Monday, January 30, 2012

Judgement with a Side of Malice

Let me start by saying, I am not typically a judgy person.  In fact, The Firefighter has often complained about how long it takes me to form an opinion even on something as innocuous as a vacation locale.  I tend not to form opinions until I feel well informed and have considered the topic from every conceivable angle.  Even after all that consideration, I will not typically judge another person for coming to a different conclusion.  

I am also not quick to anger.  I have a really, really long fuse.  However, that doesn't mean I don't get mad.  I got absolutely incensed last night after reading a very nasty email I received from a person who didn't have the balls to leave their name - only "a better mom than you".

But, if I'm honest, I'm writing now in a dreadful bitterness of spirit.  Perhaps, I should have expected this censure, since I blog as openly and honestly as I do, but when I began this writing journey, I couldn't imagine that anyone beyond my own small circle of family and friends, would be even the remotest bit interested in the daily highs and lows of my life.  But never fear, my loyal readers,  I have no intention of changing my ways.

However, I do feel the need to defend myself against this spineless and mean spirited attack.  Perhaps, I am judging you too harshly, "a better mom than you,".  Maybe you genuinely wanted to offer help, but I do take offense at your way of stating it.  

For starters, this blog is merely a small snapshot of our lives.  I can see how you came to your conclusions, but it does not encompass the whole of who we are or what we represent.  

I am NOT a bad mother.   I am not lazy and I don't parent haphazardly.   Quite the opposite, actually.  I parent very deliberately.  I have strong convictions when it comes to parenting, however, unlike my anonymous emailer, I don't judge others for choosing a different way.  All anyone can do is what we feel is in our families best interest.  

Yes, I chose gentle parenting because it feels right to me.  I feel it is right for my children.  I don't believe in spanking.  Though, I accept that you may feel it's the best method.  I understand that it may be more efficient and effective for curbing undesirable behavior than talking a child through her emotions and impulses, but really why?  Is it more effective because the child has suddenly become self aware or suddenly developed self control?  No.  It's more effective because they now fear being hit.   I don't want my children to fear me.   I have no desire to break her spirit or bend her will to my own. 

I believe spanking sends a conflicting message to the child.  It says hitting is an acceptable means of expressing your anger, rather than as a last resort of self defense.  This is completely counter productive to what I'm trying to accomplish with my child.  Spanking may be quick, but, in my opinion, it is lazy parenting.  Gentle parenting takes tons of patience, effort and time.  If you try it, you'll find that out.

And, no, I will not keep my child in my house until she can "behave".  Sorry, I don't care if I "inconvenienced" a stranger because they had to listen to my kid scream for the whole 3 minutes it took me to get out of the store.  When did we start to allow children to be less than human?  Children are not born mini adults complete with an adult's knowledge.  Self control must be taught.   Recognition of emotions and the reasons we feel them must be taught.  Acceptable behavior must be taught.  I must give my child ample opportunity to practice these skills, otherwise how else will she learn?   Admittedly, some times are more successful than others, but it's our mistakes that teach us.  

Miss Chatterbox is NOT a brat.  She must assuredly will not become a juvenile delinquent.  How dare you say such a thing.  Trust me, Anonymous, I understand my child better than you ever could.  I understand that she is high spirited, spunky, and feels everything so much more intensely than your average child.  You know why I understand her, Anonymous?  Because I used to be just like her.   I remember trying to explain it to my mom once.  I told her it felt like I would just burst at the seams if I didn't run around and get it all out.   Miss Chatterbox is only three.  She doesn't yet recognize or is able to verbalize when she needs time to get all the wiggles out.  At this point, it is up to me to give her enough outlets for her energy.  I admit, I got it wrong this time.  I make lots of mistakes, as a parent, wife, and human.  I am not perfect, nor have ever made any claims to be.  But I don't give up, I keep trying. 

