Many of the blogs I read are written by female parents of younger children. And often these parents will write about their children. Some of them focus most of their blog posts on their children. I’m going to be careful not to call these bloggers, “mommy bloggers” because that seems to have become a derogatory term. I don’t know why.
Anyway, I believe that each of these bloggers has at some point written the “I’m a horrible parent” post. It starts out by telling us about their particularly unpleasant day. For instance:
- The husband told her over breakfast that he was leaving her for a younger woman.
- The triplets are all teething at once.
- The washing machine burst into flames.
- The nanny called at lunch to say she was quitting effectively immediately.
- The best friend won a lottery and is leaving the country with the husband.
- There’s no more vodka in the house.
- And then the nine-year-old takes a dump in the cat litter box.
It’s at this point that this heretofore widely acknowledged paragon of parenthood, loses some modicum of control and RAISES HER VOICE TO HER CHILD.
“Dakota!” she says in a voice louder than her normal speaking voice,” Mommy would like you to please not make number two in the kitty’s special box – use the big boy potty, for Gosh’s Sake!”
Of course, she immediately realizes what she’s done and she and Dakota burst into tears, holding each other while mommy whispers words of consolation and begs forgiveness of this now-damaged child.
Then she blogs about this horrific episode at great length and with a great many self-immolatory recriminations. Then commenters respond with words of comfort and examples from their own life when they’ve almost come close to raising their voices to their own children.
So, my question is: “What the fruck?”
Seriously? Because I reckon in that case, XUP Jr. is headed for decades of therapy.
Not that I advocate yelling at your kids. And there are families like my brother’s where indoor voices became totally obsolete as soon as the second child hit the runway, but I don’t know how any parent could get through 18+ years without ever yelling at their child.
I’m sure we all want to disassociate ourselves as much as possible from the Wal-Mart parents – the ones who scream and swear at their kids from three aisles over about every last thing.
Brittney, goddammit! Where the goddamned hell are you now? Git yer ass over here right now. I ain’t never takin’ you nowhere with me again. Yer nuthin’ but a stupid pain in the goddamned effin’ ass, goddammit. I’m counting to 3 and you better be here by the time I’m done or yer dead meat.
Ya, I can say with confidence that I’ve never done anything like that. However, there have been many times over the years when I’ve raised my voice to my child. Not on a daily basis or even on a weekly basis and maybe not even on a monthly basis. But then she has always been a very good child and she’s an only child. And yet there were still times when I was exasperated with her and yelled a little.
Maybe when I had to tell her for the fifth time to clean up her toys and wash her hands for supper. Or maybe when I told her no, she couldn’t have another cookie and she tried to snitch one while I wasn’t looking. Or maybe when she went down the block to play with a friend without telling me. Or maybe I’ve just spent several hours cleaning the house and she goes into the kitchen to get a snack and instantly the entire kitchen and paths leading to and from the kitchen look like something from a CSI Miami crime scene.
I’m not saying that yelling is a good parental tool. And I don’t feel particularly good about myself after doing it. I’m just saying that it seems like a normal thing to occasionally lose your cool with your kids. Isn’t it? Isn’t that just a human thing? And is it so awful for your kids to realize that you’re human and not a textbook parenting model?
Am I the only on who’s ever yelled at her kid(s) and not had a mental breakdown over it?
Note: While this post sort of pokes fun at bloggers formerly known as mommy bloggers and while I and other people with grown kids or no kids aren’t all that interested in reading blogs by bloggers formerly known as mommy bloggers and sometime mock them, none of this is intended to be disrespectful. I think the whole mommy blogging community is an impressive and valuable resource and network for young mothers. You have no idea how I wish mommy blogging or any blogging or even the internet had been around when XUP Jr. was young. It would have made such a positive difference. So, I’m just saying if you’re a mother who blogs mainly about her family, you should be proud to call yourself a mommy blogger.
ANOTHER NOTE: We’re gathering this Saturday morning for our bi-monthly Ottawa Bloggers Breakfast. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to be; or think you are on the mailing list, but have not received the notice about this week’s breakfast; or have received all our emails and ignored them in hopes that we’ll go away, but it hasn’t worked so you’d like to be removed from the mailing list, please send an email with your blog link to: firstname.lastname@example.org