Her Bad Mother

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Like To Get To Know You Well

A couple of months ago, I made the following confession:

Her Bad Mother is not me. That is, she is not entirely me. She's a voice inside my head; she's one of the many reflections that I see when I look in the mirror. She's the me who worries about being a bad mother (the kind of mother who lets her toddler fall out of shopping cart), and the me who takes pleasure in thinking of herself as a bad mother (the kind of mother who lets her toddler use a shopping cart as gymnastics equipment. Montessori bad.) She is anxious me - the me that my own mother refers to as a worrier - and she is self-deprecating me.

But she is not the Whole Me. She is not even the Whole Maternal Me. She's just one part of that whole. She's the part that I write about. She's my blog muse. She's a character. A true character, but still: a character, of a sort.

The real, whole me? You don't know her. Not really, not fully. You know some very, very important parts of her - parts that had probably never really been fully exposed before she began exposing herself on this blog. You would recognize her if you ever met her in real life. You would recognize the self-deprecating humour, the over-functioning vocabulary, the hand-wringing, the bob. You would see Her Bad Mother in the whole me. But you would see so much more than Her Bad Mother.

I've been asked, by a couple of people, to spell out what it is exactly that you would see. You know, so that nobody gets a nasty shock at the BlogHer conference. The problem is, I don't quite know how to put into words who the quote-unquote real me is. As I said in the confessional post that I cited above, the real me is a kind of shadow to the Her Bad Mother me who appears on this blog (and, the Her Bad Mother me a kind of shadow to the me that I am in real life) - we're true but imperfect representations of each other. And the whole thing about these words on this screen that you're looking at right now? They can only capture the shadow. It's a deep shadow, with crisp outlines, but it's nonetheless a shadow. (Am resisting, with difficulty, an urge to launch into a lecture on Plato's Allegory of the Cave, one that would draw parallels between his cave-city and the blogosphere blah blah blah. Am. Resisting.)

So I could tell you more about how I love martinis and chocolate and about that time I was held against my will on a Greek Island and about how people used to tell me that I looked like Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes but also Molly Ringwald and how I much preferred the comparison to Molly Ringwald, especially after Kimberly became a drug -addicted felon. But that would still only serve to round out the corners of the shadow, sharpen the edges further. It would tell you more about Her Bad Mother the writer (what am I choosing to reveal? How am I framing my anecdotes? How am I characterizing myself?) but not necessarily a whole lot more about the woman behind Her Bad Mother.

If you want my stories, you can tour my archives, or the 'Best Of' list on the sidebar at your right. If you want my formal bio, you can check out BlogHer's speakers page and scroll down to the C's. If you want to see and hear the real me, mediated only incidentally through the character that is Her Bad Mother, you could check out my AlphaMom interview, which is being debuted today on the AlphaMom site. It's about as real as it gets on the screen - witness LeahPeah's sweet genius at drawing out an interviewee's thoughts and feelings - without the benefit of alcohol (for me, not you. I'll only become fuzzier if you've been drinking.) It was filmed during last year's BlogHer conference, when I was still so new at being a mom, and a blogger, and before I'd figured out that I should sometimes censor myself. You'll even hear WonderBaby's real name.

(For the record, I am no longer engorged. Disregard that portion of the interview. Thank you.)

That's the best that I can do. I hope that if you are coming to BlogHer, and if you do meet me, I don't disappoint. The rest of you, I hope that you get a sense of the real me through the bits of shadow flickering upon this screen. You'd like me, I think. I hope.

The fantabulous MochaMomma is once again urging BlogHers to introduce themselves, share a little more than they ordinarily, in advance of the big meet-up next week. I'd like to second them on this, but I'd also like to do something further - I'd really like to hear from those of you who aren't attending. I'll get a chance to get to know the attendees better, many of them, but I'm feeling keenly, already, the missed opportunity with so many of you others.

So, please, even if you are not attending BlogHer - especially if you are not attending -do participate in BlogMe. Write a post telling us little bit more about yourselves. Because we want to know. Because we will be talking about you, missing you, next week. Sharpen up the corners of your shadows for us, the better for us to imagine you there. Link back here and/or leave a comment so that I can find you, and I'll do up a Wish You Were Here list next week, before we leave.


