Her Bad Mother

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crazy Narcissistic Exploitative Zombie-Pimp Mom-Bloggers, Unite and Take Over

Nothing makes a mom-blogger prouder than to open the online editorial page of a major newspaper and see a picture of her daughter with a hyper-linked headline that asks "Is Blogging About Your Kid Exploitation?"

Of course it is, you say to yourself. And then you print the article and fold it neatly - you know, for the scrapbook, and also maybe for tax purposes - alongside the stacks and stacks of hundred-dollar bills you've collected from the enterprise of exploiting your daughter. The stacks that you make her wrap in wee elastic bands and load into the stroller basket to take to the bank. When she's not busy posing for the pictures that you post on your exploitative 'GET UR LIVE TODDLER SHOW RITE HEER" blog, that is. Or amusing herself in the corner with old vodka bottles while you spend the better part of each day telling the Internet stories about her. You know, for the cash.

I knew what that Globe and Mail story was about when I agreed to be interviewed for it. And I knew, too, that allowing them to photograph Wonderbaby and I would make us a focal point. I also knew that when I said, in the interview, this is going sound totally inappropriate, and probably needs a lot of explanation - it's just that I can't think of a better word - but in a way I think of her as my property, yanno? that the ambivalent preamble would be omitted when the quote was - inevitably - used. (Actual quote, minus preamble: "In a way I think of her as my property, my work of art... She's a work in progress that I'm involved in. To that extent, I have some licence to be public about having her as my muse.") I didn't have a problem with that. I was prepared to stand by that. I knew that I would have to stand by that, because I knew that I'd get shit for that.

And I did. But I wasn't quite prepared for the force of the shit being flung.

In the comments to the online article, this was the tenor of the response:

"Is it just me or is this poor little kid doomed from the get go?"

"Isn't this just another form of pimping?"

"At 6 her daughter will likely hire a lawyer and sue her for half."

"Parents that sit and blog are actually NOT paying attention to their children. You know the old saying 'where are the parents.' Well their (sic) right here in front of you honey, but they are zombified in front of a screen."

"If this is the way this woman views her child, I hope she saves up whatever money she's earning from her pathetic blog to pay for her kid's therapy later in life."

And my favorite (regarding a quote from Wonderbaby, cited in the title of the article) "Who would teach their child to speak like this?"

(Memo to 'Dennis sinneD from Calgary': if you know any two-year olds who can not only construct complete sentences, but articulate those sentences with perfect diction, then you live in some alternate parallel universe where said children quote EB White at five years of age, attend Oxford at seven, and publish their collected essays on the rise of the English novel at ten. Which is to say, NOT CALGARY.)

Anyway. OUCH.

The comments are stupid, I know. And, simply, wrong: I'm not some shameless mom-pimp, whoring out an online kiddy show for pennies from Google ads. I'm a writer. I make money from writing; it's my job, my contribution to the household income, the means by which we're going to send her to university and pay for her wedding and help her buy a house and just generally take care of her and her sibling. But it's also a labor of love - I didn't start writing to make money, I started because I love it. And I started writing about - mostly - being a mom because, in addition to loving the writing, I found solace and comfort and release and community in it. And so did others - readers, and other writers, who shared their stories with me. And so I kept writing, and so I keep on writing, and so I will keep on writing, until I have no words left. The money is nice, but it's incidental to my love for the practice of writing.

Most of what I write is not Wonderbaby anecdote. I'm not simply keeping a play-by-play (or, more accurately, asskick-by-asskick) record of her life. I'm writing what is, in part, a living memoir of my experience as a first-time (soon to be second-time) mother. She's a big part of that - the biggest part, in most obvious respects - but there's a lot about that experience that holds her at the periphery. A very, very close periphery, but still. My motherhood is a work in progress that involves her closely, but it is, also, a work that is more mine that hers. When I said in the article that she's my muse, that's probably as close to the truth of the writing matter as I could get. She is the source of my identity as a mother, and my primary inspiration as a writer - but the story that I tell about the experience of motherhood - the experience of womanhood after having children - is not, strictly speaking, her story. It's mine. Mostly. (The issue of public/private distinctions as these pertain to the quote-unquote institution of motherhood, and the idea of children as any sort of 'property,' are subjects for another post. Soon.) (I'll just say this: the word 'property' - from the Latin proprius, meaning one's own - doesn't necessarily refer to chattel. Rousseau and Mill took 'property' to refer to the broad spectrum of things - including happiness, self-respect, family - that one might hold dearly as 'one's own')

And in any case - even if one does regard my personal blog as simply one long exercise in narcissistic storytelling about life with Wonderbaby - what of it? As this blogger pointed out to me in a private conversation, why does so-called lifestyle writing in print not prompt people to generalize those writers as narcissistic nutbars or neglectful parents or - most pleasantly - pimps? Memoirs, autobiography, lifestyle op-ed columns - these have been around for a very long time, and while some such writers, I'm sure, are called narcissists, most of them have probably not had the unique pleasure of being called crazy, zombified pimps. (Most of them, however, have - from Rousseau to Sedaris - historically been men. There's something about so-called lifestyle writing or memoir by women - online or off - that inevitably provokes hysterical name-calling and foretellings of the decline of civilization. This has everything to do with the historical consignment of women and family to the private sphere, I think, but again, that's a subject for another post. I can only skim the surface here.)

There's something about mothers lifting back the veil of the family that upsets people, that leads people to accuse the mothers who dare do such a thing of neglecting their maternal duties, of exploiting their children, of exposing their children to the dangers of the public sphere, of being bad. But that's precisely what makes mom-blogging - to overuse a deservedly overused phrase - a radical act. We've always been told to not lift the veil. We've always been told to stay behind the veil, no matter what. We've always been told that the sanctity and well-being of our families depends upon the integrity of that veil - upon modesty and privacy and keeping our struggles and our victories to ourselves. Which has, over the course of the history of Western civilization (and that of other civilizations, of course, although I cannot speak to these with any authority), kept us isolated from one another. Kept us silent.

I choose not to be silent. I choose to tell my stories, tell - while she is young - her stories, tell the stories of she and I and our family and our place in this world and to pull meaning from those stories and to speculate on those meanings and to reflect, out loud, on what it means to be a mom in this day and age and other days and ages and all the days and ages to come. I choose to use my voice, my fingers, my keyboard to make myself heard. I choose to write. If that makes me appear, to some, a crazy, narcissistic, exploitative zombie-pimp who whores her child out for the sake of a few bucks and the self-indulgence of storytelling, then so be it.

It's worth it. It's so worth it.


Wee update: The writer of the article contacted me and asked if I wanted the offensive comments removed from the Globe and Mail site. I said no - apart from the name-calling, they're expressing an opinion that I chose to engage with (because I think that it's stupid and in some cases offensive, but still) and in any case, I'm not much on with censorship, unless it's me doing it on my own site. Still... was that the right decision? Letting comments that refer to me as 'vile' and 'zombified' and 'pimp' stand for eternity on the interwebs? Or does open discourse require a bit of personal discomfort - perhaps more than I'm used to - sometimes?

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Blogger Liv said...

you know, there will always be haters. i think half of them are just grumbling because they can't relax enough to enjoy life--all of life, the bitter and the sweet. when you can write about it and laugh and commune about it, so much the better.


1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully said.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Kimber said...

I didn't call you a pimp, I called you a whore. Poor Wonderbaby! (KIDDING! I said neither!)
Frankly, I can not believe the gall of these people who commented. As if you are sitting home collecting ASSLOADS of money while posting a constant stream of WonderBaby antics. I enjoy your blog because it's not a "WB ate a carrot today and then she had organic juice" which is fine if you like reading that tripe, uh stuff but that's not for me. I enjoy good writing, whether it's on the ole interwebs or if it's in print.
Please, people.
I write my blog because I write non-fiction crap all day long and I wanted a place to share some stuff about me. I don't think for one second that my kids will need therapy later in life because I once talked about poop. And boobs. There will always be boobs.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Flinger said...

Amen, hon. Afuckingmen.

You're both beautiful and I'm so glad you share that with us.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Princess Hippopotamus said...

Oh pffft on them. You have a great blog, and a great daughter. People always assume the worst, and of course they have to tell you about these opinions as well. I think you're a wonderful writer and you should take pride in what you do, because you're doing a great job.

Keep up the good work!

(P.S. Sorry my fellow Calgarians SUCK!)


1:34 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Mothers have written about their children for centuries. Many, many, many famous female writers have supported themselves in part by writing personal anecdotes about their lives that include their children. Women have written newspaper columns, essays, and entire books about their children. And-- NEWSFLASH-- there have been a lot of male authors who have written stories about their children for publication, too.

