Sunday, March 4, 2012

Standing up.

You know how sometimes you eat an ENTIRE family-sized bag of pizza rolls, and out of guilt you decide to use your gym membership for the first time in months years, except that when you show up all the treadmills are taken, so you decide to ride the upright stationary bike for an hour, in the pre-baby yoga pants you bought from the Gap in 2001--and essentially, you bruise every muscle in your crotch?


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.
















18 comments:

Kimmie said...

I think I love you BRAVE WOMAN.

You're right. I always read between the lines but it was always flavored with the person *I* am. So I don't know the real you. Just sarcastic you. I love sarcastic you and while I felt sorry for J I did find the humor in what was going down. Sometimes I have to leave the room because parenting is so funny. Sometimes I have to leave the room because it is terrifying.

I read all the way back to the beginning when I found your blog (was it from Rants?). I connected with you first because of your loss (my first was stillborn at term). I then found your ideas of making Jesus REAL to our children in the context of their lives as they know it - and LOVED them. I love your ideas of scaling down. We did a "no sports spring" last year and it really helped all of our spirits.

I can't wait to read more of the real you. I think I would like you in real life. I think I would be intimidated? Maybe? I mean, I have a Husquvarna Viking machine that monograms and ton-o-fabric to do stuff with (I don't have a basement to hoard in though)... but I don't do it enough and sadly, this is my daughter's love language....

ok. enough. I wish I knew you in person. You are so real to me somehow.

Allison said...

Brava! Brava!

kidsbeingkidsphotography said...

Screw them. They suck. If they don't like it they don't have to watch or READ IT... for God sake's its the frickin' internet! Why in the world do people get so worked up over shit that really doesn't effect them. Ugh. I LOVE the house you moved into infact I just want to pinch you a little as I grew up just around the corner and I miss that block SO MUCH!

Ramona Dillinger Jordan said...

I was afraid that was your last post! Your house is a dream. And your children are lucky to have you, and one reason is your sense of humor. Life to too short, not to laugh.

I hope you are finding your joy back. RJ

Becky said...

Ha! I know you and that's why I love you. Just so everyone knows, sara isnt a fighter but i realized i am when people are flat out hurtful to my bestie and im ready to kick some ass! Btw. I'm kinda craving pizza rolls now...thx!

Julie K said...

Amen! Welcome back.

Lacy said...

SO HAPPY to see a new post this morning!! I didn't comment on the video drama, but felt for you and was really hoping you'd be back this week. BTW, right after I watched the video I told my hubby about it b/c we have had SO many similar nights at the table. Made me feel better to know I wasn't the only one. Thank you for that!

I too am a life long people pleaser, but am trying HARD to break that habit. Here's a quote i love from my addiction, Pinterest - "Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway." Eleanor Roosevelt

Looking forward to what you are planning to share...

Kristen said...

Sara- So glad you are back. I missed you these past few days. I did not comment on the video drama because I was floored by all the comments (I was on your side BTW). I look so forward to reading your blog everyday and you inspire me to be a better mother to my 2 toddlers. I think you are very brave to put yourself and your family out there but I am so glad you do. I think you are awesome and I wish I knew you in person so we could chat! I know we would get along well! ha! Look forward to whats to come.

Cary said...

Dang girl, if I could do those zig-zag snaps with my fingers, I would. I am proud of you for explaining without apologizing and using a fair and calm tone. You are a better person that I.
Thanks for getting back on the horse. The world is a better place with you writing in it. If another one of those situations arise, I would love to serve as your "internet bouncer." Andy has a computer science degree, so we could make it happen.

Erica said...

I feel kinda famous...cuz I got mentioned by name in your post.

Glad you didn't take offense because that wasn't ever my intention. (One of my only major pet-peeves about parenting is the insistence of so many that there's only one correct way to do it).

I look forward to understanding where you're coming from. Maybe I'll understand better how the great spinach debacle came to be. Or maybe not and we'll just continue to disagree. That's okay, too.

tammylxhiggins said...

Sara, I am so proud to know you after reading that :-) just thought I'd let you know... I haven't even gone back to read this comment yet, but I'm already wanting to defend you as an incredible mom--one who sets a the bar high for the rest of us!

Casey said...

I've been mulling over The Great Squash Debacle of 2012, and I've really had to censor my thoughts in order not to offen any of your readers. That being said I can't help but be truly miffed by the ignorant comments being made. I can only assume that the ANONYMOUS (if you have an opinion, stand behind it WITH YOUR NAME...duh) posters don't actually know you. I know how well you know your kids, and that you and mike are more than capable of determining when your kids are being serious and when they tend to have a flair for the dramatic. I work in a field where I see abuse EVERYDAY (ie, REAL abuse) so if people are seriously throwing that word around then they are naive and ignorant, and don't know anything as to what constitutes as abuse. I'm appalled that people are so judgmental about a two minute glimpse into your life.

Sara, I'm happy you stood up for yourself and didn't apologize; you have nothing to apologize for. For people that didn't like it, peace out.... Have a nice life with your kids that sit around and eat kale and leeks for the heck of it. But I think the majority of people will come to respect you more for sticking to who you are. I commend you!

michelle @ this little light said...

Oh, thank God, you're back. I had kind of a crazy, crappy week last week myself so saw what went down, but couldn't find two minutes to scratch together to write thoughtfully on how I love your posts, think you're a fun and REAL mom, and didn't assume for one minute that you were abusing your precious kiddos. Yikes. Seeing this updated post just made my day. Glad you're stickin' to it, Sara. You'd be so, so missed if you walked away. xo

Bobbi Kay said...

Funny to read this, since I know you from the drunk college days, and yet I know that I don't know you. What's so sad and funny about this is the perpetual cycle we women get caught in while in this ring of judgement. Thank you for acknowledging it. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for being another mother who dares to get her children to eat nutrious food when there are so many starving in the world.

Amy B said...

Sara-
You are brave and wonderful and amazing...So proud to call you a sister. :)

Michael and Rachelle said...

WooHoo!! You are an amazing woman Sara and there needs to be more of us with the courage to be who we are and to be it out there in front of people. I am so glad your break wasn't too long. I have been praying for you through this little debacle. Can't wait to read this weeks posts.

Emily said...

Glad you weren't really leaving:)

Great post, and I really appreciate your frank comments on the state of how women treat women and mommies treat mommies...your approach to acceptance is one that I find (and have always found) MOST refreshing!!

Jess said...

Well said!! I love that you keep it real. I hope you continue to just be yourself. I love your honesty...and your writing. I think your children are very fortunate to have you as their Momma.