Blogger Mimi said...

Oh Jeeezus. I'm even more afraid to meet you konw because we have essentially the same bike (in addition to the same couch ...). I told the bike saledude that I needed a bike I could ride in a skirt and a blouse without flashing anyone. Um, I didn't factor in the toddler seat ... will BlogMe later ...

12:49 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

konw? WTF?



12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE the picture!!!

BlogMe eh? Interesting. I may have to do this since I won't be there to meet all you fabulous bloggers. *sniff, sniff*

12:57 PM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

Hmmm, I'm not coming, so I'll think about it.

Love the picture....wouldn't have seen said underpants if not pointed out. ;)

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are definatly someone I respect...I am hoping to pick your brain....I have not had much alone time with my hubby since Maggie was born. I am thinking of sending the kids to friends for the night and have some fun of my our own for once. I want something sexy. My friend told me to check out Pampered Passions. Maybe that’s too sexy? But they do have a contest for a free trip to the Bahamas. That would be nice.
what do you think?

by the way...picture is so adorable! Love it =)

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the first time I'd seen the interview. What a lovely contralto voice you have.

1:12 PM  
Blogger ChicMama! said...

Long time reader, occasional commenter - very nice interview, HBM. So much of my postpartum was helped by locating your blog and discovering the world of blogging.

P.S. The name is beautiful and couldn't be more perfect for her, as you've described her.

1:26 PM  
Blogger S said...


I once wrote a paper on Plato's cave allegory.

I might just go over and introduce myself as a won't-be-attending-BlogHer-loser.

I think I'd like you. IRL. And my intuition does not usually fail me.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Why resist the cave? So...in short, celebrity comparisons are okay so long as they don't involve druggies (what a relief, it'd be tough to find a way to parallel you and Paris), crusty old Greeks are cool so long they aren't holding you against your will on an island, and if we googled your name, we'd find you in a lot of places doing many things.

Sounds good to me!

I'm just sorry one I won't be doing with you is BlogHer.

2:03 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

the pieces or parts all sound pretty fabulous

2:38 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Love the picture, lady. I'll keep the "I see London, I see France" chant to myself. ;)

2:42 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

Have fun at BlogHer. I'll only be attending in spirit.
And the whole visible underpants problem is why I always wear bloomers while I'm riding MY bike. So very practical!

2:48 PM  
Blogger Blog Owner said...

Since I was only recently introduced to the wide world of blogging I won't be attending next week (but am already counting down till next year).

I loved this post because I learned, and related, so much to you. The self-depricating side of me gets me through many an awkward moment at playgroups.

So glad I found you out here in the blogosphere!

2:57 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Geeze, I can't wait for next year. I will be there with bells on! You all sound so amazing!

3:15 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

I wish I was going...due date's less than three weeks away, though, and traveling hundreds of miles is ill advised. My sister-in-law was actually born in your fair city because her mother didn't heed her doctor's warning against travel in the end stages of pregnancy. Next year...*wistful sigh*

Oh, and I've been all about disclosure this week over at the Cheese Party. Check it.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

All the interviews I watched so far include at least ONE mention of alcohol on the list of three parental necessities. And it makes me sit back and think, "Yes, I've found my tribe." Hahaha!

Can't wait to meet you!

3:44 PM  
Blogger Redsy said...

Hey -- thanks for sharing and thanks for telling us about this over at Mocha Momma.

And you know? I used to be told I looked like Molly Ringwald too.


4:18 PM  
Blogger Jezer said...

I loved watching that interview. And now that a whole year has passed, don't you almost feel like a different person, only the same?

Beautiful photo as well. I still can't see the undies, but then again, I need a bigger monitor.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Redsy - I'm guessing that your red hair wasn't fake, though.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A picture is great shorthand - thousand words and all that.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mcewen - ten words, actually.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Lena said...

As long as wear your pasties. Please. That was priceless.