Why did no one ever call this "exploitation" until it was on the internet? What is so different about this?

Is it that there are MORE of us parents writing about our children now? Forming an actual community, where we can ask one another for parenting advice, help one another in times of need, and even arrange to meet in person so our children can gain new playmates and we can gain new parent friends?

Is it that we are making LESS money than those people who used to write personal essays for magazines and newspapers?

What is it about writing on the internet that makes people automatically assume a sort of tawdriness? Really, now. It's ridiculous.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

Hear, hear!!!

This kind of writing is why you have way more fans than detractors...

I'll be blogging my own rebuttal soon but it'll go something like this...

I am a writer. I work hard to find and express the beauty and the profoundity in the mundane. If you don't like it, don't read it, but do NOT accuse me of exploiting my child when we all know there is real and sickening exploitation of children going on via the internet...

1:43 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I also got a kick out of the "who teaches their child to talk like that" comment because it was clearly by someone who knew nothing about anything but just wanted to jump in and join the bashing.
Someone once asked me if I felt like the time I spent blogging was taking away from time with my kdis. I just had to laugh. I'm a stay at home parent and I spend more time with my kids every day than some parents spend with their kids all week. (That is not to bash working parents, I'm just making a point.) Me spending a little time each day blogging and reading blogs doesn't hurt my kids one bit. In fact they benefit from having a mother who has a creative outlet and has found a "community" of sorts in blogging. If I could get all that plus some money too? Well, that would rock all the more.
You just keep on keeping on. Those who get it, get it and those who don't can't blow it out their rear ends.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're both so cute in this picture! I read the article and I think that you make some very interesting points about the notion of women and childraising being relegated by society to the private sphere. It's natural for the media to explore the phenomenon of "mommy bloggers" and possibly to question it's value, but I think the people who are so vehemently opposed to it are either a) Not parents or b) Not stay-at-home parents. As a stay-at-home mom, blogs like yours give me a sense of community on those days when I would otherwise feel very isolated and slightly crazed! So thank you.

1:54 PM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

I discussed this article at length with Chris last night. We agree - you were the voice of positivity; of reason. Blogging about your child perhaps does raise the question of their privacy, but really - what are our blogs besides love letters to our children?

As for the comments - they don't get it. It's that simple. They don't understand blogging, they don't understand the internet, they don't understand parenting today and they certainly don't understand you. Us.

Don't give them the time it takes to care.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Hm. You and were talking about this recently, about how the mainstream media likes to spin blogging parents (and they always tend to lead with men, for some reason). Moms are either too wrapped up in their children, or too wrapped up in themselves.

The comments on the article (and, weird, when I saw the headline, I thought: "oh, that's Wonderbaby") were funny to me because the discussion that goes on HERE in the comments (and in all our comments) is way more nuanced, careful, sophisticated, reflective, and caring. And they call US weirdos?

Anyhow, you know what the mass media could use, though, I think? A thoughtful look at mommy bloggers who do NOT monetize, do not craft work out of their accounts. We actually are a big big majority of mommy bloggers, and we keep it mostly on the downlow, for a lot of reasons.

I love your blog, C: and I found you right after I gave birth, because your name and your blog were in the Globe and Mail. So that really helped me to find this community. But I think for the press to always focus on blogs like yours really misses the fundamental reality of innumerable women writing and reading and writing and reading without any broader public presence.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Oh, and it's eye-rollingly baaaaad that the caption under the photo in the article helpfully drops the bomb that you started writing to cope with your PPD: so that makes you, if we were to read headlines and captions, a fantastically rich, neglectful, mentally-unstable attention-whore? Honestly. The $40K thing really pisses me off: it's just not true for anyone in this sphere except Dooce, unless you're cobbling multiple writing gigs together.

Just picture all the screen-addled PPD narcissist mommies! Rolling in dough and writing about pee-pee. The article is set up in such a way as to provoke the moron-ery in the comments. Grr.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so want to see your "post title" on a t-shirt, damnit!

2:13 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I read the article, but never went back to read the comments. So now I'm floored by the things people said. If writing about our children is pimping them out for big bucks, what about those who don't make much or make any money at all from blogging? Are they just bad pimps, not only exploiting their children but also unable to properly pimp them out to at least make a living from it?

Women have been writing about their children in one way or another for a long time, yet now because we have a built-in world-wide audience it is somehow wrong?

And I have to once again roll my eyes at those who accuse mom bloggers of ignoring their kids all day in order to blog. Some particularly mean troll once told me that the reason Cordy is autistic is because I put her in front of the TV all day so I could blog. Of course it couldn't be further from the truth, but it also shows the clear misconceptions many have about mom bloggers.

I thought you handled the topic very well. If only the commenters had as much ability to think clearly.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I read the article and the comments don't really surprise me because people are judgmental and love to pick on others.
As far as blogging being exploitive, I think it can be. And, honestly I have read some posts (not yours specifically) where I think it crosses a line. And, I think it's a question that as a parent blogger, whether you have a million readers like you do, or 10 like I do, you have to ask yourself every time you post. I think it's also why you can have programs that tell you how people are finding your blog. For instance I was using a phrase that was drawing a weird crowd of people. And, I felt in a round about way that if my son's picture came up when people googled a certain term it was wrong. So, I deleted the term.
I guess my point is that I think you're using your blog in a non-exploitive way. And, as long as you continue to question yourself it's fine.
Besides ... I like your writing :)

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aww, I'm so sorry that happened to you. I've been leery of newspaper interviews for years, since I used to sometimes participate in personal ads in a local freebie paper and they interviewed me and I said things like I'd never met anyone I wanted to see twice and I got a lot of semi-porn responses and I didn't think I was going to continue doing it and it turned into a big article about how personal ad dating had turned my life around and made my depression disappear and they used my real name.

You just keep on doing what you're doing. Wonderbaby is just what her name suggests, we all love her as if we were her aunts and grandmas, and we love hearing about your life. Ignore the newspaper. They like to make things up for the drama.

2:22 PM  
Blogger jenB said...

The comments make me cry a little, especially knowing you (as much as I do thus far:)). I also started writing pre-baby before there was even pennis in googleads. It made me feel good, better, in a way that I had never experienced. The fact that there are people who do it better than others, is O-fucking-K. sheesh.

Short version: well written rant, and you are fantastic.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was saddened and a little outraged when I read the comments to your article. Not only are they harsh and rude to YOU and YOUR family, but to the rest of us as well.
Those commentators refer to ALL of us as pimps and zombies that are taking advantage of our children.

Frig. For the measly money that my blog does make it's not worth pimping my child out, if that were the case. But it's not. That's not why the majority of us blog and the people that took the time to write such hurtful and downright evil comments are just looking for their little slice of limelight themselves.
They really are no different.

Excellent post C. As always.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

OK - A few things. First, you ladies sure are beautiful, the whole inside and out thing. Second, wow, people can sure be stupid (and quick to judge) and that's not you I'm talking about.(Oh, did I just judge someone there?) Third, writing and money? Who writes this stuff?

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you.

It continues to amaze me that we, as women, are still having to justify any move we make outside the private sphere--in 2008.

I'm looking forward to your future posts expanding on this topic.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

you know this is a culturally yucky time for mothers - we are supposed to not give them nature deficit disorder, not hover, not let them get kid-napped, not turn them into snobs who don't know elmo, not feed them crap, be a good consumer, send them out to play, play with them, teach them to play on their own and myriad other contradictory goals. Ick, leave us be.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mimi - I agree that most news articles tend to focus on the quote-unquote bigger blogs, or the monetized blogs, although there have been articles in parenting magazines on the topic of blogging as hobby versus profession. I think it's appropriate, though, in this context, because the supposed dirty money angle adds something to the charge of exploitation. But therein lays the question: if I didn't make a penny from blogging, at HBM or elsewhere, what would the difference be? Is it a more 'pure' craft - and therefore less exploitative and objectionable - if it's pursued solely as hobby?

but that's another topic ;)

And yeah, the image of me as a rich, depressed, pill-popping exploiter-mom: AWESOME.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In part, I think it's a generational thing. My parents were always coaching us as kids not to talk about things like the time my mom took an old frozen grocery store cake, covered it with Cool Whip and brought it to school for a bake sale. These days if I did something like that, I'd write about it for the whole world to read. (Not that I'd do that, but still...)

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started to write a very long comment in response to this, so I turned it into a post instead. In short, to reasonable you: Yes. To commenters: Boo.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

That article was so ridiculously slanted...and it's been said before, but why is the act that this writing is posted online that makes it so inflammatory? Did Erma Bombeck get riddled with accusations for writing humorously about parenting and marriage? How about Dave Barry, who went from print to blog?

