Monday, 30 May 2011

On needing a bullet proof vest or better communication skills

I was bashed pretty good by a few commenters on Yummy Mummy for my post I wouldn’t be a good stay at home mom. I wrote it in hopes of being published specifically on this site for May’s topic – write about being a “bad” mommy. And since I’d been thinking non-stop about going back to work in the next few weeks, I realized that I wasn’t always a hundred per cent proud of my performance as a mother every day. I wrote it in an effort to convince myself that going back to work (which is not an option but a must for me) was for the best especially since I’d been lucky enough to have a year-long maternity leave with each of my sons.

Deaglan driving Grampa's "tractor" (riding lawn mower)
I entered motherhood thinking that I should strive to be a “supermom” but the experience of the last three and a half years woke me up to the truth that it’s more important to be a good mom. I wanted to be honest about how challenging being a stay-at-home mom was for me. That despite my best intentions, there were many times I didn’t get them outside on a snowy day, I fed them food out of a box, and let them watch more TV than I was comfortable with. In response to my post one reader wrote:

I'm all for women staying in the workforce for a myriad of reasons, but this article is sad. It's not that hard to make sure your kids get to play outside 90 minutes a day or to feed them a healthy meal. Sad that she would rather outsource spending time with her kids because she's too lazy to cut up some veggies and put some outdoor clothing on.


I re-read my post to determine what I’d written to warrant such a conclusion. My limited experience in motherhood has taught me one thing that I carry with me every single day. That I have no idea what anyone else is going through and it’s not my place to judge. Before I was a parent I used to let slip (what I’m sure was beyond irritating to whoever was unfortunate enough to be listening, especially if they had small children themselves) gems like:

My children will be vegetable eaters because I will introduce them to veggies right from the beginning. If they don’t know about sugar and fat, how will they know to like it?


My kids will NEVER watch TV period.

I hereby give whoever had to listen to me back then permission to slap me.

Because obviously I'd not yet met my match – namely Deaglan W. McNamara, the KING of refusing to eat it unless it was sweet, salty or fried. I hadn’t thought that TV statement through especially since later I’d have a baby who slept for measly forty minute stretches throughout the livelong day and night which meant that for six months, the only sleep I would be getting would be an hour or two when my husband could relieve me.

Had I known that, I would have reconsidered saying something so slap-worthy.

But now that I am a little more well versed in the joys and demands of parenting, I try to keep my big mouth shut. I am certain that I know nothing about parenting the “right” way. I try only to speak about my experience.

This little heartbreaker turns one tomorrow!

And I listen to the advice my Dad tried (but couldn’t) to post on my Yummy Mummy article: Staying at home may not make you a better mom and going to work may not make you a worse mom. Loving your kids will make you a great mom. Love dad

Thanks Dad. I know you’ve never heard me utter these words to you. But I think you may be right.
Naveen with Aunt Laura (my youngest sister)

This is me pouring my heart out with Shell early. I will be posting twice a week from now on. I hope you will keep coming back! Please, if you have any suggestions (posts too long, too short, too many pictures, not gossipy enough) let me know.


  1. I re-read that article when you published it on Yummy Mummy. And then I read that comment and wanted to jump through my computer screen and slap that other mother.

    The thing that I loved best about that post- and this one- is that you're HONEST. I'm not sure why women- especially mothers- think it's ok to judge other women/ mothers. It starts before the child is even born. What kind of diapers? Breast feeding or formula? Co- sleeping or a sleep schedule? I don't have any kids, and I already have snarky answers to all of that and more. It's annoying and as long as the kids are safe, it's no one else's business.

    Thank you for your transparency, and your awesome-ness :-)

  2. I can't believe how totally ignorantly stupid people can be. To have the audacity to say such a cruel thing is just beyond comprehension. There is not a mother out there who does not feel she could have done "more". The difference between you and them is that you are at least honest enough to talk about it the true realities and feelings that mothers everywhere go through. From the pictures of your children, they are obviously happy children who are well loved and well taken care of by a mother who loves them enough to admit that she might could have done some things differently or wishes she had done more for them. Don't let those idiots get to you. They need to belittle others to make themselves feel better.

