn't even consider breastfeeding. It just wasn't for me, so I didn't do it. I was bottle fed and I am just fine, thanks. My son is fine also.

There will always be someone to compare with and that can go one of two ways. You can compare to the mother who makes you feel better about your choices or you can compare to the mother who makes you feel guilty about your choices. So I say screw them both and do what you feel is best.

I'm not a tweeter or blogger, but I want to thank my friend who sent me this link and the writer for your time and effort to brighten (or enlighten) someone's day. This blog speaks volumes to the women who constantly second quess. I try very hard to live my life with a go forward attitude. What's done is done and we can only learn a lesson from it and move on. I'm one of eight and my parents will freely admit that with each child they learned along the way so I quess that means the youngest had the best parenting. But in reality each of us are who we are because of our parents and we are all great at what we do. Thanks for reminding us (mothers) that no one is perfect and our attempts at achieving that perfection will only drive us crazy.

You're right. If we not only as parents, but just as people bought into EVERY study that's ever done, we'd go insane. Look at eggs. Eat eggs, don't eat eggs, eat eggs, but not the yolks, whole eggs are ok, but no more than 3x per week. WTF? Even the "experts" can't make up their minds. I think we all just do the best we can and as long as safety's not an issue, it's ok. It's not like kids come out holding a manual.

Wow, people are glitchy!

Here's what I thought your blog post meant: "Moms, it's ok. Don't feel so guilty."

Apparently it actually meant "nyah-nyah, inferior mothers; I am judging you." Oops :)

Oh, sorry - you *reference* a private, locked, never-read tweet before hauling the private, locked, never-read tweeter into a shitstorm of judgement. My bad.

Motherhood Uncensored,

Your assertion that Sue "had nothing to do with this interaction or post at all," is patently false. You MENTION her by name in paragraph 4! YOU brought her into this discussion, so don't act surprised when she gets upset with your very-public, mean-spirited judgments.

I can not fathom why you even felt it was necessary to reference Sue, or EWiller or Slouchy in your preamble to this post?

I wear guilt like sackcloth, and it's hard to shake off. We need to be reminded - CONSTANTLY - that it's worth the shaking, whatever it takes.

(Also, WOW. You WIN at having people freak out at you. I thought I'd clinched the title when I failed to check my grad-school vocab before tweeting on the weekend and got accused of leading a witch hunt, but this, I think, beats that.)

This is such a beautiful and inspiring post.

I have to agree with other commenters that it felt really unnecessary to pinpoint anyone in making the points you made. It didn't provide context, it just distracted me from your message.

@kgirl -- As per the added note in the post above, I can't quote a locked tweet. The tweet quoted is Emma's, with Sue being mentioned only so folks can understand the context of Emma's reply.

Wow, Sue. Why so defensive? As Kristen said, it was a conversation that got her thinking about an issue. That's all.

Now, what about guilt over c-sections I had that I really did want? Can I unload that guilt too, please? ;)

This post is a keeper Kristen. So much wisdom in here.

Whatever you did or didn't quote is besides the point, or at least that's how I read it - it's true. If we can try and be confident about our own choices, fewer things are in fact, less hurtful or cutting to us.

Whenever I see someone like "lalala I love the suburbs, my children are playing outside in the backyard and I'm hanging up my clothes in one of our 47 closets" my first instinct is defensiveness. It hits a bit of a sore spot for me. Then I have to remember that that comment isn't about *my* choice to live in the city with more pets than rooms. It's not about me at all.

Also, if I moved to the suburbs I might not survive the first weekend.

(Final note? Direct messaging works really went on twitter for conversations not meant to be overheard or seen by others.)

Full disclosure - I am a good friend of Sue and Emma, like, an IRL friend. Slouchy, I am happily getting to know.

I agree with two thirds of what you write here - about the guilt, about shedding that guilt, about being comfortable with the choices we make as mothers.

But, here's the thing - you jumped to conclusions. Wrongly. You quoted a private, locked tweet and then exposed that private, locked tweeter to the judgement of your readers (And some of it is pretty harsh here). And you have many readers, and that's great, but you know what they say - with great 'power' comes great responsibility. This feels terribly irresponsible.

I realize you have your tweets locked Sue, but from what I can tell, Slouchy's tweets are public as were Emma's (since I can read them) - and what's written in a public domain can be quoted (when given credit - as I did).