(Why did I pick two totally outdated examples? I dunno? Probably because I am distracted by the piles of cash surrounding me that I made blogging.)

3:06 PM  
Blogger Brianne H. said...

Yes yes yes!!!

We moms who blog = rockin.

They = lame, stuffy, no-kid, on-therapy-themselves, bloody wankers! ;)

Keep on keepin' on. Forget all of them!

3:09 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

It will ALWAYS be acceptable to bash the mother. No matter what we do someone is going to tell us we're doing it wrong. Stay a home, work out side, write about the kids ... hell, TALKING about the kids can get a mom in trouble.

My blog IS a boring play-by-play of what the kids did today. Thing is the people who write the stories that elicit that kind of response is more harmful than any of us.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

*enters with sarcasm*

So I guess that's why you are having another one? Because of how filthy rich the first one has made you via your blog?

Smart move, HBM. I'm sure that you make far more money on your blog than it costs to raise your children.

*heavy sigh, exits shaking head*

So sorry people can be such asshats.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I think those comments smack of jealousy at your success. Some people have nothing better to do than to sit on the internet and type rude comments. How is that better than writing great posts about our children?

3:17 PM  
Blogger Mom O Matic said...

I think it's fantastic that moms are sharing their stories. How much nicer would the task of motherhood be if we could do that in real life?

But sadly, those mean old commenters are the moms in real life that keep us silent and fearful. Saving our deep down thoughts for when we are online.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Sass said...

sometimes the people who comment on newspaper websites are just nasty and cynical.

Bring on the stories.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people! Now mommy-blogging makes you a crappy parent? Since when are these people experts? Keep doing what your doing, despite you title, your are most definately NOT a bad mother.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Creative-Type Dad said...

Maybe we can start a club since we're all making 40k a month, right?

We can all have our private jets meet somewhere.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Chantal said...

Bravo Catherine!

3:28 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I felt kind of like barfing after reading those comments, to be honest. I have literally NEVER had anyone in my real life say ANYTHING negative to me about my blogging. EVER. AT ANY POINT. And yet apparently there are quite a few people out there who think that mother bloggers are all spun. Well now.

3:31 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

You got exactly what I was thinking - 'but other people do this in print and only attract a handful of haters.' It's somehow legitimized.

3:34 PM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

Well, the above people all said what I basically am thinking, but I am such an ATTENTION WHORE that I felt the need to put my own comment here and say "Here, here!"

3:35 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

I should never have clicked on the link to the actual article, then clicked on the comments there. I am SO ANNOYED right now. What is wrong with people?? First of all, about 99% of bloggers are not making tens of thousands of dollars per month. Maybe Dooce makes a ton of money, but she's been writing it for a long time, and I would not refer to it as a mommy blog necessarily - she writes about a lot of stuff, and takes gorgeous photos. She wasn't even married when the blog started. Secondly, how is writing a blog and sharing anecdotes and stories any different from Jenny McCarthy writing a book about parenthood, or Brooke Shields writing about her PPD, or any of the thousands of memoirs of parenting out there? No one is attacking them. Thirdly, the assumption that all of these parents are ignoring their children while they blog is ridiculous. Have they ever heard of dads, babysitters, big brothers/sister, naps, and bedtime? There are a lot of opportunities to write that do not have you ignore your child. Plus anyone that has a kid knows that if you sit down to blog in the same house as a two year old, and they don't want you to be doing it, you're not going to be able to do it! Unless you are a magical resister of pulling, whining, etc.

The assumption that people who are mommy bloggers would be uncaring or ignoring their children is kind of backwards anyhow, because if a parent didn't care would they take time to record their kid's stories and precious moments, and the amusing things they do? Or would they forget the blog and do something else instead? Hm...

Sigh... I resisted the urge to log in and leave a comment on the article because a while ago that you can't reason with people who don't have logic.


3:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You are very tough to put yourself out there like that. I don't know what it is about people where we have this inner need almost to rip each other a new one every chance we get - as though our lives are worth more when we make other feel worth less. Who knows. Good that you know none of it was accurate, though I can imagine the sting. People are cruel when given a forum. But you and your blog are still great. And that picture is adorable. Thanks for always sharing.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read the article, I did not think you were put in a bad light. Maybe it's because I'm a MOM and I get your humour.

This post is awesome. You are awesome.

And you are right. It is so worth it. Keep it up!

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I decided to read the article before leaving a comment. Like others, I did not bother reading the comments left on the globe website, b/c the article in itself was pointless. Newspapers and general news itself has been slipping of late. Tralee Pearce had a real opportunity to delve into a complex issue, but instead she choose to skim the surface, give out some facts and use quotes out of context. You and other bloggers, myself included, struggle with the issue of privacy. Had tralee read your blog she would have seen that you have blogged about this exact issue. However, like most reports on anything science / research related, this article consisted of very little analysis or information. Great 2 bloggers stopped blogging because of privacy and one can not because of how much she earns from the blog. What about the question of why do we blog? What is the difference between blogging and chatting with your mummy group pals? Why does blogging cause such anger yet Jenny McGarthy writing a hilarous book on being pregnant gets to go on Larry King?

On another note, why are we expected as mums to only want to care about our children? We are not JUST moms, we are writers, researchers, lovers, friends. We need to care about ourselves and not be sacrificing everything for them.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Challenge 20/20 teams said...

At the risk of being the lone 'you know they do have a point' dissenter here, I recently quit my blog for many of the reasons listed in that article. It's easy to get wrapped up in the whole "I'm not alone" feeling of the blogosphere, but at what cost?I often wonder how many WAH bloggers DO have time to parent, blog, and then do the requisite reciprocal commenting (to say nothing of shopping for groceries, doing laundry and other household management). I certainy couldn't do it without bordering on neglect and my family is worth WAY more to me than faceless readers. You may feel the same way someday too, you may not. I respect your right to do what you do.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read the article yet but I will. There will always be haters commenting. Just that the publication has a zillion readers and you'll get more chance of nutty negative people trying to put you down.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

In Tralee Pearce's (the writer of the article) defense, I'm guessing that she was circumscribed by word count and editorial direction and the like - she'd read my blog extensively, knew that I'd written about this subject before, and she and I had a really good discussion that unfortunately had to be distilled into a sound bite or two. Which is how newspaper articles work. Sad, but true.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are one of the very few mom-blogs that I read, and it's because you do write about you, not your child. You write about yourself and your perception of motherhood so well that it's why I keep coming back. It's what I originally set out to do (except I am not as good a writer), only when everything went so horribly wrong for me, I physically could not bear to continue.

Because, face it, reading about someone else's kid is boring. (Unless said kid is revealed at age 11 to be a wizard and goes off to a school of magic in a secret castle, at which point I will confess a certain bit of mania.) You can only take so many phallic lovey stories, hysterical though they may be, before a blog that only talks about the kid - what they ate, how they are developing, what they played, their bowel movements - turns into that coworker by which you hate being cornered.

The good mom (and dad) bloggers don't talk about these things, except as they produce an experience for the blogger. And that experience is theirs as much as standing at the foot of Andrew's Glacier last August was mine.

You just happen to be one of the best.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Kara - being at WAH writer is no different from being a WAH anything, with kids - you have to learn to balance things. In my case, we use daycare a couple of days a week (as we would if I were WOH) and rely a lot upon really good scheduling. I do my recreational blogging (reading, etc) at night, instead of TV, or when I have insomnia. So I don't feel that I sacrifice any more time with my family than I would if I worked away from home. Less, actually, because this work allows me to take time off whenever and however I like. But, yeah, it could get overwhelming for anyone who doesn't have resources like daycare or grandparents, etc.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Kmommy said...

You are so right! Who cares what other people say! They're just jealous ;) I think many of us would agree that we all need each other and each other's stories. I feel so much saner knowing that there are other mothers out there going through similar issues.
And you are so right on with your comments about writing in print. Damn, you go girl ;)

4:03 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

I'm stuck on $40K per month. MONTH? Dude is that even possible?

This makes me awfully nervous about my press conference next week. EEK!

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are both beautiful.

Screw em.

4:07 PM  
Blogger jodifur said...

I've never commented here before but have lurked for a while.

I find this whole argument annoying. I work in child abuse. I see abused, exploited children every day. Can we concentrate on them please? This is just ridiculous.

Can we spend some time talking about important stuff? Who's going home on American Idol tonight?

(not saying your post wasn't important, but this discussion isn't important).

4:21 PM  
Blogger ChicMama! said...