  3. I couldn't say it any better than Sara just said it. You are brutally honest in your blog, and shame on those who feel the need to condemn you for that honesty. Not one parent could truthfully say that there is absolutely nothing that they would like to improve upon as a parent. We all have our insecurities as parents and that doesn't go away as the kids get older...the insecurities just change. I understand that blogging opens you up to all comments, good and bad, but her comment seemed to cross the line. Your dad couldn't have summed it up any the end of the day, your boys and your husband know what type of mom you are...and they are proud of you and love you. Kudos to you for your honesty!

  4. I'm so sorry that you received comments like that- people are way too judgemental- it's not staying at home or going to work that makes a good mom- it's just loving our kids. *hugs*

  5. I'm sorry you had that experience. I'll never understand why some people are so comfortable criticizing others. At the end of the day, you are who you are- with a unique set of gifts and challenges- and you're doing what's best for your family. It's hard not to take criticism to heart but you know you're a great mother.

  6. You know, I said a bunch of things too before I became a mom. I'm only 5 months into it, but now I know, most of us are truly doing the best that we can. I get so angry when people think we have to do things their way. No one knows what our lives are truly like and how hard this gig can be.

    P.S. I gave you an award on my blog because I really like your blog--your way with words and your honesty.

  7. When I entered the world of motherhood I assumed we were all one big group of moms in it together. We should be offering support and words of encouragement - NOT tearing people down.

    I give all parents the benefit of the doubt that they are doing their best and make the best choices for their families. I may not agree with certain parenting choices others make but I'm also not in their specific situation. If I were, it is possible I would make the same choices.

    What I am trying to say, is how sad I am that you received with horrible comments. I have had those, too. I guess when you put yourself out there, it can happen.

    Hugs. And I am very proud of you and so glad you do put your words out there.

  8. Your dad is correct, it's loving our kids that is important. I'm so sorry that you had to receive comments like that. I actually read your original post and I remember thinking, "thank God I'm not the only one!".

  9. I've never understood how people get so judgemental about parenting. Sorry you had such harsh comments. You don't deserve them, and you're a wonderful mom.

    I put my PYHO today as well, and I'm expecting a few harsh comments on mine as well.

  10. it is very hard to be a mother....we are all just doing the best we can. it is ok to not be perfect. i remember last summer my kids were in the house for days. it was too hot for my newborn to go out with them. they had to stay in too. sometimes i am too tired to cook...so0 yeah my kids ate cereal for is what it is. no one is perfect!

  11. I hope that you put Miss Judgy Pants' comment where it the trash. Too bad you can't delete it from the site (I know a hacker who might be able to help...kidding!). As you head back to work, please carry with you the support of people like your Dad (his opinion counts, unlike some stranger who sees fit to comment on your life like she knows you).

  12. Just as we all have different personalities, so too do we have different parenting styles, and it's very clear you're a loving mom!

  13. I cringe at the thought of some of the things I said before I had a child. I too give my friends permission to slap me because I totally deserve it!

    You, however, do not deserve judgment! I think you are doing an amazing job juggling your two adorable sons and a job. It isn't easy! I know this firsthand. And we all just do the best we can. Your kids will be okay. Even better than okay! And kudos to you for being such a wonderful mother.

  14. I really enjoyed that post when your originally shared it and I always come back for your honesty.

  15. Bless you...for being so brave and positive about the comments from the "perfect" moms. You have such grace, I would be still licking my wounds. Your Dad is a BRILLIANT man and I believe he WAS right. You are such a thoughtful Mom and I know you contemplate your decisions and still wonder if they were right. In my book, that's "great" Mom stuff if you ask me.

    By the way, that lil' piece of of heaven I photographed was in Petosky, MI. I was so beautiful, I thought I was dreaming. Much love to you my friend.

