The Perils of Mommy Blogging

And so it has begun.

I love sharing my life and opinions with you, but we’ve entered a new realm of the blogging world and I confess I’m having a hard time coping with the adjustment. Previously the criticisms felt easier to write off, because they were often a matter of “well that’s your opinion and this is mine, let’s agree to disagree.” Now though, the attacks are starting to revolve around my ability to properly care for my son, most certainly my second favorite person in the entire world (TH is numero uno of course).

I desperately want to be a good mother and give him the best start in life (and I know that this post and the sentence this aside is embedded in will likely prompt many to write and let me know they think I am a good mom — thanks in advance for that!)  but man, I can already tell I’m going to be making a lot of mistakes. And those mistakes are sometimes going to get posted on the blog. And unless you’ve personally make that mistake yourself, or one similar to it, it’s going to be easy for you to think to yourself If I were in her shoes I would do it so much better.

But could you? Let me tell you, this parenting thing is hard my friends. 8 weeks in and I’m just now celebrating a nighttime ritual where if I’m lucky I go to bed around 11, wake up at 2 for 30 minutes, wake up again at 5 for 30 minutes, and wake up again at 7:30 for the day. And this sleep schedule feels like a luxury! My husband is sleep deprived as well, which means more petty arguments between the two of us. I rarely can do one thing at a time for more than 2 hours. It can take 45 minutes to get everything packed up, him dressed, fed, and changed, and in the car seat so we can go somewhere (and that didn’t even count the time getting me ready). My life revolves around him, in wonderful ways of course, but he also leaves me feeling at times like screaming GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK.

And now I kind of want to yell that at some of you. And I might do it sometimes. Because I was struggling before to remain calm and not get snarky with the commenters who feel they can cancel out all tactlessness by starting out their comment with phrases like Not to be rude or anything but, (Here’s a hint: If you start out your comment with that phrase, it’s probably a rude one and you should just go along on your merry little way. Rarely do constructive additions to a dialog start with such phrase.) and now I’m feeling myself begin to overanalyze and question and wonder how much of my life I want to share and cheeky/brusque Jenna hops up on my shoulder and whispers things in my ear that I type out and then regret after the reply button is pressed. Maybe it would be easier for all of us if I carefully worded my posts and photos to make sure my life looked sparkly and happy and easy, and that I looked like A+ Super Mom on steroids, then there wouldn’t be anything for you to criticize. It is possible, you know, to present yourself that way if you really want to.

I don’t want to do that though. I like to be me, and what you see on That Wife is 100% what you would get if you met me in person (except if you met me in person I would probably get dressed, something I don’t always do when writing my posts… that’s pretty much the only difference though). As I attempt to adjust to this new stage in life, you’re often going to see a snarky defensive side come out, at least in the beginning. I see the comment trolling for replies and I tell myself to leave it alone, that they don’t deserve the attention, but sometimes my ego wins out and I have to engage in a stand-off with the often-anonymous troller. Sometimes I’ll be mistaken and think an innocent commenter is a rude one, because it’s so easy to misread tone in print. I apologize if this happens to you and I hope you will give me the benefit of the doubt and come back again. Give me another try, and hopefully you’ll see some improvement over time.

It’s not going to be easy for me to adjust to this thing called Mommy Blogging though, and I hope you’ll have patience with me as I wriggle and squirm my way into this new capacity. If you stick around, you’re going to see my son go from baby to boy, and maybe, if I write that long, to man! (That’s weird to think about though.) Often, we’re going to have to agree to disagree (don’t we often do that anyway though?). And please, always keep in mind that I love my little screaming mass of terror and joy and am working to figure out what’s best for him. As my first, he’s a little guinea pig to my parenting undertakings, and it’s going to get messy at times. But hopefully he knows that is what he signed up for.