Two things, really - Dennis sinneD is just representative of all the comments above and below him - totally out of touch with what it means to read blogs daily, to be connected with the writer (as I think most HBM readers are), and really, to understand what it means to be a mom who thinks about motherhood.

Your statement on pulling back the veil on motherhood is so accurate...I began reading HBM as I dealt with my own PPD (actually googled PPD in Blogger, hoping to find someone writing about it. Bingo - you). So many women minimize the impact on a life that a new baby has - as if it's all fine, it's no big deal, it's wonderful. Blogged about THIS VERY TOPIC today - our truthfulness. In reality, motherhood can be hard and an adjustment and admitting this doesn't mean we love our children any less. Thanks for always being so truthful and honest.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

what are people such assholes?

keep telling your stories; keep telling her stories.
you are awesome :)

4:29 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

um, yeah, that should be WHY are people such assholes...ha

4:30 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Just what I needed: Morrissey stuck in my head.

To the irrational, cruel commenters: I hope you feel better. Now go find your next opportunity for self-congratulations.

4:35 PM  
Blogger The Other Laura said...

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

Thank you for saying it so well...

4:37 PM  
Blogger caramama said...

If it wasn't for mommybloggers, my PPD might have gotten the better of me. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you HBM and all other mommybloggers for putting your stories out there, and giving me the courage to do the same.

People who don't get it, just won't get it. What you do is inspiring, and I'm sure WB will be so proud of her mother.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the criticism seems to keep coming from a mindset that once a woman becomes a mother, she no longer has a "myself" that should be of any concern to her. she must think always and only of her child and her child's wants and needs and her experiences. her experiences as the mother are irrelevant since now it is only the child doing the experiencing. and what a very sad mindset that is and I can see how upset people who live in that mindset can be by these uppity women who INSIST on having their own experiences. not only that, they then have the audacity to share them with other people. who do we think we are, exactly?
In the U.S., it's quite possible that in about six months we will elect a woman (a mother at that!) to the presidential office. and yet I'm still expected to keep my mouth shut now that I am a mother. the more things change, the more they stay the same.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I know so many adults that end up in therapy because their mothers loved to brag about them on the internet. Oh wait, no I don't! Because THAT"S STUPID! I can't imagine how happy I would have been if my mother had been able to keep a memoir of our lives together. Ah well, as Fussy says, Writing Well is the Best Revenge.

4:47 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

When I commented earlier I hadn't read the article only the comments.
And to be honest, I think the article was VERY GOOD, even withstanding that context-deprived quote. Which makes me wonder why the comments went where they did. Also makes me realize why I've been reading more and commenting less.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

From one crazy, narcissistic, exploitative zombie-pimp who whores her child out for the sake of a few bucks and the self-indulgence of storytelling to another,


I pink puffy heart you.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Nic (NotPerfect) said...

It's so convenient for other people to judge your parenting when they're busy not thinking about the ramifications of mommy/daddy being a judgmental douchebag.

These parenting wars seem way too stressful. Would you like a hug?

4:56 PM  
Blogger Dawn Johnson Warren said...

I say three cheers for you for putting yourself "out there", being strong enough to know that you are not doing anything wrong and have an entire subculture who backs you up. An entire subculture that is quickly becoming the mainstream.

There are people who get it and people who don't. I'd like to think that those of us who do are ahead of the curve and going to be able to function much better in the future of this world because we understand how to use the internet as a tool and are open to allowing ourselves to be authentic. Those who don't are going to struggle.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Essayists throughout history - and all writers, fiction or non - have always mined their life experiences for material. I do not know why mother are more maligned for this than others.

I think it has more to do with the medium, which is view as frivolous. It is such a nascent publication method - and it transfers power from a few elite editors to the writer. I think that has a lot more to do with the backlash.

I think you do the medium proud, Catherine. And you are part of its long, long future.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Nic - yes, always ;)

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who has William Blake as one of their inspirations can't be all bad. Besides, mommy (and other) pimps don't usually write as well as you do.

Good luck and don't let the bastards get you down.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Karianna said...

The cool thing about how so many of us are using blogs to discuss our lives is that by definition, we become common. Even if we are pouring out our hearts, there is someone else doing the same. Of course, your language is mellifluous, whereas mine is rather clunky, but I still gain happiness from expressing myself with written word. But since we are one of many, our kids are similarly not “unique” in the eyes of the online world.

In other words, all of our kids will be googleable, have their own myspace/facebook pages, and will have a presence online. Therefore, none of them will feel particularly “spotlighted.”

I think of a phone book: Initially people may have been concerned “People will know where I live! They will call me at all hours of the day!” But since everyone else in the community had their address and phone number published, no one person was harassed.

Yes, an article talking about “exploiting” is going to receive negative comments. This doesn’t meant those comments don’t hurt, just that people are naturally going to express their opinions in a biased way.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Godless Sunday said...

Best one yet. Thank you!

5:27 PM  
Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Because of work matters that are picking up this year, I'm starting to be asked questions of this ilk: Why blog about the kids? What about sexual predators? Shouldn't you work more offline than on the blog? (as I do make more money offline than on, still.)

Personally, I feel a bit for people who cannot see the value in placing into words all that we think and feel, not only about parenthood but as ourselves as women. (Or men, as the case maybe).

Stay strong. Do as Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never give in."

5:27 PM  
Blogger Blog said...

I read the article in the paper and then commented on it myself on my blog. It looked MUCH worse online -- with all the below-the-belt comments. I was hurt by them, and I can only imagine how you felt. Whether or not there's any logic to the comments, they no doubt hurt, and I hope you're okay.

I actually felt comforted and encouraged by your presence in that article. I had a feeling your words were taken out of context and worried about the backlash.

Obviously, keep doing what you're doing and don't look back. You're an inspiration. And, I LOVE this post (the whole scratching the surface of women in the private sphere, etc, etc? Can't wait to hear more.)

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you, completely. We are writing history. I would have loved to have had an account from my mother about raising me, a small peek into what life was like for her. Even the negative stuff because motherhood isn't all neatly wrapped and tied with a bow. My kids are 10, 8, 6 and 2. The older ones know about my blog and have given me permission to write about them. They don't read it but I know one day they will. Most of it they will get a kick out of and if anything embarrasses them I'm more than willing to hit the delete key. We are writing history. And an important one at that.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about this today--about how the best "mommyblogs" are just that: blogs about motherhood, not blogs about children. There are a lot of people out there who keep online journals about what cute thing Junior said today or what milestones Junior Miss is achieving ahead of the curve, and while there's definitely room for that--there's room for EVERYBODY here--to me those blogs are in a different genre from the blogs that take those cute things and milestones and then take them a step or ten further, reflect upon them at a deeper level, speak to them from the point of view of a participant rather than just an observer/reporter.

Good writing makes good mommyblogging, but even more than that, good thinking is where it all starts.

5:56 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

So is the title of this post going to be your new handle when WB 2.0 makes his debut? Or better yet, put it on your business card.

Anyhow, there are some really shiny gems in the G&M comments. Most are pretty funny because it's pretty obvious that the reason they leave these flaming, poor composed comments is so they can see their sad little brain farts in print. I bet a few had to take a nap after sounding off. Not all are bad, but there are some real winners in that bunch.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh dammit. I knew this was going to happen when I saw that quote, and knowing you I knew exactly what the intent was.

I think you just have to roll with it, as you are already doing so gracefully. Someone judging you on one excerpted quote in a paper is like someone judging your fashion sense based on a glimpse of you in sweats after a hangover. It's accurate, sure, but it's hardly the entire picture.

Be strong.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

mah hero. fo reals, and you know it.

6:19 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

Not only is it worth it, but it's to be celebrated

6:29 PM  
Blogger OHmommy said...

Amen. Seriously... people need to get a life.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Mary said...


7:00 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Motherbumper - Word. HBM be damned. I'll be going with CNZPMB.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear HBM, I've been a reader of yours for over a year now and I just had to comment on this post. Bravo!!! I read this site (I am a woman in my late twenties who will hopefully start her own family sometime in the next year) mainly because I loved your writing style and storytelling. As someone who early got bit by the writing bug and then sort of lost it along the road of Life, this post really resonated with me. You and Wonderbaby have been an inspiration and your journey together has taught me much too! Just wanted to show my support.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, maybe we should just stop writing about "our lives" and "what is important to us" and just start writing about "What is Going on Down There" and "Flomites. But wait! Then people will call us "Whores" because we're exploiting our vaginas for a little ad revenue!

