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Mothering Meltdowns, Revisited

Apr01

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Last week I wrote about what it means to write about our lives, the lives of our children in a public forum. The post got lots of comments and I got lots of emails. And so I wanted to clarify a couple things.

Anyone who has read my personal blog knows I don’t shun away from writing about difficult topics. I wrote about my debilitating postpartum depression as I was going through it. I write about how I struggle to parent a child with ADHD. I have written about mouthy teenagers and tantruming toddlers, sleep deprivation, potty training, and most recently about getting divorced.

I try always, however, to write about my own feelings. To tell my story. To tread lightly when the threads of my story are intertwined with those of other people. So while I might write about my ADHD child, I am not compromising his privacy by sharing every minute detail of his personal struggle. Rather I try to frame it from my perspective and write about my struggle. I approach writing the same way I do my life, laughter will get you through. And if it doesn’t, well try vodka.

Have there been posts I shouldn’t have written? Things I regret sharing online? Maybe, though right now I can’t think of any.

Writing is cathartic. I absolutely agree with that. I think there is a way to write about life and those times you feel absolutely overwhelmed and defeated without bringing your children down there with you. I think– I hope– that one day when my kids read everything that I have written on my blog it will give them a better understanding of who I was in addition to being their mother. To give them another perspective of the story of their lives. To remind them of things that they had long forgotten, trivialities that would have been otherwise lost. 

I want them to read my blog and think, “Boy, sometimes we were little pains in the ass, but boy our mother loved us and we laughed a lot.”  I don’t want them to ever think, “Boy, sometimes we were little pains in the ass, our poor sad mother was so burdened with us.”  See the difference?  Nothing is being sugar coated, it is just the way it is presented that makes the difference.

One blogger whom I admire greatly for the way she writes about her children and family is Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda. She writes about her children in as way that is always respectful and kind, and yet it is honest. Honesty doesn’t have to be brutal. Another one is Kim, from Miss Zoot, who I like to think of as EveryMom. She writes honestly about what she feels are her own shortcomings, yet when I read her words I see only the delight and love she has for each of her children.

I don’t think doing this makes the Internet a “whitewash of BS” as a commenter in the previous post suggested. I am not saying everyone should write one of those beautiful to look at “lifestyle” blogs where the homes look like they are out of a magazine and the children always are impeccably dressed (in matching outfits, naturally) with perfectly coiffed hair. The sort of blogs where you look at them and wonder, Where is the dog hair? Where are the toys? And why don’t their children have stains on the front of their shirts?  I don’t even have a dog and I wonder that!

There is a place for everything on the Internet.  

I happen to think that people need to chose their words carefully. To think about the consequences of those words. To think beyond their own personal validation. Are you willing to risk relationships with the words you chose to write? What matters more to you? And what if those relationships are with your children? 

Those are the things I think some bloggers are forgetting.

That was why I issued the challenge.

About the author

Chris Jordan

http://notesfromthetrenches.com
Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.

Yes, they are all hers.

No she's not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.

Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That's why her youngest is almost 6.

Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.


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5 Responses to “Mothering Meltdowns, Revisited”

  1. KateMac Apr 01 at 7:50 pm Reply Reply

    For what it’s worth, I took your post (and the challenge) in the spirit it was intended. I thought it was pretty clear what you meant, and why you were saying it. And I agree with your point as well.

  2. Jill Apr 01 at 10:52 pm Reply Reply

    Ditto to what KateMac said above. And hear hear!! I agree with you 100%.

  3. Leslie Apr 03 at 10:11 am Reply Reply

    Agreed!  Your initial post was timely, necessary, and appropriate.  My eleven month old hasn’t given me a whole lot of fuel for potentially damaging blog posts just yet, but I sure hope that when he does I can approach my writing with the same respect, humor, and love.  

  4. Kat Apr 04 at 11:46 am Reply Reply

    The link to Woulda Coulda shoulda leads to the wrong site. It should be http://wouldashoulda.com/.

    *************
    Isabel: so embarrassing. Sorry, Mir! Link fixed. Thank you, Kat.

  5. Anna Apr 07 at 12:20 pm Reply Reply

    When I first started writing, I struggled about what to share and in what light to paint my children and my actions as their Mother. I felt it awful to gloss over the hard days and spend all my time waxing poetic about the good days.

    In the end, I decided that I only needed to share stories that I feel could help my own daughters as they one day went through the journey of Motherhood. While they show our family in an imperfect light, they certainly won’t ever be more embarrassing than a bad school picture.

    Here’s one that I struggled whether to share on-line, but ultimately chose to write: Unconditional Love

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