If you read the post (because I'm going to assume from your comment that you did not), you'll notice that I did not ever say you felt guilty about not breastfeeding. Nor did I even say Emma felt guilty.

What I am saying is that from the conversation that I was reading because I follow Slouching Mom and her tweets (and therefore her replies) are public, I observed that she felt compelled to apologize for being insensitive based on her own tweets - none of which I felt deserved an apology to anyone, and the conversation that I observed on a public forum was an impetus for my post

The only reason I mentioned you in this post was to give a context for Emma's tweet. And indeed, Emma tweeted back about how she wasn't offended by Slouching Mom's tweet, but that those studies often give her pause (this is a paraphrase from my memory of her tweet).

So really, you had nothing to do with this interaction or post at all.


I was sooooo stressed and confused by all the conflicting advice out there after I had my son. It was awful. For every book or article or doctor or mom that told you to do one thing, there was an equal number of "experts" telling you to do the opposite! Also, I do think we need to be better about not getting all "uppity" about others and their choices or statements. Everyone speaks from their own perspective and reality. You nailed it when you said that people who criticize usually do so because they have guilt or an insecurity with themselves. I hear ya, sister! Good post!

Hi. I'm Sue Fisher. You don't know me from a hole in the ground, nor do you know the content of my private tweet stream. All of which leaves me confused as to why you chose to name me in this post and to imply that I should really just get over my maternal guilt with respect to breastfeeding.

First off, I don't actually suffer guilt over breastfeeding. Sure, I did at one point but I am long over that now. My tweet to Sarah, was not intended to discredit her experience with breastfeeding. I am a huge supporter of women who breastfeed b/c I know how very hard it can be to make it work.

If this post is supposed to be a post about rejecting maternal guilt, why not just write that post instead of piggy-backing onto a conversation you know nothing about? Could it be that there's only, oh, about 1,000 posts in the blogosphere about rejecting maternal guilt and that you just needed a (wholly fabricated) twit-snit to make it sound fresh once more?

Here's some facts:

Did I tell Sarah that I wouldn't read the study b/c breastfeeding had already made me feel small enough as it is? Why, yes I did. But here's the thing about a private twitter account. It's PRIVATE. A conversation between Sarah and I (and the few dozen other folks I have consciously chosen to follow) is carried out under the assumption of a degree of privacy. You blogging about it is a breach of that privacy. It was inappropriate for you to infer a tone in that situation that simply did not exist.

Why do Sarah and I follow each other on Twitter? Because we are friends--good friends, as a matter of fact. We have read every word the other one has written for over 3 years. We email or DM a few times a week and we even talk on the phone now and then. Why, Sarah even traversed half a continent to come visit me last summer just so the two of us could spend a few days together. She met my daughter; we laughed; we hugged. I think the world of her.

When Sarah saw my tweet, she likely didn't think "Hey, get over your mother guilt," because that's not how friends treat each other. Instead, she likely remembered that my issues with breastfeeding were a sign of a metabolic disorder that I suffer from and that went undiagnosed for three years because no one in the health care community took my breastfeeding troubles seriously. She likely remembered all the posts I wrote AND THAT SHE READ about how that disorder messed up my body and mind terribly, putting 50 extra pounds on my small frame, causing me chronic biomechanical issues, altering my moods and ability to concentrate and, most particularly, playing roulette with my fertility. It was Sarah (and a few dozen other close friends I've made out here) that walked with me as that lapsed fertility resulted in 2 miscarriages in 3 months and that in effect dashed all my hopes at having a second child.

You see, Sarah knows all this and more because she is kind and took the time to get to know me. She also saw my follow-up tweet which explained that my original tweet was not personal and she also knows the degree of stress I am under right now--the kind of stress that makes me punchy sometimes. She also knows I always apologize when forthrightness slips over the line into moody punchiness.

So unless you are thinking of changing the name of your blog to Motherhood Uninformed, I humbly suggest you apologize for making false assumptions about my motives in tweeting to Sarah that night. You could apologize to Emma too while you're at it but I don't presume to speak for her.

In closing, I find it interesting that you title this post "Permission," because shouldn't you really delve a little deeper and seek permission before writing about a person's private tweets?

