Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Sometimes when I've written openly and honestly in my book and on this blog about the "downs" of stay-at-home motherhood--the stress and the money worries, the sleep deprivation and tantrums, the difficult labors and colicky postpartum periods--I get mean feedback from anonymous people out there on the Internet accusing me of being too negative or a complainer or mentally ill (yes, I've gotten that) or ungrateful or just a plain old bad mom. When I write a chapter in my book about healthy eating or mention a running injury or a winter cold on my blog, or even just complain casually about the typical extra pounds so many of us middle-aged moms battle while child-rearing, I get accused by anonymous commenters of having an eating disorder or running an excessive amount (hilarious), or, once, of being too fat and eating too much chocolate and not exercising ENOUGH. (Can't win.)
And sometimes even the hardiest and healthiest of us cave to those comments occasionally and wonder, Am I a bad mom? Am I too cranky/a nag/too fat/too thin/not fun/ungrateful/pessimistic/neurotic/making my daughters grow up with negative memories of me rather than the loving, happy memories I want them to have of me as a stay-at-home mom?
I guess that's what mean people on the Internet want you to think, when they make comments like that. It's a shame, honestly. I don't know why people feel the need to knock someone down like that. What's the point, really?
But I'll tell you something. Yesterday after school, seven-year-old Genevieve came in from playing outside and began writing a book. She showed me the first chapter later on. It's called "Mom." It reads:
"My mom is very nice. She takes care of the house and the family, and cooks me DELICIOUS meals. My mom is an author. She also HELPS others. My mom is always joyful and full of laughter. My mom packs me special treats in my lunch. My mom is a runner. She stays FIT and healthy. On rainy days, my mom does her workout DVD or the elliptical inside. My mom will always be my mom. I know that. I always will. I love you, Mom!"
Around the words are little cartoon drawings of me giving flowers to our elderly next-door neighbor ("Here are some flowers for you, Mary." "Oh, thank you!"), comforting a child ("What happened? Are you okay?"), packing school lunches ("Oooh, yummy!"), and lifting weights in front of a TV screen showing a workout instructor.
And I'm reminded that I'm doing something right. A lot of things, really. I bet you are, too.
Have a wonderful day, fellow mamas in wonderland.