82 thoughts on “The Perils of Mommy Blogging

  1. Atta Girl Jenna! I love reading your blog and hearing about your journey as a woman, bride, wife and now mom! Even if I may disagree with you at times, I find it fascinating to share in your journey through your blog and recognize that you (or anyone else) probably wouldn’t agree with all of my choices either! Don’t change a thing, and you have every right to be defensive at times.

  2. I don’t have kids, so obviously I don’t speak from experience, but as someone who eventually wants kids it’s great reading about a ‘real’ experience parenting, mistakes and triumphs and frustrations and all–that’s exactly how I’d want to chat with my friends who were new moms too. Keep it up! 🙂

  3. The interesting thing is that I’m sure if you spent oodles of time polishing up each blog post to make it look like you were super woman in heels, you would still be attacked for 1. being fake and 2. spending too much time blogging…maybe it is just me, but it seems like no matter what you do, there will always be people out there who don’t see how wonderful you are and how hard you try. You are doing the best you can and no matter what any one says, that is a lot! Know that for any mean or judgmental comment you get, that there are WAY more people out there who think the opposite! Just keep doing what you’ve been doing and things will work out fine 🙂 You are great and are doing a wonderful job juggling all the things you have going on in your life! Keep up the good work!

  4. I’m obviously late to the party, but, really appreciate this post. I appreciate that you aren’t afraid to show the truth of being a wife/mom/photographer/friend/daughter, etc, etc. I don’t have children yet, but, I’m sure I’ll get comments from my mommy friends because I won’t do things like they do, and that will totally suck but, we’re all different, we gotta do what’s best for each of us, not anyone else. And you do just that!

  5. People will critcize you no matter what you do or decide! There are two schools of thought on almost everything. Two (or more!) opinions to hear on almost every subject of child raising.

    I think you will navigate this all just fine. Like the rest of us, you’ll just grow more immune to the old people comments, the annoying stares, or the know-it-all feedback on your blog. It’ll bother you once in a while, but by and large, we all learn to eventually just block out the opinions except for those we truly do value.

    (you know…like my opinion!;) HA!

  6. I think that no matter what you do, someone out there is going to have a snarky comment to make. And if that’s what they need to feel better about themselves then that is pretty sad. You are honest and open and I might not agree with everything you say, I appreciate hearing your point of view. We come from such different places and I enjoy hearing your thoughts on things because it reminds me that everyone is different and we need to accept that. Keep doing what you do and writing what you want. I’ll be on Team Jenna any ole day!

  7. Thank you! Between you and Mandy (over on OMG) I get my “this is how it is with mommyhood” fix every day. Like everyone here, we’re not all set up to agree on anything and with a good blog (with an awesome following) like yours, I hope you have a good group of mostly respectful people posting comments. I say mostly, b/c we all know that not everyone got their sensitivity chip installed. Keep posting and I’ll keep reading.

  8. I read this blog and Caitlin’s (actually I found That Wife when Caitline said “congrats” on hers!) anyway..and I think both of you do such a good job of keeping it real, which is much makes for great reading! Good job to both of you!

  9. I don’t follow this. There are dissenting opinions, then there are people who say awful rude things in a public forum. There is a difference.

    People have told jenna things like “they hope her baby dies” … yeah. uh… HOW is that appropriate for an open dialogue. If I came to you and said ” I hope your baby dies” does that promote open discourse? No.

    So, yes, there are public forums, but for pete’s sake can’t individuals say things in a constructive or polite way? Additionally, we are not all special snowflakes, so if you have something to say that isn’t supportive of an open dialogue then it probably doesn’t need to be said.

    Shouldn’t we as individuals try to encourage open, honest, friendly discourse? Even if we disagree with one another? Or is the best option to say, okay cool, you put your self out there, so people should poop all over you.

    I’ll be hanging out with the first group… in case anyone care to join me.

    (a re-post of my previous comment)

    Sophia Reply:

    AH, Christiana, I meant to tell you before that I love that you use the term “special snowflake”. I use it as well, and it is spot on terminology 🙂

  10. So “public forum” gives everyone a green card to be nasty?

    Last time I checked, no one felt it was socially acceptable to walk up to my face in a public place and say mean things.