The thing is, you can kick guilt's ass all you want/can, but sometimes those mean comments just haunt your dreams... I couldn't breastfeed (no milk), didn't use cloth diapers, didn't make my own baby food, had both my daughters in full-time "school" when they were 2... And yeah, sometimes, I feel guilty. The breastfeeding thing was the hardest to take - my body failed me in its most primary function, feeding my child, and I took it hard. But the hardest criticism I've ever, ever had to take was when a so-called friend (we haven't spoken since, and this goes back to 2001!) claimed that my first daughter died in utero at 5 and a half months because God was punishing me for not being married (my partner and I have been together for 14 years, by the way). I don't believe in God, but that comment hurt me more than anything.
Great post, Kristen - we all need to give each other a little slack, we're all doing our best!

How is beginning a post by shitting on someone else's feelings - feelings you don't actually know a thing about - going to help mothers FEEL better about themselves and their choices? The way this post begins (mean-spirited) really undermines what you say your point is. If you want to encourage people to try to forgive themselves, shouldn't you begin by perhaps doling out a bit of compassion?

Just because the twitter exchange started you thinking about the topic doesn't mean you have to begin your blog post that way. And if you really feel that adds rhetorical value to your post (which it probably doesn't, since you have no idea if the reaction, in fact, had anything whatsoever to do with maternal guilt), you could at least generalize the reference so it doesn't look so petty.

@blithebabbler and @ladyhash - I wasn't making any negative assumptions about either @ewiller or @suefisher. The crux of my post was that @slouchy was apologizing for being insensitive after tweeting the bfing study (and with no other tweet trail in HER own feed that indicated she said anything offensive).

This post would convey the exact same sentiment without the "response" tweets from Emma or Sue. However, the tweets that I couldn't read from Sue did prompt Slouchy to apologize, so I think it's fair to assume that something was conveyed by just Slouchy's tweet that struck a nerve.

I don't think it's appropriate for you to make assumptions about the content of tweets that you did not read, nor should you use that person's name in a post that is inspired by YOUR assumptions about HER perspective, or opinion.

I have been married for 26 years and raised three grown children - check - my wife has really done the brunt of the work. I've been allowed to participate along the way.

To me the breastfeeding is symptomatic of the real issue, which is mothers guilt about all the things they want to do and try very hard to do. At times, it all comes crashing down on them because it becomes overwhelming and it just isn't physicaly or emotionally possible.

They pick themselves up, feel bad that they aren't a superheroine, and work their darnest to be there for the children 24/7. The crash into reality does not deter my wife. Many times, I see her working harder and longer.

Bottom line: I hopefully help out more often as her partner to provide for the kids, but try my best to also help her see all the things that she has done, shaped, influenced and provided. The glass is more than half full.

Yes, I may agree with you on a lot of what you are saying here, and I do believe we as mothers need to cut ourselves more slack and give up some of the guilt. However, I think that quoting someone's tweet that is in reply to a tweet that you don't know the content of, thus inferring what the content and tone of that conversation was, is a dangerous business. As you pointed out, one of the parties you mentioned locks her tweets. You don't know the entirety of what that tweet was, and are only assuming the content/tone/etc from the follow-up tweet, and we all know what happens when we assume. Furthermore, you paint a portrait via this half-conversation that may not be accurate or indicative of anyone's point of view or emotions on this subject. The picture is, I'm sure, certainly more complex than the 12-word reply from @ewiller would suggest.

Using articles and discussions and tweets as fodder for blog posts is all well and good, but perhaps when you don't have the whole picture, you should just go with the post itself and leave out those you may be quoting out of context (and certainly those who, via their locked accounts, have no desire to be quoted at all.)

A big part of the guilt is that everyone knows better than you do, or at least it feels like that most days. And you can always find someone willing to tell you about your shortcomings. Trying to ignore those voices and listen to your own is the toughest, yet ultimately most rewarding, part.

I did not breastfeed my only son 9 years ago. Why? I just didn't want to. That's it. I never felt guilty about it or let other folks make me feel guilty. And I had worked in the child development field, taking care of infants and toddlers for a very long time before I gave birth, so I knew the benefits! But I just didn't want to. All the moms who choose to breastfeed? So great for you! Breastfeeding is a wonderful choice!

Can't we all just give each other a little break? Please?

Peace.

I breastfed my son. Two of my friends could not breastfeed, one for medical reasons, the other never had her milk come in, as far as she can tell. Yes, they feel guilty. They shouldn't. They've done the best they can. They are not a failure. Sometimes I've felt like a failure for nursing my son as long as I have, but this week I've had to be reminded that I am not a failure either.

I adore this post, Kristen.

