Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perils of mommy blogging: Mean moms!

I was at my friend Jennie's house last week and we (Vince, Jen and her hubby Jeff) got to talking about how parenting just opens you up to judgment and criticism. You see, Vince was telling them how happy we were with the Babywise book Jen gave us for Christmas, and that we totally agree with that style of parenting. Jeff then mentioned that when they bring up that this is the parenting style they follow, they get venomous comments from other parents, usually those who follow the attachment parenting style, where the child is made the star of the family. And, based on my few months of being a mom-to-be, I admit that I'm already being attacked for being a bad parent to a child who isn't even here yet!

I'm not going to lie here--when I see a screaming, misbehaving child in a mall, a restaurant, in an elevator, in a movie theater, you can bet I have murderous thoughts--usually targeted towards the hapless parents--going through my head. The good thing about me is I keep my mouth shut. Having taken care of children myself (my sister, my niece and preschoolers), I do understand--yes, despite the murderous thoughts!--that caring for kids is a monumental task, and sometimes kids will really act out, no matter what you do.

So I must have been slightly insane when I decided to start this mommy blog!


Talking honestly about my fears and worries and concerns about pregnancy and impending motherhood is, in hindsight, not a very good idea especially when it's strangers reading your blog. Or relatives who don't really know you. Anything and everything you say gets attacked.

Example 1: When I posted a photo of my pregnant self wearing heels, I got criticized. What people don't know is I have very high foot arches so wearing flats is actually more painful for me and that heels are recommended. People also don't know I've been wearing high heels since I was 13 so I can practically run in them. Nevertheless, I don't wear heels anymore because I just don't want to get dagger looks anymore.

Example 2: When I gave tips on how to stay fashionable while pregnant, I got mocked for being vain. What people don't know is I only make the effort when I have an event or a meeting that day. Most of the time--and my workmates and husband can attest to this--I'm barefaced with my hair in a ponytail. Besides, do you really need to see photos of me when I look bad? I didn't think so. That's why I don't post photos every day, only on days when I'm looking pretty, and if you go through this blog, that's not very often. But really, it's not that difficult to take a shower, brush your hair, pat on some face powder and put on a nice dress!

Example 3: When I talked about being concerned about the environment while having a baby and all, I got reprimanded for caring more about the planet than for my child. My goodness, that's just idiotic. It's precisely because of my child that I want to save the planet! I mean, if I'm going to die in 30 years, why would I care about saving electricity and gas, bother with recycling? But then the baby came along and now I feel responsible for his future--and that future includes living in a safe and clean environment!  

I don't know why other moms can be so mean. Look, we are all different--in our values, our upbringing, our faith, how we view money... You can't really judge people because you don't know who they are and what motivates them to do what they do. Sometimes, we instantly know when something is just wrong and we must really step in and stop the wrong behavior. I stopped a man on the street when I saw him beating up his 2-year-old kid. This is not the first time I've done this, even though people tell me to stop doing that because I might get hurt. I don't care. There is no good reason for physical abuse ever!

But most of the time, we should just listen and observe and maybe understand that someone's way may be different but that it isn't necessarily wrong. Especially if you're a parent. After all, shouldn't you be someone who knows most about love, patience, understanding, tolerance and generosity?

14 comments:

  1. We can never please everyone. People are entitled to their own personal opinions. Go wear your heels again, dress glamourously, and save the planet. One of the things you will soon realise is how much your son (and future kids) can love you as unconditionally as you would love him. When I ask Jacob, "Why are you happy?" He answers, "Because I love you!" Then nothing -- and no one (outside family) -- else will matter. :)

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  2. You write so eloquently. :)) We all agree to disagree. Different strokes for different folks. Parenting really depends on what you and your spouse agree upon. Some styles don't necessarily work for some children as we are all born different (even siblings!). Don't stress on the haters. Wala lang yan mga magawa. I wish you well. :))

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  3. I just wish some people would respect how we want to live our life and how we want to raise our children. An advice, of course, is welcome every now and then (don't we all need help sometimes) but i silently hate it when some impose their ways on me. We all have been raised differently and that's what makes us unique.

