Yesterday, after I posted my self-indulgent and epic-length rant about how much I despise our ex-pediatric-allergist, a grandfatherly gentleman named George who is a fan of my Facebook page (but may not be now) made a ‘critical’ comment about the post, which he called an article:
The weird thing about comments is that I might get 15 or 50 positive comments, which is fantastic, but it’s the one negative comment that stabs me in the soul, George.
The same thing goes for Likes. As of today, whopping 2,059 people actually Like my page (astounding!). You would think I spend my free time being grateful (and I do) but the other day I lost a customer. A Momalog reader left me, someone actually went to the trouble of De-Liking me, because of something I said or didn’t say. So instead of sitting here thinking about how wonderful it is that so many people stick around on my little page, George, I spend time worrying that people will abandon me and wondering why that one fan left my page.
It’s tricky, George. You see, I have low self-esteem. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it because you’re from my parents’ generation but to counter the low self esteem, I need lots of propping up. Little slights get to me. People De-Liking me get my attention. I don’t just let stuff roll off my back like my husband would (he’s a salesman, George) – I let it bother me. I think: What did I do? What didn’t I do? Was it my excitement about the Royal Baby that drove them off? Is it because I don’t post aw-shucks pics of cute puppies and babies? Did I make some kind of spelling error? Is it the gay rights thing? Am I boring? Am I too old? Is it all the Ella quotes? Is it because I don’t like Honey Boo-Boo? Is it because I breast-fed my kids too long and occasionally post news items about breastfeeding moms being shamed into covering up? Am I too yuppie? Do I talk about Alanon too much? WHAT IS IT???
Or God forbid – could I have lost that one customer because you can still see the price tag sticking to my sunglasses on my new profile photo (which I didn’t discover until after I had posted the photo because I was so busy imagining that I look like an updated Jackie O.?)?
It could be any number of things. But who knows? Thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook doesn’t even let you know who it was who De-Liked and Abandoned you so I’ll never even know who De-Liked me. I will only be able to Feel The Horrid Pin-Prick of Abandonment. I try to remind myself that each time someone De-Likes me (and there might be as many as 3 De-Likers per week! – but I prefer to call them ‘Abandoners’) it is actually a good thing, because what parent wants to be judged by people they have nothing in common with? I think to myself: Go ahead, leave my page if you don’t like me, I’m jiggy with it. (That’s an 80s saying, George.) So in truth, De-liking serves a purpose: it whittles down my fanbase to consist of just those people who are a.) too lazy to figure out how to leave the page, b.) neutral-to-meh about me, or c.) may actually like me.
I’m not sure how much you know me, George, but I have a thing for older people (not that you’re old – just grandfatherly) and I’m really happy to know that you took the time to comment on my page. I’m really sorry that I offended you with my profane vocabulary. And you’re right, I was a poor example to my children. The thing is, George – and you may not sympathize with this because you’re from a different generation than I – is that the reason I have this blog is so I can tell the truth about mothering.
My tagline, George, in case you don’t know – is: Good enough parenting, one day at a time.My parenting can be crappy, shocking, and disappointing no matter how much I would like to think otherwise and no matter how hard I try. Sometimes, despite all I’ve done to improve myself (my parents were both alcoholics, George – I don’t drink, spent over $50,000 on therapy, and sat in hundreds if not thousands of Alanon meetings, blah-blah-blah) I can actually feel myself physically handing down the baton of familial dysfunction to my progeny, oh yes I can.
So yeah, I was a cruddy example for my kids yesterday – I was immature. I gave Dr. Dung the Stink Eye and encouraged my 8-year-old to use the iPhone while he was goose stepping over me; I bad-mouthed him behind his back to my children during that awful film about dust mites until they nearly wet their pants laughing; in front of them, I raised my voice to him (of that, I’m sorry to tell you, George – I am proud). So I repeat: I am not perfect. The thing is I feel stifled by all the momperfection I see around me these days – moms who homeschool, moms who can do Algebra or fold the laundry (I can’t, George), moms who always have a blow-dry, moms who have sex with their husbands all the time, moms who eat all-organic, moms who don’t chargill everything accidentally like I do, moms who are thin, moms who have taught their kid a third language and/or Mandarin “just because”, moms who don’t just sit on the sidelines like I do, George, moms actually run marathons alongside their children.
My children are 8 and 11 and I’m still working on making them flush after they go, George. It’s a goal of mine.
I’m in the Washington D.C. metro area so you can imagine the perfection all around me, the achievement. It’s hard for a parent to keep up without losing their marbles. For example, I enrolled my kids in gymnastics so they could learn to do a cartwheel but found myself surrounded by Tiger parents of four-year-old gymnasts who are gunning for the Olympics. You can’t just be average here, George – you have to be the best. I put my kids in summer swim team but they’re surrounded by kids who are in the junior fucking Olympics, George. Sorry for my profanity, again, but you just can’t get away from the achievement culture around here. So to counter it, to slice through the artifice of perfection and achievement many parents tries so hard to project, I’ve decided to tell the truth about my own parenting.
Right here on this little blog.
For example: even though I’m a stay-at-home-mom, sometimes I’m so bone-tired and bored from just being at the mercy of my kids all day that I occasionally feed them Subway for dinner. It does nothing for them nutritionally, and I even let them have the white Italian bread. They don’t even sleep in pajamas – just t-shirts, and I’m still the one who has to clean the hamster cage which is why it stinks.
And yes, I was a crummy role model for my kids yesterday and I’m embarrassed about it. Yes, I wrote about it, but do you know why? Because all of us are crappy parents sometimes. No one’s perfect (I mean, look at where Martha Stewart’s perfection got her!). It’s only some of us who can admit that we are, at times, completely dropping the parenting ball. And when parents who are brave enough to admit their flaws tell the truth, it inspires other less-than-perfect parents to come out of hiding and tell their stories, too. We forge a little community, which is what we need more of these days George. Community like I’ll bet you had in your day.
And about my swearing: you are right, the language was terrible. I’ll try to clean it up. Mostly I do not swear in front of my kids. They think ‘darn’ is a bad word. Of course, this makes me a hypocritical parent, because I swear in front of my husband and my girlfriends but will not allow my children to swear. At least I do know it’s bad to sprinkle the f-word in my article-posts and for that, I am sorry. Because it is a very bad word. Anyway, I don’t know if you’re still even my Facebook fan or if you’re ever going to come back and read this article-post, but I did want to tell you this stuff, George, because you were right.
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