    Unless we are still in high school?

    The “forum” of the internet should be treated no differently than a face-to-face situation. People who say or do mean things online because of the anonymity are pathetic cowards. Same goes for those who gossip behind people’s back.

    To those people, I just want to quote, “You are a mean girl and you are in HIGH school.”

    Sara Lee Reply:

    I repeat, this is a public forum. No, people shouldn’t feel entitled to make rude remarks but that is what happens as we become more and more isolated and only connect through electronic mediums. You’re right, people would be much less likely to be rude in person – which is why people who don’t wish to receive rude comments usually don’t post a lot of personal details in an open forum.

    Sophia Reply:

    I think one can be realistic about the fact that they are going to get negative comments, and can admit that the good of blogging outweighs the bad, and STILL be able to say that the negative comments suck. We all know Jenna loves to blog, and we all know she expects a certain amount of pushback on her posts. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t piss her off/frustrate her, and, in keeping with her openness, it doesn’t surprise me that she chooses to share that it pisses her off/frustrate her 🙂

    I guess, to me, I didn’t read that Jenna was saying that everyone had to be nice and agree with her and give her e-flowers and sparkle kitten heart emoticons on every post, I read that she was feeling that, in the area of motherhood, the expected percentage of negative comments were getting her down. It felt more like an explanation to long-time readers that hey, if I seem a lil’ off in my replies, it’s because my tolerance level for the negative side of blogging is worn a little thin at the moment.

  11. Amen sister. Its why my blog is private. But somebody is always going to have an opinion about basically whatever. Its human nature to want to prove something, I guess. Just keep being you, and keep being the mom you want to be. it seems like you are doing a pretty great job already.

  12. So true about motherhood bringing out the cattiness! I don’t even have kids yet, but I can already see it happening with my circle of friends…

    Melissa Reply:

    I wonder if it has to do with women being told mothering is natural and therefore, they feel they must be perfect at it. Any allusion to their own imperfections is therefore a threat and must be attacked.

    Since I became a mom, everything I’ve done has been judged good and bad. I just don’t care anymore if someone thinks I am a bad mom. They don’t live my life 24/7 so they can’t decide what works for me… just like I can’t judge their lives.

  13. I’m in your boat Genavee! I admit I commented on the buzz post… and I didn’t say “wow! so cute! happy you did that!”

    I should remind myself of that old adage “nothing nice to say? don’t say anything at all”

    Jenna- I think you are awesome. You completely opened my mind to the possibility of home birth and definitely convinced me that I want to at least try to have an unmediated one. You are real and we all appreciate that.

  14. Yes, this parenting stuff is a roller coaster. The people who have all the answers are the ones who have never tried it. But hey, now you know why the whole “climbing the mountain child birth analogy” came across so negatively. Just do your best!

  15. I know this isn’t for everyone, but you can always copy other bloggers such as Dooce and turn the comments off. This is your blog, and it is a perfectly legitimate way to cope when there is too much negativity or criticism. It’s wonderful to have debates and conversations online, but there are also times when it’s okay to post, and leave it at that. I love reading all the comments, but there are times when I would be 100% supportive if they were disabled. Your blog, your choice!

  16. I keep it real on my bloggity blog too.

    I think that’s what has made THIS post resonate with me more than any other thing I have ever read from you, Jenna. It is honest and humble and pure and I truly think that is what people are seeking that they may not feel they have gotten from you before.

  17. Jenna, as a soon-to-be mom, I just wanted to say that I appreciate your candor on your blog. I really hope that the nasty comments you’ve gotten don’t ultimately cause you to stop being so honest. It’s totally crazy to me that people feel entitled to lob criticisms at parents who are clearly making well-informed choices for their children. There are plenty of problems in the world, but parents who are making thoughtful (if sleep-deprived!) decisions on how to raise their children are not one of them.