    This is a very good post, Frances :)

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  4. There is one fave quote I remember while reading this entry of yours, as said by a political personality:" I am not on the wrong side. I'm just not on your side."

    I think there is this need for some people to really impose their beliefs and practices on others, pregnant or not. I wonder why! :)

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  5. first it was the beauty bloggers, now it's the moms who are being bullied. hay naku, follow what you think is right, it's your baby!

    although i know that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, sometimes we just have to understand that there is no single formula in parenting. there are a gazillion ways of doing it and we should respect these ways, the same way we respect each others political views or religion.

    that's my two cents. :-)

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  6. I agree with you 100% Frances. I don't have a kid yet, but it makes absolute sense to sacrifice a little for their sake. I also can't understand why people would damn the planet to hell, continue their excessive and non-committal lifestyle and still claim to want the best for their kids. It's these youngsters who will have to live with the damage we've done. Our parents are always telling stories of how the air and rivers were cleaner in their time, etc. but in one single generation, we've now reached the tipping point! What more will our kids experience in the future? That is logic simple enough for anyone to understand. Maybe it's denial, or pure self-indulgence talaga, I dunno.

    Keep it up, and kudos for being such a responsible parent-to-be. :-)

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  7. you said it. it gets worse when you decide on whether to vaccinate or not follow the schedule plus a host of other decisions.

    seriously we all want what's best for our kids. moms should band together and help each other out!

    this interview on 2 mommy bloggers on nbc might be of interest: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/36312880#36312880

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  8. Hi Frances!

    I've been reading your three blogs for a while now, and I've noticed that you have been quite sensitive lately. I have no doubt it's hormonal. :) I mean, you've said before that you don't mind being told off, bluntly set straight, etc., so I think it's just your being pregnant that's causing all this undue untoward reaction to these "mean mommies" (OMG sana hindi ako kasama dito).

    Frances, I sincerely believe they are just concerned for you and your baby and that's what drives them to "lecture" you sometimes.:) OK lang yan! Just filter, filter filter!

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  9. I mostly follow attachment parenting principles, but I'm not about to criticize other parenting approaches. I also get judged and questioned for many of the parenting choices I've made (understandably since they're quite alternative) and it's really annoying. We are all just after what we think is best for our children. Some people just need to learn to mind their own beeswax.:)
    Btw, pregnancy definitely becomes you. :)

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  10. Great post - I know - there can be a lot of judgment around parenting styles! Like ADiego says, there is no single formula - we all need to do what is best for our kids and our family - and remember everyone else is doing the same!

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  11. i respect how parenting can be different for every individual and that's perfectly fine. what works for us may not work for others, so it's really inappropriate to judge anyone based on the "plans" a mommy has in raising her child/ren. ur babies' not even here yet for pete's sakes. at the end of the day, we'll know we did a good job once they grow up to be ok, so unless these other mommies can wait for that day, they can keep their thoughts to themselves... :D

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  12. Wait till you start to write about nannies, heehee! :-)

    I write a column for an e-magazine and years ago, when I wrote about my son's nanny, I got e-mail berating me about "being part of the bourgeoisie and its fleet of serfs." Not exactly the kind of e-mail that warms the heart, eh?

    I've learned that you can't please everybody and no matter what you say or do -go green or not, wear heels or flats, look frumpy or cool, get a nanny or not- there'll always be someone who thinks he/she has got it right. So, enjoy the ride and listen with respect to differing counsel, but ignore the (negative) naysayers. Life is too short to waste it on them.

    Have a great week, Frances!

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  13. kudos to you for always making right by you and your child. it is hard to not care about what other people think sometimes. i was a young mom and got all kinds of advice (even maybe being too young to have a child at 24 from my very unhappy coworker). it's brought me down a lot of times but never knocked me out. because ultimately, the only person i have to answer for and to is my own child. i learned to stand behind my convictions and wallow in the consequences.
    although, in all honesty, i've become a little bit more judgemental as a mother as well. but because i know what it feels like, i just always keep the trap shut and revel in the fact that my children are happy and healthy.
    and so will yours be.

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!