Ah... people.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its crazy to think that some kids aren’t going to grow up and hate their parents for doing this. As evidence, you might consider that even if this is ”making history", many of the people who actually have made history by turning their lives into “art” were actually resented by a lot of the people around them for exactly that reason. Why would this be any different? Some other kids probably wouldn’t mind though. But who knows which will be which. Mind you, I don't think that "artists" are actually supposed to care.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Karen MEG said...

First of all, BEAUTIFUL picture of you and Wonderbaby. Love it.

The article, not so bad. The comments, so overwhelmingly negative and judgemental, by people who have not read your blog, or DMD's or any other "mom" blogs, just don't get it. But just because you don't get it, doesn't mean you should slam it.

I suppose that makes me a CNZPMB as well. If it puts me anywhere near the same category as you (and in terms of writing capability, I am SO NOT), then I would consider myself so lucky to be in such wonderful company.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Shash said...

Sign me up for the CNEZPMB. And if I can make $40,000 per year? Yes, please!

It won't happen (the $40,000 thing), but it sure would be nice!

I love the photo of you and Wonderbaby in the article. I love the hands-over-her-eyes because it's as if she's saying "I can't see all you crazy, insensitive people bashing my mom because she is wonderful, and you have no idea how cool she really is. Now go away."

You? Are AWESOME, Catherine. Those of us who have met you know that.

Your blog is a love letter to your family. You just allow many to read it. Thank you for the luxury and the peek inside; because who DOESN'T look inside people's windows as they pass by houses?

Just me? I doubt it.


8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In no way does the article give any indication of the beauty and love radiating from your blog. It's pure spin. I have read literally every post you've written and this is the only blog that I check and read every day (when you've posted, obviously). It's where I discovered the wonderful world of parent blogs, where I started to learn to deal with my own PPD, and has continually been a launch pad for introspection on any number of issues.

You know they got it wrong, we know they've got it wrong. Your readers love you and that's why we keep coming back.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was said just right. Thanks!

And hey, *if* you are a crazy, narcissistic, exploitive, zombie-mommy, at least you aren't alone! We salute you!

8:56 PM  
Blogger Jenny, the Bloggess said...

It's the same thing as the people complaining that abstract modern art is ridiculous and any 5 year old could do it. They only say that because they don't have the ability to understand it and feel that they could do it as easily so since they aren't it's irrelevant and should be judged. Blogging is just an honest form of scrapbooking, journaling and community building and you are a master of this. There are bound to be haters but it doesn't make your work any less wonderful, honest and poignant. If I were your daughter I'd be so proud to have you record my life and give me such insight into the person my mother really is.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of these commenters are probably old school people who believe Ann Landers when she says that the Internet is just full of evil people and we should all be suspicious of anyone we encounter online.

But what cracks me up is when the commenters throw darts at bloggers for "neglecting their families" -- yet they have the time to not only read articles online but comment extensively on them? Probably while their kids are drinking water out of the toilet or some such thing.

People seriously need to think before they write. Kind of like bloggers do.


9:40 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anonymous: kids grow up to hate their parents for many reasons. Why they should be disproportionately more likely to grow up to hate parents who lovingly chronicled their experience of parenthood, I fail to see.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

LOL what Christina said - I must be some bad kind of zombie pimp cause I don't make one red cent from my blog. And yet I still do it.

In all seriousness, I was a little hurt by the article. I started my blog on a whim one day because I was reading a couple and wondered what mine would look like if I had one.

I was then ushered into this wonderful world of moms that are supportive and kind, instead of snooty and dismissive, as had been my experience thus far.

The opportunity to write about my experiences, and get feedback and support has made me a BETTER mother, not a worse one. Also, the reading and writing of blogs has thrown me a lifeline when I thought I was drowning. Why do people - any people - have to try to make it a bad thing? How on earth does it possibly affect them?

On the other hand, I had to guffaw at the ridiculosity of the comments. If they knew you in person, they couldn't possibly say those things. You're great.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catherine, my mother died when I was 15, and while I knew her as my mother, I never ever had the chance to know her as a Mother and a Woman. One of the reasons I started my own blog is that if, God forbid, the worst ever happens and I leave my children too soon, they will still have a glimpse, however small, into me as a Mother and a Woman.

I have always seen your blog as the consumate expression of Woman as Mother, of the study of Motherhood through the academic lens, but with the spin of the subject matter expert due to experience, rather than academic study. It is this difference in perspective that you do better than just about anyone else out there, and one of the reasons that I would be here, reading, even if I had no children at all.

Of course, meeting you in person and seeing that you are both as lovely and brilliant in Real Life as you are here didn't do anything to drive me away, either. :-)

11:21 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

First time commenter, but....standing ovation! What you so eloquently put into words reflects what so many of us feel.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are getting this much attention, you must be doing something right.

Haters are usually miserable people anyway so don't sweat it and be happy.

11:30 PM  
Blogger jennyonthespot said...

You go girl :)

12:21 AM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

I mainly lurk around here (Hello!)
but this created some STRONG emotions in me.

I deleted a very long rant (you're welcome!)about the stupidity of the comments made, especially the person who said you were a zombie. I wonder where THEIR children were when they were typing that little gem, you know?

You're a great writer and you have every right to write what you want. The most important thing? You're a good mom. At the end of the day that is what matters.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I didn't even read the comments at The Globe because I thought it was a fantastic interview that spoke volumes about how much you love your child.

Perhaps I'm naive but it never occurred to me to check and see what other people were saying because I didn't see any reason to criticize you or to denigrate you as a mother. I guess that's because I "get it" and if any of those asswipes had ever bothered to read through your blog, they would have, assuming they are not of below average intelligence, come to a conclusion similar to mine -- that this is a woman that loves her child and is writing about her experiences as her mother in a respectful manner. Yes, it's sometimes funny but HELLO? So is life.

Ignore the haters. They're not worth a single second of your precious time. ((((Catherine and WB and baby))))

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many eloquent comments here -- and I just wanted to say Hell to the Yes. You are so goddamned smart.

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the article had some relevant arguments. The comments not so much.
The idea, the VERY IDEA, that by taking time for themselves- for work, for leisure, for whatever- mothers are neglecting their children, is beyond sexist, for reasons so various I won’t begin to list them. Suffice to say, I’m not a mother, and I’m pretty mad, so I can only imagine how livid I would feel if I HAD children to neglect/exploit.
Interesting point re online/print publishing. I think there’s a widely-held belief that writing can only be “Proper Writing” when it operates within the established economic (and, yes, I will say it, patriarchal) system of print publishing. There’s a sense that bloggers- and, horrors, wimmins- are getting “above their station” by daring to assume that people might want to read their writing, and to publish it themselves. And when whole new systems emerge which allow some people to earn money from their writing outside the established canon… Well, that knocks a lot of noses right out of joint. It’s not just women/mothers having a voice, it’s women taking a voice without asking for it, and then making an independent living from it. How inconvenient.
To sidetrack slightly, can I also say that one of the things I appreciate most about your writing is the academic vigour you demonstrate (makes sense, given your professional background) alongside your personal testimony. I love these posts which engage with rhetoric and society and shit. Makes me want to go back to uni and write essays again. This comment is almost as long as an essay, so that’s a start.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a fantastic writer and that's all there is to it. You're also smart as hell. Keep on writing. We enjoy your stories now and I bet Wonderbaby will absolutely love them when she is older. You're building her a treasure.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah. The power of the misquoted word! Amazing!

9:20 AM  
Blogger Texasholly said...

Joyfully dancing in front of the veil.

I do find a little irony in the "Parents that sit and blog are actually NOT paying attention to their children. " comment...that it was ONLINE. I am really am hoping there were no unsupervised children present at that house.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Bokker - I agree; the article was fine (once I got over that sinking feeling that came when I realized that 'the quote' - without my babbley preamble, whih was to be expected - was front and center in the part about me ;))

I think that you're dead-on, too, about this being in part about women *taking* a voice without asking for it, about them stepping forward and making space for themselves within that system when none had been offered. More to think about!

9:24 AM  
Blogger b*babbler said...

Eesh - the vitriol that can get spewed when talking about blogging.

And I definitely agree with a commenter above. The argument that this is somehow exploitative and abusive of children is ridiculous, and definitely speaks of a very pampered, privileged, over-politically-correct western viewpoint. Children in China putting together cheap toys and clothes for pennies a day? Exploited. Children in South America selling their bodies for pennies. Exploited. Children from homes across this great country of ours going to school hungry and with bruises? Abusive. Speaking and telling readers of the love you have for your child, telling their stories, saving those memories? Exploitative? Abusive? Ridiculous. To say so is insulting to those children that *do* live with abuse and exploitation.

Good response!