  18. I am so glad you aren’t going to try to make yourself look sparkly and happy and perfect all the time because that is just not real life and I have been reading your blog everyday since I found it because you are so real. Please don’t change! Love you just the way you are and that’s just the way it should be.

    I work with children and I see what mothers do to each other, to impress and tear each other apart and I think it is really sad especially since the children get first hand experience in how to be dishonest and cruel. shame shame!

    Keep your chin up and blog on!

  19. Also, If you love your child you are not a bad parent. If you love your child that is the most important thing and you are doing the best you can and I am sure that to little T1 that is all that will ever matter anyway, even if he is the guinea pig 🙂

  20. Hi Jenna,

    As a mom to be I a can only imagine how hard it is to take care of a newborn. Anyone who says it is easy is lying or hasn’t done it yet. Keep giving us you sassy opinions and telling it straight. It is your honesty that makes your blog and gives it a personality, your personality.

  21. You can’t please everyone, and there’s no right or wrong way to raise your children. I think people need to remember that – and stick around to support you, not harass you.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not a mum – but I enjoy reading your experiences because you write in a very ‘real’ way, and I like to get different ideas of motherhood while I’m not in a position to experience it for myself. 🙂

  22. No one does mothering perfectly. NO ONE. If there were a way to be perfect at it, we would be living in a very different world!

    You care and that is the most important thing. You are carefully considering all the choices related to your son and he is so lucky to have you.

  23. i read your blog a lot but have not commented. i am really, really sorry to hear that people are making judgmental comments about your parenting style. help, advice and support are one thing, and i know people are allowed to voice their opinions on a public blog, but i do very much wish that people would think very carefully about how they voice their opinions, and whether to voice them at all considering that there is a real person writing this blog, and raising a child is fraught with enough psychological and emotional difficulties as it is. and i know it’s so much easier said than done to “ignore the haters”, because really you’re doing this for the first time, and what mom ever really knows what they’re doing, and what mom wouldn’t take any kind of criticism personally? anyway, enough rant–it’s clear that you love your child and that you’re smart and responsible, there are plenty of us out here who trust you completely to raise your child well.

  24. I’m just going to have to tell you what my aunt told me not so long ago, and I’m translating it and changing the girl to boy, but that’s it. It touched me beyond words and it’s something I want to remember when I have children too:
    “When your turn comes, you won’t be a perfect mother (thank God!) and you son/daughter will ask him/herself the same deep questions regarding the meaning of life; what matters is that he/she continues to turn to you in moments of crisis and then, you’ll be able to say: I didn’t mess it all up!”
    It’s one of the best things regarding parenting that I was ever told, along with my grandmother’s “You know us women, we tend to become 100% mothers when children come in, but we need to remember to be lovers too.” But that’s more regarding relationships than parenting.

  25. Jenna, you seem like a great mom. And people just need to get over “Haircutgate.” It’s hair! Somebody else’s child’s hair! Gimme a break! Don’t take it personally–these people seriously need to get a life!

    ps- And I personally think T1 will thank you someday when his (professional quality–lucky him!) baby pics are mullet-free!!

  26. I know exactly where you are coming from and I’m sorry you are having to go through it. Although, for me it’s a much much smaller scale and not about my parenting (b/c that blog is private, but if it weren’t – I’m sure I’d get that, too).
    I think you are doing wonderful with what you have been given. It sounds like T1 is really Colicy and it’s so incredibly hard to stay sane with a constantly screaming baby. Naomi went through a brief stage of that and I cried almost on a daily basis. I commend you for going on with your life.
    It get’s so much easier as they get older. Eating takes less time, you will begin to get more sleep, they develop a schedule and regular naps and life is even better. You are amazing, though, you get out a few times a week and I just stayed home because it was easier. Oh wait.. and 10 degrees outside. 🙂

    I hope it lets up for you and people go on their merry way (love that phrase).

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