Writing this blog feels A LOT like remounting that stationary bike, the day after the post vaginal bruising.
Oh, there are just so many things to say, I don't know where to begin; it's likely this will be an entire week of posts on my parenting philosophy, because the truth of it is, now that I have offended so many of you, the doors are really open to tell you how I REALLY feel about being a mother. Apparently, there is a lot that I censor. And I'm going to start by saying that you should NEVER mistake sarcasm for honesty. It's almost impossible to pinpoint what went horribly wrong last week, but I can guarantee that it starts with my general snarkiness--and the tone in which I write, which leads you to "fill in the blanks", so to speak, about the way that I parent. I think you would be EXTREMELY surprised to know that the voice I use in my blog is SO VERY DIFFERENT from the person you get in real life.
Secondly. You should know that I have been a people pleaser my ENTIRE life. This generally means that I have mastered the ability to blend into any group of people, to be accepted, to NOT rock the boat. I am GOOD at it, too--and this is because I am a good listener, so I HEAR what people say, what they like, what they hate, what they are insecure about--and I KNOW how to fit into that context. This is important to understand when you read this blog, because I UNDERSTAND the frustrations that women face as MOTHERS. You see playdoh mushed into carpet and I see the generational themes and similarities that BIND us. THIS is what you relate to when you read me, the part of me that knows how to please you, how to tell your story. I give you my opinions here, but they are *typically* the ones that unite us.
The interesting thing about what happened last week, is that it became clear how LITTLE some of you really know about me. You know my stories, you know how drunk I got in college, you know how premature my twins were and what a freaking disaster that was. I'm giving you details, but I'm not TELLING you anything you don't (inherently) know--I'm simply entertaining you with it.
And then you went and rocked my monogrammed boat of conformity--and I panicked. You came at me with anger, and I wanted to respond the same way. Except that I am NOT an angry person and I DO NOT believe in dividing women and making people take sides. I don't focus on what makes us different, because in my experience, women FEAR difference, or attack it, or criticize it. We don't TRY to understand it, we just draw conclusions, based on what we *think* we know. This is not a criticism--this is me understanding the things that bind us. And I just needed a few days to...think. I was never going to take that post down, I was never going to run away, I was never going to apologize and beg you all not to judge me. It's just that, if I am going to REALLY tell you who I am and what I stand for, I am going to do it RIGHT. I am not going to do it angry, or spiteful, or full of judgement, or full of fear--because NONE of that is who I am.
I moved into a BEAUTIFUL new house this weekend, and I had my pictures taken in my underwear. Let me tell you, it is EXTREMELY difficult to find joy over moving into our dream house, or feel sexy in in front of a camera when people are calling you a child abuser. To be truthful, maybe only one of you called me that--but saying that video was on the "verge" of child abuse is the SAME thing, FYI. But for the handful of you who tore me down, there were many, MANY of you who have made an incredible difference to me. Who have called me, or texted me, or emailed me...or left incredibly kind and honest comments. Some of you, who I have never met, fill in the blanks with INCREDIBLE accuracy, even though you've only seen a small part of me. I am beyond blown away by that.
So. If you want to judge me, I am going to give you the ENTIRE story of who I am as a mother--so you can do it accurately. Some of you will now know that we are FAR more different that you could ever have imagined when you found this blog. These are MY truths, not our similarities--because I have ALWAYS known there is a difference, but not all of you have. I may not push them on you in my posts, but please don't mistake that to mean that I don't have DEEP conviction over what I think it takes to raise my kids well. So let's start with a few truths:
If you think that I give you EVERY bit of me in this blog, you are WRONG. It would be impossible to do so, because I am a hell of a lot more complicated than a single, 500-word post, on any given day. And so are you.
I DO NOT abuse my children. I don't even come close. And I will not change my opinion on this simply because some women, whom I have never met and who only know my sarcastic alter-ego, *think* that I walk that line. I am NOT, and will never be, who other people think I am. But also, not understanding something doesn't make it abusive--please know the difference.
I DID NOT feed Big J the squash simply to entertain myself or make a funny video (because if I did, BOY DID IT BACKFIRE). I did however, find the humor in how it went down. There is a difference.
I am not offended by people who have different opinions than I do. I am talking specifically to you Erika, because I want you to know that none of what you wrote, in either comment was taken offensively. I can agree to disagree, because at the core, we are fundamentally different. I disagree almost completely, and I will elaborate, but that doesn't mean I think you are terrible, or wrong, or that your opinions aren't valid. They are. I just know there are a lot of circumstances that play into who we become, and not everyone who is force fed vegetables will grow up with resentment over it. I was forced to drink a glass of milk everyday, and eat bananas at least once a week--food I hated growing up, and still hate to this day. I am not one bit bitter or angry about it, and there are no lingering trust issues with my parents because of it. Which leads me to my next point...
This was NEVER about getting my kid to like spaghetti squash. EVER. I could actually give two-shits if he ever touches it again. Honestly. And I'm not saying this because he was so upset over it, or because he gagged, or because I videotaped it and caught flack for it. It would make my life SO MUCH EASIER if I never had to cook another vegetable again in my life. I would be fine, my kids would be fine, everyone would live. But letting him stop eating that squash goes against a lot of what I stand for as a parent--and the choices Mike and I have made for our kids that started over nine years ago. DO NOT hear me say that this is about a "rule" we set years ago and refuse to break--it isn't.
I have put an incredible amount of work and research into who I want my kids to be, and how I want to parent. I cannot make them perfect, but I can stress certain character traits--and the ones of great importance to me will be very different than A LOT of you. I don't do popular choices (not out of spite, I simply realize what most parents value, isn't my priority). Again, I KNOW we are different--I have always known.
I am embarrassed over A LOT of things that I do as a parent--and this was NOT one of them. My history with kids and food is LONG, blogworld. And it is VERY different from most of you.
I will elaborate on EVERYTHING--but it would be an entire novel if I condensed it into one post, so I will make sure that I give you LOTS of rope to hang me with this week. I cannot stress it enough-- I don't care if you don't agree, if you think I'm a bitch, if you think I'm terrible. I don't care if I don't change your mind. I DO CARE about the words we use and how they are sometimes hurtful--but please know, that you are under no obligation to be kind. I believe in the kindness of women, but I am proven wrong sometimes too.
So welcome friends, and people who want to judge me--the real Sara Denckhoff is about to stand up.