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its true that children who resent their parents rarely do so for a single reason, and to the extent that they do this is unlikely to be the single, sole. But could this be part of a larger picture of reasons? Sure. Children often fail to appreciate their parents "love" as such. Or they can understand that it comes from love and still resent it. I think its totally unrealistic for parents not to consider the possibility that some day their children might hold all of this against them. In some cases it is bound to happen.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that I think about it, I think that "love" is probably a misleading way to look at it. Children - especially teenagers, but grown adults as well - often think about their parents in very utilitarian terms. They don't always want to know all about their parents' love for them, at least not in all of the ways in which parents are interested in it. In those cases, some kids will probably fail to appreciate acts of love like this.

I guess its true that a blog like this isn't going to be the main reason for argument between a parent and child (barring its discovery and abuse by other kids, say). But I'm struck that this is a long thread of people taking for granted that kids will appreciate this stuff because it is done out of love. But surely we all know that kids often don't appreciate, and actively resent, acts of love? Its just a fact of life.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anonymous - that *is* just a fact of life. You're absolutely right. But there are potentially an infinite number of things - 'acts of love' - that our children might hate us for: sending them to a certain school, not allowing them to go wild on spring break, telling stories about their toilet training. Which is why, I think, that parents would be totally hamstrung if they got their panties/boxers in too much of a twist about what their kids might hate them for. We wouldn't be able to do ANYTHING, because it's pretty much guaranteed that no matter what we do, our kids will think we messed them up somehow.

All we *can* do is act out of love. I don't assume that my daughter will appreciate my having written about her. But I hope that she will, and that's all I have to go on for now. And in any case, much of the rest of it is about *me*, and I feel totally free about indulging in some license around that ;)

10:43 AM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Hear, hear!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Lisa Dunick said...

Whatever the comments say- I just want to say that they don't know what your blog and blogs like yours mean to other mothers trying to figure things out. Wonderbaby is not so much exploited as loved by so many of us who see our own children in her--and who see our own trials and frustrations in you. It gives me, at least, peace to know that I'm not the only one...

10:48 AM  
Blogger zchamu said...

Ugh. I wrote my comment on the article, but it showed up under "s m", not "zchamu" which is what I post frigging everything under. The Globe and Mail's "member system" is rather unfriendly.

Anyway, I simply don't understand why people get off so hard on tearing other people down. Surely their time would be better spent tending to their own children instead of verbally shredding someone they've never met on the internet? There's enough hate in the world already, no?

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HBM those people dont know you so who cares what those idiots think.and even though i have never met you i have been reading you since your urbanmoms days and I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE WONDERBABY.so to heck with all those hateful people.now i will go read all those other comments...LAVANDULA

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article and knew exactly what you were actually saying. Those are some very unhappy people over there reading and commenting. I love your site. I love Wonderbaby. And that new little bundle we'll all get to meet soon.


11:06 AM  
Blogger Mrs. G. said...

Yeah, Motherhood is the most important job in the the world, but just shut up about it all ready.

A little ironic, huh? This sort of backlash is as old as time. Blow it off, sister.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a blogger; I don't have time for it. But I have enough time in my 9-5 office job that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading your posts and those of other bloggers. Without you, MY job would be deadly boring. So thanks for that.

The article has some interesting points, but having been a reader of your blog for a few years now, and having enjoyed WB stories and your own thoughtful, beautiful commentary on many things that are not WB, I'd hate for this article to scare you and other bloggers enough to close up shop. I am a better (and happier) person for having read all the great, funny stuff on people's blogs.

And for the comments about moms sitting at their computers neglecting their children, EFF YOU! You offend me because I work outside the home and have kids. I guess I neglect my happy, well-adjusted children too because I'm not catering to their needs 24/7. But don't get me started...

Anyway, keep doing what you do. And the pic of you and WB...beautiful. You look fabulous being all pregnant in pink.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Miss Britt said...

What total and complete utter bullshit.

(I am so eloquent)

Is my mom the only mother who sat around with her friends at picnics and swapped embarrassing stories about what their kids had done lately?

And I can SUE for that?!?!?


11:25 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

When ABC did a story on my lawsuit (against Universal for telling YouTube to pull the video of my son dancing to a Prince song), most of the comments on the story were about the suit itself. However, there were a few that were about my poor parenting. About how I only paid attention to my son and not my daughter. How I had devised the situation to make my son "famous." How I was making a fuss to sell my book (my book?). Et cetera.

They stung a little but in every case, they were basing everything they knew about me on a 29 second video and a three minute GMA interview. Knowing that, all I could do was be amused by people who have nothing better to do than to pass judgment on others based on the shared snippets of life that are presented to them. And they were so wrong every time they made one of their ridiculous comments that I couldn't possibly take any of them seriously.

I think there's a general distaste for women who speak out, like you say here. There's a line in a Marge Piercy poem that I think of in these times: "Why aren't you quiet?" I think the answer for me is "Because there's no reason I should be."

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, i know i am late to the party and this will probably get lost in the shuffle of all the other comments above. BUT...

i have been reading this site (ok, ok, i admit it, lurking) for about 10 months. i do not have children but hope to at some point. i think your writing is beautiful, on a regular basis, and this post is no exception. choosing to write about your life and your experiences does not make you a pimp, nor a whore, nor any kind of bad-seed name the haters might throw at your.

as someone who is not a mother, i find a tremendous amount of hope and inspiration (and, it must be said, humor) in your writing. if it means this much to me i can't imaging how much it means to women out there who are having these experiences right along with you.

thank you for sharing with us.

11:45 AM  
Blogger TSM Oregon said...

I know you have plenty of support here and really don't need my two cents, but I'm going to give it anyway.

I've often wondered about these folks that leave comments like that. It seems cowardly and petty to judge someone based on an article or any one piece of information.

Personally? Though my children are much older, I love reading about your struggles, your strengths and triumphs, because it reminds me that we are not alone. That's what this is all about. We are a huge online support group. Why else do we check our comments six times a day? We need encouragement!

So here's mine: You GO girl! Keep up the good work, and don't let a few nutjobs make you feel less than the gem of a mom that you are.

12:17 PM  
Blogger justmylife said...

So let me get this straight...It is wrong to blog about our kids? Since when? Does this mean it is wrong to talk about my children with friends? Because in my blog I share my children with friends.

And if they think you get rich off of Google ads, they should see my report, yeah, I am getting rich! A buck thirty-seven, yes I am getting rich. HA!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Amie Adams said...

Hey--I don't know that I have much to add except my support.

I've seen so many examples of incredible support provided by and through mommyblogging that I just feel bad for the folks who don't understand.

PS--It's so not fair how gorgeous you are pregnant.

Hang tough!!

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are articulating precisely what I love about mommy blogging. I love the fact that I'm keeping track of small successes and challenges in my children's daily lives and also capturing some of my own parental learning curves, triumphs and defeats -- along with chronicling what else is going on in my life and between my ears. Someday I think my girls will find it a rich record of their childhood.

Right now, they glow with the attention and love being in my blog. For me, my choice is to be selective about what I say about them, trying to find that balance between expressing myself and protecting their privacy. If I think a post might hurt them, I either don't write it or I'll run it by them before publication. That's what works for me.

And as for other mommy bloggers, I remain fascinated by what YOU are doing with your blogs.

Blog proud and tall (or shy and short) -- whatever works for you. :o)

Hugs to you for sharing your life online with all of us.

1:05 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

I'm actually kind of looking forward to the day where I can print my blog off and hand bound copies to my kids. When my mother died I mourned the loss of a woman I didn't get to know - a woman who had a newborn, who tried nursing, who dealt with a failing marriage and a wild three-year old, all the while building a career and trying to figure out who she was as a woman, wife, mother, daughter and career woman. I wept for her, for that woman I didn't know, and I would give my eye teeth AND both arms to have something in print that could reveal more about her as a mother, a mother of a young child, a mother trying - and sometimes failing - to make it right.

You know how I feel about you, and about your blog, and I commend you on an excellent article and an excellent post.

1:17 PM  
Blogger blogger said...

Of course, down with the hate. But up with the discourse.

I think people are focusing on mothers--because that's what effing culture always does--about something that we should be thinking about as a whole. Even though the attacks are wrongly targeted and sexists, we really shouldn't dismiss the question of what happens when a person publishes about another's life.

Most "mommybloggers" have school age or younger children. Those of us with teens have seen the same debate from the other side. Teens Facebook and blog their view of their parent's failings, things they have overheard, photos of their bedside tables....tons of stuff. We all "own" our lives, opinions and even creative interpretations of others, but that doesn't mean that people won't get hurt or mad if we include them in our social media.