At some point we get comfortable in our parenting skin. Doesn't mean their aren't shitty days or things that we feel guilty for, but in general, we feel like we are okay with our choices. The guilt doesn't help.

I have a cousin who is pregnant. 18 years old and pregnant. Made it a semester at college. Anyway. She asked me just yesterday if I were her, what would be the one thing I'd want to hear. Advice wise. I laughed. Then I told her, don't listen to a single stranger or well wisher telling you how you should do it their way. You need any help, ask for it. Any advice, anything and people will help. But in the first year, everyone and their car repair man will tell you how you should be doing it. How your way is wrong, because their way was the best way. So don't listen and don't take it personal.

Holding onto that guilt AND constantly believing others choose their words to push that guilt button makes it so hard. Great post.

Abso-friggin-loutely! I am so glad to have read this today. It's so hard to squelch that mommy guilt! Thanks for the uplift!

I meant "sometimes it's good TO REMEMBER that the media doesn't make us feel a certain way."

This is a really awesome post. I may even have to print it out and leave it next to my bed to re-read in those moments of parenting worry/envy. I really appreciate your point about many moms' (myself included) inability to believe in our own choices. Sometimes I think it's good that "the media" doesn't make us feel a certain way. If we believe in our choices, we can filter what we read/see/hear. I think it's a new parenting challenge. Believe in our own choices!

Yes, YES, a thousand times YES.

@maybaby -- I try to do the same thing myself -- praise a parent when they handle a challenging situation well.

I've often wanted to hand out evaluation forms to the people seated behind me in church (or at a restaurant) -- would they give me feedback on my kids' behavior and how I handled it? When people comment that my kids were good in church (or at a restaurant), I think -- REALLY? That's not what I saw... We are our own worst critics, and we need someone to tell us once in awhile when we're doing a good job.

Kristen: I love the "I don't think it will hurt their chances of getting into Harvard" comment. I will try to remember to use it.

Last, I will try to be less hard on myself about the decisions I've made, and I hope all the other moms do too.

It's way easier to feel guilty about what we do wrong than be proud of what we do right. My kids are great kids. I sure hope I had at least a but to do with that. I'll resume yelling at them now...

You know - even the people who published the big study about breastfeeding actually made a clear point that the research was not directed at mothers who don't breastfeed but at legislation. They hoped to be able to establish some data that would encourage changes in the workplace, hospitals, and the culture in general to support women who want to breastfeed.

Guilt sucks, but I think it's okay to feel good about something you were able to give to your children. For a mom who didn't get to breastfeed, I'm sure there are other choices she was able to make that I didn't get to make that make her feel good - maybe a natural childbirth, homemade baby food, cloth diapers, all of which I didn't provide either of my babies. But, I don't feel guilty - although I might feel a little admiration for those other ladies.

I was just discussing this with my best friend last night, the mommy guilt. We both are young single mothers (23 yrs old w/ 6 yr olds) and are always feeling we can always better ourselves and feel guilty when either of us feel like we've made a "bad" choice whether it be: a better degree in college, feeding organic food, finding a better home to rent or maybe we should have not dated that loser... but it is more of a "not good enough choice" and that guilt just follows. I am so happy to read that other mothers feel this way and can relate. Although, we also have extra pressure/mindset of "DO BETTER! OR ELSE" due to our age/"teen mommy persona" - yet we are not teens anymore!~

Reading this just helps, seeing and letting go of some ridiculous guilt we all have.
So, thank you!
So happy to catch this link on twitter!

Amen! I feel good about MOST of my parenting choices (and the sheer luck, in many cases), but there are certainly those times when guilt of defensiveness gets me square in the gut. Also? My kids are 1 and 2. I know there will be many more chances to feel guilty to come. And I am proud of breastfeeding both of my kids for over a year, with no ill will directed at those who couldn't/didn't.

I'll relate a little story. A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling particularly down because I wasn't recovering quickly from a cold and had been told it was residual effects of Katie's birth (personally wondering how long they're going to blame that fiasco for every other thing that goes wrong with me, but different discussion.)

It was the night of a breastfeeding cafe. Normally, I remember what night that is and I'm okay, but that night I wasn't. Someone made a comment about the most important thing you can do is hold your baby as much as possible the first week of his/her life.

It took my not so good frame of mind right into the toilet. And I was pissed . . . at myself.

I know for a damned fact that the person who said it didn't mean anything other than exactly what she said. She certainly wasn't attempting to hurt me or anyone else. It's just that comment at a low moment really hurt.

