I wrote an article a couple of months ago called, “Yes, I’m a Stay-at-Home-Mom; No, it isn’t ‘The Hardest Job in the World.’” It was the first article I was ever paid to write. It’s also the reason I’ll never write about mom stuff anywhere besides this little blog ever again.
The article was originally published about 2 months ago on TheWeek.com and I was proud of it…at first. I naively thought it was going to be one of those articles with a snide title, but after you click on it, you see there is actually a thought process, an uncommon point of view, and, in the end, it turns out to be pretty sentimental.
People started commenting on it. Many of the comments were positive, but some were a little harsh, and a few expressed hurt feelings. I replied to every comment and apologized where appropriate. I was surprised that most people seemed to accept my apology.
When I wrote the article, I knew that not everyone would agree with my opinion. However, I didn’t realize how bad I would feel when strangers expressed distress at reading my article. I did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings and I regret that I made anyone sad, even total strangers, even for one second. I really am sorry.
After that, I decided that it wasn’t worth it. To me, it feels like a responsibility to know how my writing affects people, especially if I get paid for it. (Note: I have written a couple of tax/finance pieces since this first article, but those don’t usually hit anyone in the feels, so they seem safe). When all was said-and-done, I decided I wasn’t going to write (for payment) about polarizing parenting topics again. Everyone seemed to forget about the article after a couple days and I was relieved to be done with it.
A couple days ago, The Week randomly re-posted my article with a new, distasteful subheading of “Sorry, not sorry.” I did not approve that wording, but I surrendered all rights to the article when I “sold it” to The Week – they can promote it wherever and however they see fit.
Immediately after it was re-posted, I received mostly negative, and some pretty hateful, feedback from readers. Someone wanted to punch me in the face and called me a twat (a twat!). Others said they didn’t understand me at all. Several people said I couldn’t possibly have a clue yet because I haven’t been a mom long enough. Many people pointed out that I probably have lots of help and other conveniences that make my life easier.
One person told me that if I don’t find it difficult, I must not be doing it right. Maybe I’m not, but I didn’t realize that people could know that…. My kids don’t give me a quarterly performance review and let me know if they’re getting what they need.
Although I do better understand now why some people found the article offensive, I want to clarify one point. I was not trying to say that raising children is easy. Parenting is hard. Period. I expect it to get more difficult as the years go by, independent of whether I stay home or go back to work. As a parent, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. “Kids don’t come with instructions,” as the saying goes. I’m trying really hard, though, and I love my kids more than anything. I hope that counts.
So it seems I missed the mark. It was a poorly executed attempt to express my gratitude for getting to do this as my job. I thought I was letting others off the hook if they feel like they have to shower me with praise for being a SAHM. I was trying to pay a compliment to working parents (which most parents are). I think instead of sounding like a compliment to working parents, it came off as an insult to stay-at-home parents. That’s my bad.
Practically speaking, I can’t begin every sentence with “personally,” or “in my experience,” or “in my opinion,” but I am only speaking from my own experiences. Perhaps that means I should have changed the title of the article to something more specific to me, such as, “I, personally, rather enjoy staying at home with my kids but it is completely okay if you don’t! No judgment!” or “Boring McBoring-face Article,” but I’m not sure anyone would have published that. Then again, not publishing it would have saved me some writer’s regret (not sure if that’s a real thing, but I have it).
As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I really am open to honest feedback, good or bad, but if you do comment or send me a message, please keep the personal insults to a minimum. Thanks 😉