It's great we are living this new media, so much to be evolved.

1:20 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time lurker here...

Did you notice someone compared you to Erma Bombeck? I loved ready her stuff growing up, and I bet no one said she was exploiting her family.

1:31 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

It took me a while to really get to the bottom of why this bugged me so much.

Aside from people calling you ridiculous, cruel names and pulling judgments on you and your child out of their asses (and oh, I am so mad on your behalf and want to smack people), I think what really got to me was the fact that people assume that because you are blogging about being a mommy, instead of blogging about a "paid job" or even about your cat, it is less worthy. Less worthy of attention, of making money, of even being blogged about in the first place.

I wrote a really long post about it over on my blog. Like, really long. Ugh. You might need a coffee. It's at http://www.threeseven.ca

I wonder how many of those people who called you names, especially the mothers, ever found themselves thinking the same thoughts about self doubt or parenthood as you write in your blog?

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) kudos to you for not censoring the other comments. that takes a woman with huge ovaries :)

2) That being said, I'm sure reading those comments really suck. I hope you find comfort in the supportive comments you do read and can just ignore the others. Those people are not brave like you are and choose to hide behind their computer screen.

great post :)


1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a lurker on so many "mom" blogs for almost a year now. I love not feeling alone. My child is 13 and it's hard but mostly, with some perspective (and booze), it's funny. This blog along with others has helped me feel less alone in the daily frustrations (and victories) of motherhood. So f*ck 'em if they can't take a joke.

Someday I hope to have a blog of my very own. I have 'awesome' "I'm 13 and I know everything" stories.

1:47 PM  
Blogger GeekMommy said...

Well honestly.
$40k a month? Obviously I'm not exploiting my daughter correctly - or someone is hogging all the $$!!

Seriously - don't second guess your decision to leave the comments - in years to come you will laugh at how people who know absolutely nothing about you, or your family, or have even bothered to take the time to read your blog believe that the 5 minutes spent reading the G&M article gave them all the insight they needed to judge and condemn you.

Besides, it's a good lesson for your daughter - down the road when you tell her that people will call you names and fling insults at you without having an actual reason to do so - you can point her to them and say "see? Because I wrote about our relationship while you were growing up, and some reporter mentioned it in a semi-negative light, random strangers decided that they needed to say foul things about me..."

We're 'allowed' to talk/write/post about whatever we damn well want to. From body parts to careers to kids to boring TV shows... it's that pesky thing called life. And if someone has a problem with the half-hour to hour a day you spend writing about it - let him/her question the time s/he is spending READING about it and posting nasty comments on the internet.
One is creation - the other? a waste of everyone's time.


1:49 PM  
Blogger Maternal Mirth said...

You are a beautiful mother. You have 100% of my support ... well, because if you didn't I would be a total hypocrite :)

Much love for you and your wonder brood!


1:56 PM  
Blogger Mitzi Green said...

as i have recently posted about from my own experience...people love, just love, to show the world how right they are about shit they know nothing about--particularly when afforded the anonymity of a newspaper website comments forum.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

it would be so easy to be intimidated by the number of comments already collected here, to be intimated by the impressiveness of your use of language to describe everything you did in this post, to be intimidated by the ideas you've put forth within the piece.

but i won't let that stop me from telling you that i think you're awful courageous and articulate and that you've every right to say and do just what you've done.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this out, you will get a chuckle


4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post and your site. I definately will be coming back more often. This was my first time here and I really do agree with what you said!

4:32 PM  
Blogger Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Most folks have covered all the bases here. However, I do want to chime in with the "what are these kids doing while their mommies waste time blogging?" response. I HATE that comment - my blogging is like any other hobby. In short, I fit it in when I can find the time.

When I became a mother, so many of my other hobbies went by the wayside because my free time went downhill, but blogging has survived because of the very fact that it is so kid-friendly. I can easily snap the laptop shut when I need to turn my attention elsewhere. Too many of my other hobbies are not so easy to put down in a pinch like that - which is precisely why I do not get to knit complicated projects, make jewelry or do raku pottery any longer.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Canuckedup mama said...

I read often but comment so little I feel like I need to say "delurking".

I just wanted to to say thank you for sharing your blog with the world - reading your/ Wonderbaby's stories made it easier for me to cope with my tough days as a mother. Thank you for being courageous enough to share them, especially in the face of such unwarranted criticism.

Far from exploiting her, I think your blog is an amazing record of WB's life through your eyes - a gift that I'm not able to provide my daughter.

Excellent post, excellent blog.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post & comments here, Catherine. The article commenters can suck it.

I suspect there will be many things that my son will resent when he grows up. I suspect there might be a thing or two I've blogged about that he might not like or disagree with. I also suspect that when he has a child of his own, he'll look at him or her and suddenly know that everything I did or said or wrote was done in the most profound love. I suspect your little ones will know the same, if not sooner, then later.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

I just found out about this and read the article and comments. I wrote my own little post about anonymous commenting. It reminds me of road rage... people feel anonymous in their cars, and therefore justified in attacking others. Not unlike using an anonymous commenting forum to attack a writer.

Anyway, I enjoy your blog and I think anyone who accuses you of the things those commenters did, obviously never read anything you posted.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Aw hell. What can I say (what am I, the nth comment?) that hasn't already been said?

Just this:

Rock on, Catherine. I read you because you're a blindingly smart writer and turn a good phrase, and you make me think.

Exploitation? Pah.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

There are allot of people that would love to be in your shoes! Me for one! :o)
You are an excellant writer and the rest of the morons can just go screw themselves!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

nothing to add that hasn't been said except that i love how you will always stand up for us and our rights. our voice, out loud.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Like Jen, not much I can add, other than this.

The timing of this post is perfect for me, so for that, I thank you.

I think you are creating an incredible legacy and your children, will value it in all its complexity.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Lotus (Sarcastic Mom) said...

You rocked it. This was fabulous.

The last thread you were dealing with in wrapping up the whole post, about lifting the veil is so right on. While I was pregnant and learning all about what that meant, I became obsessed with how much the general population doesn't know about pregnancy and reproduction. Then, after Braden was born, it just continued, but it was about being a parent. I thought, "Why don't people know about this stuff? Why don't they talk about it? Why is it all such a big secret?"

Thank God for Mom and Dad blogs. Maybe the next generation will be more enlightened.

You know, if they can live through being pimped out by exploitative zombies, and all.


10:44 PM  
Blogger Lotus (Sarcastic Mom) said...

Oh, and incidentally, you may be interested in this post I wrote back on April 7th:


10:51 PM  
Blogger Rocks In My Dryer said...

Chin up, Catherine. You're doing good work.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

i just recently became a blogger while on maternity leave. and because the most important part of my life was now motherhood, i became a mom-blogger. i've been very honest about my struggles with being a new mom and post-partum depression. why hide the good, bad and the ugly about mommyhood? i appreciate blogs like these because it's place where moms can come and know that they are not alone in the way think/feel/behave. thank you for you vulnerability. some may not understand it and criticize it, but it means alot to people like me.

11:33 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

When I worked at the newspaper, we had a "club" of regular commenters. Many of them were total losers who had apparently nothing else to do. They would comment all day and night and go back and forth with each other. I have to think that those are the type of people who commented on the article about you.

12:49 AM  
Blogger jdg said...

no way I can read all these comments.

"When it came to trying to decide which theories of child-rearing were highly beneficial and which were absolutely ruinous to the future of your child — a subject of considerable discussion among some parents we knew — we agreed on a simple notion: your children are either the center of your life or they’re not, and the rest is commentary." ---calvin trillin

my wife happens to know one of trillin's daughters, a colleague. she's a successful attorney and a mother of her own now. she seems no worse for wear having been "exploited" in her father's literary endeavors all those years, or for having been the center of her parents' universe.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't have any kids, but i've often wondered what's up with all the hate toward mommy-bloggers...you know, the people who are all: OMG, YOU ARE EXPLOITING YOUR CHILD.

i just don't know how you would ever draw that line.
you gave birth to a whole new person, i get that. but, is that not the biggest thing that ever happened to you? do you not deserve the chance to speak about the joys and trials that it brings you?

of course you do.

and i'm glad that you continue to do it.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

You go girl. Down with da haters!!

9:47 AM  
Blogger ConverseMomma said...

This just saved me. You will never know how much. Thanks!

10:15 AM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

I'm with mamtulip.

I my mom told me that she had been keeping a blog about me filled with even one tenth of the love and respect evident here, I'd be over the moon.

Of course, my other answer to the haters is "I'm just getting my money's worth before my kids start blogging about me and pulling away my readers." Because my 9yo has already started blogging, and guess who is a topic of interest?