  16. Why is it that the few ugly-acting people in this world hurt us the most? We can get numerous high-fives, but so often, a few digs hurt more. I hate that.
    PS - I can't invite anyone to slap me for all of those things I used to say (including how I would not allow my children to do so and so in restaurants) because I would be beat in to oblivion! :)

  17. Stopping by from Shell's, and I'm SO glad I did. I think you just gave me my topic for PYHO! ;)

    I can't tell you how many times I've fed my kids food out of a box and we've played inside all day long. It is what it is. Do I think my children are scarred because of those things? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    I didn't read your original post, (but I will), HOWEVER, when I read the comment that was posted, I wanted to go through the computer screen and strangle that person. HOW RUDE!

    In my experience, the people that say things like that are the ones that either don't have kids or their kids are still very young and they haven't reached that stage yet.

    Only YOU know what's right for you and your family. And your dad is ABSOLUTELY right. LOVING your kids, is what makes you a great mom. And don't let ANYONE else, make you think otherwise.


  18. I always said I wanted to be a SAHM until I had kids - then I liked going to work (part time) It helped me keep my sanity and help me to be calmer around them! Great pyho!

  19. Woah Nelly! That comment was harsh!
    I think it's awesome you know what you're capable of, whether you're a SAH-Super mom, or a "good mom". Big difference. No matter if you're home all day or not.

    PS. I love your Dad!

  20. Kim, I love your dad too-he said it better than I could have:)

    As far as that commenter goes-it's easy for her to judge when not in your situation. She doesn't know what is best for you and your kids.

    I admire you so much for writing so honestly about your feelings regarding staying home or going to work-and then putting that writing out there for the world to judge. I am behind your decision 100% my friend:)

  21. All good points - esp. your dad's.
    Everyone has to find their own work/home balance that works for them and their family.

    My SIL makes many slap worthy statements, but I love her and I know she is trying to be helpful!

  22. Eek! What is wrong with people? No mother is perfect- and it takes an extremely strong mother to realize that it's better for her (and her children) if she went back to work instead of stayed home with them. I'm proud of you for making that decision!

    I'm sure you'll miss your beautiful boys, but it will be great for you to get back into your own element and to be somewhere where you are more comfortable.

    Good luck! :)

  23. I have to agree with Sara, your honest is amazing. The thing that we all forget is that we can't judge other people. It's something that I struggle with every day. I'm like you, I can't be a stay at home mom, I don't have what it takes. I love kids and I will love my kids when I have them but I don't want to stay at home. I am a nurse and I chose that and I want to do that as well as be a good mom. I know that I won't be a supermom, of course, I'll try, because I think that we're driven to do that as women. But again, like Sara said, I think we women are too hard on each other. Good for you for doing what's right for your family!!!

  24. Thank you everybody for your heartwarming comments. It means so much to me. I do want to clarify though, that I am not more comfortable at work than at home. Even though I haven't been "supermom" on my year off, I have been a good mom and I love my boys just as fiercely as if I was a full time stay-at-home mom. We work to support our home life which means absolutely everything to both of us.

  25. Whenever I hear ladies without kids make statements like- "my kids will never" or "when I am a mom" I just smile knowingly... knowing that they have no idea what is coming.
    Like you said, when you are in it and dealing with your own children with their own unique challenges well sometimes everything you said before needs to be changed.
    Good for you for doing what is best for you and your family. Good luck in your job!

  26. Your dad is a very wise and good man. Love the picture of Naveen with Aunt Laura. Very nice.

    You know that I think you're a superstar mama and human being. Love you for all that you give to the world.

  27. That commenter deserved a good slap up the side of her head! The only perfect parent EVER was the good Lord! (And when Adam and Eve were in Eden, the only 2 kids of a full time parent, they STILL chose to disobey!) I think your dad is very wise and I hope you give his words a lot more credence than you do the judgmental comments of some woman who's probably bent on putting others down to make herself look better!

  28. Off to read right now. In short? Judging is so unnecessary and destructive. And your dad is spot on. Your boys are loved. Period. That's what matters.

  29. Your dad is so spot on, I just want to hug him right now. The whole silliness over SAHM's, WAHM's, WOHM's, and all of the other acronyms just makes me want to vomit sometimes.

    You love your kids. You do what you think is best for them. That, in and of itself, DOES make you a supermom, Kim.


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