I do not ignore my other child, as you imply, Anonymous.   I simply don't write as much about The Bun, yet, because she is only 5 months old.  At this point, her life consists of being adorable, eating, pooping, cooing, rolling over,  learning to sit up, and sleeping.  While precious, it's not nearly as interesting to write about.  But contrary to your insinuations, Anonymous, I spend ample time with The Bun, encouraging siting, crawling, cooing, grabbing, and promoting sisterly affection.  I spend a considerable amount of time encouraging Miss Chatterbox to interact with her sister, be empathetic to her sister, and to understand that her sister is littler than her.  The result?  Miss Chatterbox rarely has jealous moments now because we've made an effort to give her Mommy or Daddu's undivided attention whenever she's exhibited that emotion, so that she never felt like she had to fight for it.  Now, she loves to make her sissy smile.   She tells me all the time how much she loves her sissy and loves to help mommy with sissy.  In return, The Bun's eyes follow Miss Chatterbox everywhere she goes.  She even fusses when Miss Chatterbox leaves the room.  So, I believe the foundation for a good relationship between the two has been laid.  
Contrary to the light hearted tone I take on my blog, I take my parenting very seriously.  You're right, Anonymous, motherhood is serious business.  And, no,  I don't love every moment of being a mother.  I'd be lying if I said I did.   Nor do I think it's a joke.  But I pity you, Anonymous, for not being able to find the joy and humor in it.   I want to play with my children.  I want my children to see me happy.  I want them to see the mutual love and respect between their daddy and me.  I want them to know the world is full of joy, love, and happiness.  I want to nurture their curiosity without squashing their spirits.  I want them to have a strong sense of self and not be easily swayed, but to have an empathetic soul.     

And, Anonymous, if you feel you have the right to blast someone you don't even know, I wonder what you teach your kids.  Do you lead by example?  What example are you setting?  Do you exhibit the behaviors you want them to?  Or the whole "do as I say, not as I do"? 

Perhaps, you should do some self reflection before you send me another nastygram.  I will not be as nice the next time.  



  1. Oh, grrrr! Why do some people find the need to be hateful?!? And then to be so cowardly as to not even leave a name? Nice, "anonymous", real nice. Grrrrr.

  2. *Gasp* OMG, I can't believe someone said all that to you! What nerve!

    What makes some people think it's their right and duty to tell other people how to live?
    Short of abusing your kids, which you clearly aren't, they are your kids to raise as you see fit.

    A lot of people would just as vehemently decry Anonymous's choice of spanking as discipline. How would she feel if someone emailed her and accused her of child abuse and being a terrible parent and told her how she was raising her kids was "wrong"?

    I don't agree with your general belief of spanking, Amber. I was "raised by the rod", not beaten, but swacked when I needed it and I learned pretty quick what to do, or not do, and I didn't feel abused or threatened or unloved. I also spanked my kids.

    That said, now that I have 20+ years child rearing experience (which Anonymous obviously does not) one thing I learned is that one discipline does not fit all.

    Spanking didn't work with my oldest son. He acted on emotions, rather than thought. By the time he thought, "Oh dang, I'm gonna get a whippin' for that", it was too late, it was done.
    Of course I was a young, inexperienced Mom without a clue and didn't understand his issues at the time. I spanked him, I drugged him (Ritalin), I did everything that everyone told me was the "right" thing to do.

    And it wasn't. They didn't know my kid. What worked for their kid didn't work for my kid and only caused him and me a lot of suffering.

    And by the by, I see a lot of people now, who judged me as a bad parent back then...their "little angels" have grown up to be run-aways, using/selling drugs, getting pregnant/making babies.

    Like my Grannie used to tell my sister, "You better sugarcoat them words, honey, so they'll taste better when you have to eat 'em."

    Having 20+ years experience raising MY kids in no way makes me an expert on anyone else's kids.
    Even if I did think I was an expert, and knew all about how to raise your kid better than you, and felt like it was my place to tell you how to raise your kid, I would do it a more helpful, encouraging manner.

    Anonymous strikes me as being one of those young, know-it-all, smart-ass people. She knows everything, you know nothing, and if you don't agree with her then you're a bad person.

    Fuck. Her.

    I give her email with her worthless, idiotic opinions two middle fingers up.

  3. :) Thanks for the support, Ladies!! Y'all are the bomb dignity!!