BTW, I'm not engorged either. *cries*

5:37 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

In science fiction, one theory is that cloning would 'blur' our genetic edge. Much like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, and so on and so forth.

so it may be with our blog personalities.


I know how bad you are because I do not see a helmet on your head in that photo.


do I always have to be the voice of reason around these parts?

5:55 PM  
Blogger Mom2Amara said...

After watching your iview, now I really hope you'll be my BlogHer friend :) Hope our paths cross next week! And I'll BlogMe in a bit!

6:09 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Can anyone really fully reveal who they are in a blog? I think that we all edit, to some degree. A blog provides readers with a glimpse into a facet, or facets, of someone's personality. If they like what they see, they'll likely return for more.

In the end, even a shadowy glimpse of someone whose writing and views you find enjoyable is better than the complete darkness of never finding them at all.

6:15 PM  
Blogger painted maypole said...

Wish I could really meet you in Chicago, but I will be in London, England, instead. So I won't be missing ya'll too, too much. ;)

6:15 PM  
Blogger Karianna said...

Can't wait to see you again - in your many forms.

7:50 PM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

I like you!

9:08 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

damn, i think i am the only person in the world not going to bloher.

10:18 PM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

Sigh... Now I am so much more bummed that I am not going to it. I actually live just outside of Chicago, for cryin out loud. Think I can still get a ticket to just one night? But hubby's out of town, and I've been using my babysitters extensively lately...

You totally seem like somebody I'd love to chat with over a coffee. Damn the internet and it's teasing of friends that live too far away.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Mocha said...

Let's commiserate for a sec and also let's recall that your underpants are showing but that I don't feel too bad for you because hello? You got an interview with Leah.

I always got the comparison to Vanessa Williams. That was great! I mean...Miss America, you know? That is awesome. Wow.





You know that I love you so very much and that we need about 18 hours in a cafe somewhere to fully express the love. I'll take what I can get because your writing is so amazing and you say the things. All the things. The great things. They make me think and want to write.

18 hours. Find the time, eh?

10:35 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Well, I feel a little better that I'm not the ONLY person not going to BlogHer. I still feel like a loser, though. Sigh.

Out of sight, out of mind? I hope not.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

Next year for sure...trying not to pout. ;(

10:46 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

Back to say the interview was great...trying HARDER not to pout.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

I love Her Bad Mother, and the real you too. Can't wait to see you, my friend.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

That interview was great and your daughter's name is lovely. It was on my short list for The Bug.

Liquor - The cause of and solution to all of life's problems. - Homer (Simpson)

I can't afford to go to BlogHer this year and I'm green reading all these posts about it.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

The link to MochaMomma's page seems to be dead. Or overloaded. Whatever. It's not working at the moment.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you are anything...you are wonderful! Your writing, your thoughts...if this is just a fraction of who you are in real form....I am so sad I won't be meeting this person at BlogHer!!!!!

Have fun. And be yourself. You'll never be wrong.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Major Bedhead - it's slow to load, is all.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

this is a terrific idea, and how fantastic to meet more of you.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

Not that I'm going to BlogHer or anything, but I would say when I (briefly) met you in person you were very much like who I thought you would be except ... I'll admit that when I read you, I have to click on all your educational links (like today's on Plato and his Allegory of the Cave??) more than I would care to admit, and so I would have maybe anticipated you to speak like some of my professors. And you were more at my level.
(that's a compliment, by the way)

11:19 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

I'm almost de-lurking here to say that I have done the BlogMe2007 thing though I'm not going to BlogHer. It can be found here.

And I'm sure you're just as witty, charming, caring and nice in person as your blog persona. I hope you'll be having a good time.

10:18 AM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

Can't wait to meet you. And don't worry about that underpants thing!

5:30 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

Great picture!

I bet you'll have a fabulous time at Blogher - I'm really bummed I'm not going to get to meet all those great blogghers I so enjoy reading. Maybe next year. And I'll try to do a 'getting to know me' post this week instead.

11:39 AM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

I so want to blog about this. But I don't get much further than.. HBM is slightly taller than she seems in her blog.

2:47 AM  

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