There has to be something poetic if not ironic about receiving a very negative comment on the same day your blog is having it's fourth anniversary. I mean four years ago, any comment would have made me swoon. But last Wednesday? Not so much. Negative comments can sting, they can piss you off, but more than that, they can really make you think.
I've never claimed to be an expert on anything, well, maybe Grey's Anatomy. But I sure as heck have never considered myself an expert on motherhood, stay at home or otherwise. Still, I can understand that sometimes I can come across as a know it all. This is also a problem in real life too, so when I wrote my Working Mom post last week, I was kind of nervous at how working moms would receive it. It wasn't that I was pitting one group of mothers against the other, I was just saying, Hey you warrior mamas, I get it now. I get that I was once a whiny cry baby about things that were kind of stupid, and it took becoming a working mom myself to realize how hard motherhood in general is, no matter what side of the grass you stand on...
But not everyone read it that way.
Here is the thing about last week's negative comment. It had an air of truth. I am a constant complainer. The Hubbs would tell you that I am constantly and consistently a "half empty" person. I fall into shame spirals daily. I am hard on myself. I constantly want to be perfect, even though I will preach day in and day out on this blog that perfection is stupid. Perfection is stupid, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't bug me and jeer me from the sideline. And so I complain when things are less than perfect.
I'm also lazy. I'll admit that too. And spoiled. I am an only child, so for the better half of my life the world really did revolve around me. If you knew my parents in real life you would totally understand. I don't put my dishes in the sink. I never make my bed. I will procrastinate and check Instagram one million and three times before changing the laundry, doing the dishes, or starting dinner. And if one of my favorite shows is on, forget it. You will find me binge watching whatever marathon is on. That is just who I am.
So when I read some negativity last week about me as a person, I took pause. Then I got pissed, because there was some truth to it, but then I got really mad because I couldn't respond to the commenter. There was no way to start a conversation...
She's a no reply commenter.
And no, I don't want to reply just to rip her to shreds. I want to reply so that we can share more of our stories. She says that I should grow up, like her and her ten hour a day job, with two toddlers, that she made a conscious decision to have. That I should stop being a constant complainer, which is a major reason she quit reading my blog. And it's great that she has her own opinion of me, but what about my opinion of her? Can I really form one? Maybe that ten hour a day job is one that she loves, one that she put herself through school to do. Maybe she does it well, and maybe, since she's always worked her babies no longer cry for her on a constant basis. Maybe she feels zero guilt. Maybe she is living her dream, and stupid mommy bloggers like me shit all over her ideals and goals. Maybe she is a hero for us all, with clean baseboards, homemade baby food in the fridge, and kids who sleep in their own beds and through the night. Maybe this is what makes her happy.
Because if she is happy, then that is fantastic. I'm happy for her.
My story on the other hand is very different. Even though I live my life on this blog, maybe I haven't always been honest about how I got here. For this no reply comment to imply that I'm not an adult who didn't make a conscious decision to have children really ticks me off. I'll be thirty seven this year, and while I may be a thirty seven year old complainer, I did make a very conscious decision to have children. I also made the equally conscious decision to stay home with them. That has been the plan from the very beginning. But when we could not financially support that anymore, I made the conscious decision to go back to work so we could stay in our house and keep Mackenzie in school. Me working outside the home was not my dream, not right now anyway, and I get to be devastated and sad about that. I get to be disappointed that I'm not longer the room mother. I get to be disappointed that I've missed a majority of Mackenzie's years just before she starts school full time. I get to be sad about those things. No matter what some no-reply commenter has to say about it.
I also take offense to the fact that because I complain about things on my blog it must mean that I complain about them all the time at home. Sure, I do complain at home, but this blog is my release. It's where I come for therapy. It's where I write all the ugly down, and then let it go when I hit publish. To imply that I'm setting a horrible example for my girls is just plain bullshit. I'm setting one hell of an example for my girls. My girls will always know that they have a choice and a voice. They will always know that they can express their emotions, even if they may not be favorable, let's say for example, if they are complaining. My daughters will always know that Mommy has multiple endeavors at any given time that include, motherhood, writing, working, or career. My daughters will always know that I love them and that this choice is temporary. That one day, Mommy won't be in this season. They will know that love is unconditional, and that life is hard and sometimes a little foggy.
All of that is okay. Because life is okay. And my life will always be different from yours fellow reader and/or no-reply commenter. Because we want different things, like different things, and believe different things. And all of that is just fine. In fact, my daughters will be better for it.
The most important lesson though is that my daughters will always know that they can use their voice. Just like I'm using mine, and always sign their name to it. You see, for every no-reply commenter, there is a person, behind a screen, silencing her own voice. Silencing her very own opinion. That is not the lesson I'm teaching. I'm teaching my daughters to use their voice, put their stamp on it, sign their name to it. I'm teaching them not to hide. I'm teaching them to shout from the mountain tops. Even if their opinion is unfavorable. Even if it sounds like they are complaining.
Receiving a negative comment was a bummer. In the four years I've been blogging, I can count the negative comments on my hand. That can't be a bad thing. Because for every negative comment, I receive four more. Four good, thoughtful comments, oftentimes thanking me for using my voice. For writing down the things that others are too afraid to say. Thanking me for talking about the hard stuff, even on the days it sound like complaining. Yes, that's right, sometimes I'm thanked for all the complaining that I do...
Who am I to complain about that?