That's right: I, Mommyblogger.

The gloves are off in our house, let me tell you. ;-)

12:05 PM  
Blogger Miss Merry Sunshine said...

150+ comments..whoa!

Call me the same pimp! I was thrilled to include ads on my blog and don't care who knows it! I had my blog for 1.5 years and it's like therapy. I do try to keep certain things off but, not a whole lot. My friends informed me I'm not allowed to use their names anymore (wusses). Keep doing your thing, I love reading your stories and WB's too.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Heck, us vile, zombified (is that even a word?)pimps gotta stick together. Even worse? I do it for FREE.

But, I think my kids will be happy I chose to be a mommy blogger vs a contestant on a reality show or a pageant show mom or even just some miserable wretch who complains about how other people raise their kids.

1:52 PM  
Blogger GoMommy said...

I think you're exceptionally talented and I love reading your blog. Your honest take on all things "mommy" is so refreshing. Mom blogs are awesome (I may be biased) if only for the simple reason that I can relate to other mothers, other women, who are going or have gone through the same things I have. It unites us. To hell with the haters-
Play on playah-

2:56 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

I like and can relate to the quote, even without the disclaimer. I have been blogging for only a few months and heartily agree that it makes me feel connected, it's release, and yes, part of what I need connection to is other moms and release from, at times, my feelings about, anxiety about, and sheer insanity of living with, son!

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comes up at our house a lot (I let my husband read Dooce's recent comments about the way Jon feels when she announces she's published, and he wonders whether he should shoot himself NOW or go read it, and he could relate.)

Oddly enough, though, my husband doesn't care nearly as much about the things I write for print publications. In his case, and I suspect in many other's, it's the thought of the INTERNET that's scary.

I find that amusing, as yesterday's post is quickly replaced by today's, but the print article sits by the dryer at the beauty salon forever.

Anyway, I think a lot of it is people freaking about a "new" medium.

I loved your response, and your decision to leave the hatery comments up. That's the way I go, too.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey honey,

So I'm late to this as usual. Had my head up my arse with my other woes...so nervous that I can barely sit still to read let alone articulate intelligent thought.

I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you (and your beautiful husband's defence of you...go Mr. Bad!)

I just want to know, since you obviously make stacks of hundred dollar bills at Wonderbaby's exploitation and expense, that I had to pay for a certain leather purse when you obviously had enough cash to cough up for it???


I miss you.

And your boobs.


2:06 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I gave DMD a *standing ovation* and you get one too. Makes my stomach turn thinking that 'people' think mommy bloggers are crazy... well, if that's true then send me a funny white jacket too 'cause I'm not giving it up.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Oh come on. Who name-drops Rousseau in a parenting blog? You'll never be taken seriously as an inane, zombified, neglectful child-abusing pseudo-parent if you insist on reading and thinking about what you read.

I never feel guilty about the writing I'm doing. I write what I know, and what I'm thinking about, and forming words on a screen isn't easy, and it hurts to make it public, and there is no reward for me beyond personal achievment and developing a craft. I don't piss on parents who go to work away from home for 8 hours, or those who, what?, knit or something during nap time. I write during nap time. Sometimes I also write while my daughter is awake, but it's because she provokes me and I have to write it down before the provocation is gone. I don't also stab her with a fork while I'm writing.

If, at the end of the day, I haven't stabbed her with a fork, I'm doing a pretty good job. And I think I'm allowed my downtown, fulfilling, satisfying, outlets and hobbies. Thankyouverymuch.

Especially if other people are allowed their "not staring at the kid right at this moment" activities.

3:32 AM  
Blogger momto4kidsny said...

Hi! I found you via Table for Five and had to come check you out! Don't let those haters get you down! Keep doing what you are doing! They are only pissy because they don't understand the whole thing that comes with having a blog! Having a blog has been what has kept my sanity with being a stay at home mom for almost 10 yrs!! Until they have walked in our shoes...they will never understand!
I can only wish that my 2 yr old talked as well as your daughter does! He has an eval coming up to see if he may need speech therapy as he only has 3 words to say!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Tere said...

Great post, HBM.

It's funny, because I look at my (non-money-making, written-purely-for-the-release-of-it) blog as being about ME - my challenges, my joys, my bullshit, with my son as just a part (an important, beautiful part, but part nonetheless) of what I and my life are.

It's hard to take the comments and journalistic "insight" of people who don't actually read a particular blog seriously. These are life stories being shared, and it's impossible to be so simplistic about it.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Dude! Love the husband's comment on the G&M site.

He just went up like 187 notches.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Heike said...

The internet is a blessing and a hell hole at the same time. It has always been an outlet for those who would never voice their nastiness in person. They are cowards.

I have learned not to pay them mind. Over the years of blogging and listening to the cowards judge me, I have decided not to give them much energy.

I love the picture, and your blog. Will be back soon to read more.

12:04 AM  
Blogger ~**Dawn**~ said...

Ah yes, comment #163, if your'e even reading them at this point. ;-) What I find most ironic is that these same people, if they are not parents, are speaking out of turn with as much authority as I would have speaking on nuclear physics, and if they *are* parents, then I would like to know who is watching *their* children while they read this article and type such comments, no to mention what kind of example are they setting for those children by spewing such hateful, negative commentary, designed only to cut another person down? If we didn't write about that which we know, what value would there be to writing at all? I applaud your resolve to not allow these people to take away something that brings you joy.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

**Dawn** - I read every single comment. Every single one. And I thank you for yours :)

2:46 PM  
Blogger ~**Dawn**~ said...

The fact that you will read 163 comments is, in & of itself, amazing. Never mind the replying. For the record, I didn't mean it as an insult, but rather that if I opened up my email to find 100+ messages in my inbox, I think I would hide. =)

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't say anything that the people above me haven't already said more eloquently than I could. But I wanted to chime in my support.

I was particularly moved by the part in your post about the veil of silence us mothers are supposed to obey. Pish, I say. It's my life, my take on parenthood, and if I manage to make a few extra bucks doing it (right now I don't, but that's not to say in the future I won't) who's to say I'm not putting it toward my kids' education or putting clothes on their backs? Just because my audience happens to be bigger than just my parents and in-laws and grandparents doesn't mean that what I have to say is exploitation.

And clearly, those in the comments of the actual article seem to be completely out of the loop as to how parenting works. I love the opinions about a subject which the clearly know nothing.

Solidarity, sistah. Don't stop because someone tells you to. They're just too weak to handle it.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'd take the words written by someone named Tralee with a grain of salt.


8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! If we, as parents, could not say, do or have anything that could even be considered embarassing for our children then we would have to burn our camcorder tapes and DVD's, burn our baby books, shred all the family get together photos and never talk to anyone about our families ever again. That would be one boring world. Isn't part of the fun of being a parent embarassing your children at some point? Geez, I am 32 years old and my parents still get a kick out of it!!
Great blog!

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post as always. I also enjoyed the article. Kudos to you for not removing the comments. And the photo is so lovely.

Here's a thought: if Wonderbaby is annoyed you recorded so much of her life in a blog, she will have tons of other kids to empathize with her! They can start a club.

Hang in there. Stay strong. Getting excited about Baby #2.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I wasn't going to comment because I pretty much am just violently nodding my head in agreement with you and the other commenters, but then I saw you say you read every one...so...

Totally loving you taking this stand for the rest of us, and feel like I've been really missing out on your writing up until the J&J event when I first started reading you. Kinda grew a bit of a comedy crush on you after seeing the video of you that Tracey showed of you discussing your "nether home". Apparently I have a thing for funny zombie pimps. Who knew?

2:19 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

I'm quite late to the party here but I guess I was too busy exploiting my poor kids... sheesh- I don't get these people, but I do get you.


9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've only just now entered the world of mommy blogging. Who knew there were so many haters? I find it hard to believe that these people who say such horrible things never talk about their kids. I mean, that is all this is, right? We talk about our children and someone happens to be amused enough that we get paid for it. Nuff said.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

The feminist in me is wondering where they';ve strung up Dave Barry and Bill Cosby for mining their family life for humorist material. Then my little child of the 70's self wonders who is burning Erma Bombeck in effigy for destroying her children's lives.


12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, my child did speak in complete sentences and did have perfect diction by two years of age. In fact, he ordered food in a restaurant at 14-1/2 months of age. He used a complete sentence. He asked questions like, "Do you like the light?" at 19 months of age.

I don't know what that says about me, or his father.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. I AM from Calgary, and our chld was born in a northern oil patch city. My child attends a public school, and neither my husband nor I are Rhodes scholars.

The boy loves to talk.

5:48 PM  

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