Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Haters Gunna Hate; Potatoes Gunna Po-Tate

Last week while talking with my friend Christina, she mentioned how cool it was I was going to be on NPR, but also how brave I was.


Being brave was something I hadn't considered before. But Christina knew, and I'm glad she said it to me, because as happy as I am with the way my piece turned out, there were people a little...less happy...with it. And I needed to consider that it may not please everyone.

And for a people-pleaser like myself, that's tough to deal with.

My piece ran tonight, with a link to this blog on the written story, and a comment section. I only read a few comments before I was in tears. As tough as I try to pretend I am, I'm really not. I'm not thick-skinned by any stretch of the imagination, and strangers were passing judgement on my life after hearing an 8 minute interview.

I wanted to get in the mix, but I know enough about myself that it wouldn't be good for me personally. I stopped reading the comments, but what I saw can never be unseen. Like the lady who said because I was married to a lawyer, I obviously can't relate to having to stretch a dollar and go without. If she only knew about my life before NPR, when I was working full-time, Disgruntled Husband was working full-time, and we barely had enough to pay the sitter so we could continue to work, to pay the sitter. Or the guy that started his comment out by saying something to the effect of, "How can she claim she's so close with her kids..."

Here's the thing, folks. I'm a real person. I'm real with feelings and a life and family, I'm real just like all of you. But I let you in my kitchen tonight. I flew my freak flag (JDub hates it when I use that term) for everyone to see. Aside from a few editing things, that's pretty much what my life is like, and if you don't agree with how I live it, then don't live with me.

And as my friend Michele (and then later Em) pointed out, "Haters...you are famous enough to have haters. Awesome." It was just what I needed to put it all in perspective.

I put it out there. I was happy with the result. That's going to be what I get out of the experience. And given the opportunity, I would gladly do it again. My kids are good kids; I'm a good mom, and as they get older, there will be more time for dinner table conversations and more leisurely dining experiences. But I know what I can expect out of them at this point in their lives, and I'm not going to feel badly about that.

Back to your regularly-scheduled programming.


  1. Chin up, Jess!!
    - Michele

  2. My 8 year old requested that we sit in our van and listen to your piece. If you can entertain a third grader with a radio piece, you HAVE to be doing something right. Hang in there - you did sound like a good mom.

  3. Similar thing happened to me (on a much smaller scale) when a local moms' blog ran a post I wrote about why we don't do the Elf on the Shelf. People were just mean - told me I was robbing my children of a magical childhood and assumed that I must have had a horrible childhood. It is hard to swallow, but at the end of the day I know I am doing the right thing for MY family and that is what matters most!

  4. I'm the person that made the comment about your husband being an attorney and not having to worry about money--and I'm sorry that it hurt your feelings; that was certainly not my intent. I was trying to say, unsuccessfully apparently, that for me, as a single mom that works full-time and juggles all the parenting responsibilities that normally two people would be doing (a mom AND dad), that I couldn't relate to your dilemma. I make dinner nearly every night and on nights we have practices, we eat a bit later but still together. Then again, my boys are 8 & 11--so they're easier to manage. Since my divorce 6 years ago, my income has plummeted, which is typical of the mom-role in divorces. The man's income increases and hers decreases. At any rate, I truly did not mean to hurt your feelings and it was brave of you to share your story. I wish you & your family the best.

  5. Hi Lesli,

    I hope you check back and see this. Thank you for commenting; many people would not have. I think what hit me so hard about your comment was knowing personally what this family has been through, and wrongfully using your comment as a representative of what other people are thinking about me. Ironic, eh?

    For many years, my husband worked for a man that paid him less than what he made waiting tables, and provided no health insurance. DH now has his own business, and things are going well, but we will never be at the level of income you may think. As for my son having an iPod touch, I said in the interview it was a gift. His godfather adores him and knows how much he loves technology. His godfather (a very generous man I am proud to call my friend) also knows of the struggles we've had with Hoover and how just plain awful the last school year was for him, so when he bought the iPod for my son, I was shocked, but very touched he wanted to do something so special for him.

    I think the lesson to be learned here is that every parent is doing what he or she feels is best for their own children, and to just assume the best of every parent's intentions. I know I'm learning that today, as I assumed wrongly of what you meant and represented. Waiter, I'll take my crow a la mode.

    Thanks for taking the time to follow up.

    Still Stuck in Wisconsin,

  6. I read some of the comments on the NPR story and for the first time it really struck me how quick people are to blatantly judge somebody else's parenting, from the anonymous safety of their computers, based on only limited information. Knowing the person in the story personally completely changed my perspective!

    Also, tangentially: It's kind of funny how the word "attorney" still conjures images of big paychecks in peoples' minds. Of all the lawyers I know who are my (our) age, 100% of them are still struggling to pay off crushing law-school debt while eeking out a so-so salary.

    And finally, it was really great to hear your laugh in the NPR story. :)

  7. I appreciate the intelligent and nuanced discourse here. I especially appreciate the back and forth about hurt feelings and intent. It's difficult sometimes to effectively establish tone in online writing, and to witness an effort to clarify one's ideas is encouraging. Thanks.