THAT was a fun week!
I have to say, I certainly did not expect for my shenanigans at Target to hit such a nerve in Mamas everywhere (not sure what I am talking about? Take a read!). And I certainly did not think that, in writing that post, I would be setting myself up for such a good lesson in Self-Examination and Bullet-Proofing-Your-Heart.
So, a little breakdown of how this past week went down. I woke up Wednesday morning to a few of my friends/family laughing about my post that I made Tuesday night. This is normal. My blog, before this week, only had a few posts on them (7, in fact) and had maybe an average rate of getting anywhere from 25-100 views per post (Thanks, mom!). I am a BABY blogger. And one that never actually considered the idea of it ever going ‘main stream’. Not because I would hate that, but who ever imagines getting this kind of attention when they aren’t actively seeking it??
Anyway, I hit publish Tuesday night on the now infamous #MASTC post, and by Wednesday night, I had sweaty palms (which would last the next few days) and a probably unhealthy addiction to clicking update on my stats. WHAT WAS GOING ON. I was nearing 1,000 views. Madness. My mom couldn’t possibly be clicking it that much. My husband told me he thought I would get up to 10,000 views in the next few days. I laughed at him. Because, no.
Thursday morning, I woke up to just over 8,000 views, and figured out I could do this fun game where I just keep refreshing my stats page and the numbers would be different EVERY TIME.
Friday morning, the post hit its peak, reaching over 100,000 views, and a local news agency picked up the story. This is where it gets fun. I was initially floored when I saw it (no joke, I was at my MOPS meeting and I just laid down on the ground because it made no sense!). But it was fun! And exciting! But then I actually read the article… and some of the comments that followed it. Suddenly, a post that was meant to be funny and light and for my friends and family had thrusted me under the spotlight, and a twisted version of ME had become the center of some interesting opinions. I was still trying to catch my breath from the fact that my post was being shared and read by people I didn’t know, and so this very quickly pulled the rug out from under me. I spent the rest of that day warring with myself. Do I read the comments? Do I avoid them? CAN I avoid them? Of course I read the comments. Again. And again. And again.
The basic run down of the article, the comments that followed, as well as some colorful commenters on the actual blog was that I was an unfit mother, who brought these hard times on myself… or some version of that. A lot of those comments were from men, and the rest were from fellow mamas.
I’m going to let the men off the hook because, well, I just don’t have the energy to even GO THERE. But mamas… come on now.
Guys. We are a tribe. And in fact, I already wrote about that! Check it out! It should be clear, to any mother of any amount of children, that this job that we have? Where we have to keep our Tiny Humans alive and somehow inspire them to change the world, but also keep in line! And also, don’t ruffle too many feathers, but also BE YOU… This is the hardest job. And we aren’t meant to do it alone. That being said, SO MANY OF US are in fact doing it alone because of that fear that sets in when you start to pit your parenting up against someone else’s parenting. When their kids run faster, think faster, shower faster, WHATEVER. And you start to look down at your own self and decide that you are broken and therefore cannot avoid raising broken children.
I wrote a blog post about a funny night at Target. Was I actually trying to start a movement? No. Did I think it would ever be read by anyone but my People? Not a chance. Did I deserve the comments that called me lazy, that called my kids zombies, that decided that I was some selfish sloth that decided to make life hard for everyone because I didn’t get my way at a store that owes me nothing?
The culture today would have me say yes. That I did deserve it because I put my thoughts down on ‘paper’ and decided to be ‘bold’ enough to post them. That I did deserve it because other people don’t parent like I do (though… from what I gather, a lot of people DO parent like me). That I do deserve it because that’s just part of the game of being under the public’s eye.
Well. I don’t accept that. For a moment, I did. And it was crushing. Among all of the good comments about what I wrote (and there were SO. MANY. For which I cannot properly thank you all for!), the negative ones were the ones that stuck in my skin and irritated the hell out of me. And, oddly enough, it was going back and rereading THIS POST that I wrote just before the #MASTC post that brought it home for me.
My identity does not, has not, and never will lie in what I type out on this blog. It does not lie in the mistakes I have, am, and will make as a parent, as a spouse, as a daughter, as a friend. (And also? Most of the negative commenters attacked me for not being a Perfect Parent… THAT’S KIND OF MY THING).
My identity lies in the light that was breathed into me when I was conceived, that told me that I was loved, and that I had a purpose, and that that purpose can be as simple as Love People The Best That You Can. And I can do that. And I AM doing that.
And I wager that we ALL are doing that. We are doing the best we can. And I say it’s time to stop being afraid to show our Messy for fear of backlash. Own your Messy, because then when people call you out on it, you can just laugh and laugh and say, “I KNOW, RIGHT?!” And when you see another parent totally losing the battle (perhaps at Target? With a Tiny Human driving a Tiny Cart?), give her a smile, perhaps even a kind word. Tell her you’ve been there, done that. Tell her she is more than this moment.
This world is hard, peeps. Every day, there is Evil winning. Let’s not be a part of it. Let’s decide that our light is too good, too important to hide away. Let’s go ahead and be the Light of the World that we have already been told we are.
And for those who are curious, #MASTC has been viewed over 230,000 times, and shared over 22,000 times. MIND BLOWN.