A couple of people suggested that I should say something about it, and I was like, why? It wasn't directed at me. It wasn't meant to hurt me. It wasn't even a gross generalization or misrepresentation or anything. Just a statement about what's ideal.

And it is ideal. Just like breastfeeding is ideal. Not everyone gets the chance to do what's ideal. I don't think the person who said it would argue with me at all for saying that I'm just so grateful that I can hold her now, that I can't let myself worry about the fact that the first week of her life I was barely able to touch her.

Someone who tells me if I really loved my baby I would have breastfed her? That person is going to get a serious kick in the ass, but the person who says, ideally we should all breastfeed, I'm good with.

I think I may have lost where I was going, but hopefully y'all get the point. In general, other people's comments aren't about you, so stop, breathe, and accept that you've got sore spots and it's not the universe's job to accommodate those sore spots.

Yea...thanks for that. Oh the mommy guilt. It really sucks. And it sucks me in far to often.

And being a perfectionist...it just about sends me to therapy. It probably should. :-)

Emma - I tweeted to you, but did want to mention your follow up tweet to Slouchy, which I thought was great. I got cross eyed searching tweet feeds this morning, but indeed, I think providing both would have been best to show the context.

Thanks for sharing - and for furthering the discussion.

i am making a mental note of the second to last paragraph - i love those responses.

I think every first time mother and a few of us who have been around the block need to read this, REPEATEDLY.
I think I'll send it to my mom!

I don't know which is worse...the fact that slouchy's tweet could actually make people feel bad or the fact that people were bitching about her supposed insensitivity.

I mean really?? Seriously. Are people THAT insecure that someone's comment..somebody they probably don't even know..makes them all hurt and self righteous? ON FREAKIN' TWITTER, for God's sake.

The solution is simple:

If you feel like you made mistakes or should have/wanted to do things differently do the following:

Quit your bitchin'
Get over yourself
resolve to do things better
Move the FREAK on.

Wait...oh dear, was I being insensitive??

Surprised to find myself quoted here. It's true, I do feel small when I see my choices questioned. It happens everyday. There's a criticism for every parenting (and other) choice out there, and I don't know how to turn off the guilts. That's about me, though. I've got a lot of work to do. Lucky I have a blog to process a lot of it :).

And as I then explained to Slouchy, that totally wasn't directed at her, it was in empathy with someone else who spoke out about her own feelings. I don't normally call people out on making me feel guilty (or WOW I'd be busy!!) but I didn't intend to do that with Slouchy at all. Hope it doesn't read like that.

AMEN. and thank you. :)

Nice post. Just reading it kicked my own lingering guilt squarely in its too-wide ass. Thanks.

When I hold parent teacher conferences, I make a point to tell parents "hey, I think you're doing a terrific job. This parenting stuff is so hard, and no one tells you when you do it right, people just make us feel bad and guilty when we do it 'wrong'." Then I hand over a box of tissues because the poor parent is an instant sobbing mess.

The fact is, most of us ARE doing it right. If the kids are thriving and growing, who gives a damn about how many veggies are on the plate, whether the food is organic or how much tv the kids are watching?

I've stopped moms and dads in stores when they've negotiated a particularly trying moment with a kid and said "You did that really well."

Sometimes I feel like a one woman movement, but it's worth it to see a parent's battered confidence heal a little bit. I'm on a mission.

My other mission is to get women to stop apologizing for the perceived state of their houses...but that's another issue...

Amen and pass the offering plate. Love this, Kristen.

Steph

Thanks for that - after the 'be nice to yourself' debate yesterday, now it's 'be nice to someone else'! Although it may not be as effective in the long run towards letting go of guilt, being told by someone else that you did ok feels a hell of a lot nicer than just forgiving yourself.

I have a friend who went to Harvard for undergrad and grad school. He's out of work and can barely pay rent.

And, just in case you do decide you need to find sewing classes to make that dress, you know where to go, right?

That is so true. Mothers are made to feel that everything we do is never enough. If we held them for one more minute, if we breastfed one more day, if we grew our own food and blended it in blenders made with BPA-free plastics powered by solar panels on the roof...everything would be that much more better. We almost all do the best with what we're given and we need to start recognizing that and saying thanks for simply trying to the best parents that we know how.

Amen, sister! If I start spelling out all the reasons I agree with you, it would be enough to fill my own blog post, but since I don't have a blog, that would be weird ;-)

Thanks for putting this out there.

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