I am not a “controversial” blogger. In fact, when writing out my posts I am constantly asking myself “Will this offend someone?  Can this be taken the wrong way?” And so on.  Yet, just the topics I write about are controversial in themselves so I do get the upset mother commenting every once in a while.  I’ll admit it, it sucks.  I get a little sweaty just reading it.  Did I really just hurt someone’s feelings?!

I have been afraid to “push buttons” my entire life. When I have had confrontations in the past they never really went that well.  If a boss of mine was stepping all over me I let them.  The only time I ever stood up for myself was in high school.  I worked as a waitress at a steak house; the manager was a tool.  One day I found out from a friend that he was mocking me and my laugh (which is rather unique and it is a love it/hate it thing) and calling me names to the staff.  I was so upset but not sure what to do.  I stewed over my shift.  I wanted to walk out and tell him to kiss my ass.  So I did.  I calculated my totals and handed him the money for the day from my food sales and the tip share.  I let him know I had heard the things he said and I couldn’t work with him anymore.  As I stormed off, dirty black apron in hand, he shouted after me “You better have all my money!”  To which I replied, “Every last penny!”  I was shaking, sweating, and a little nauseous.  I was also only partially employed (I was working 2 jobs to support myself.) and nervous.  I told myself I never wanted to have that happen again.

Then in college I was the Customer Service Coordinator for TJ Maxx.  This was a stressful job, mainly because no one was preventing the theft of goods and the return fraud occurring many times a day, every day.  So, I took matters into my own hands.  I became a vigilante, upholding righteousness and truth.  I refused returns, I stalked the thieves and called them out on their crap.  It was exciting and got my blood boiling and my heart racing.  This was a different kind of confrontation.  I was fighting for morality.  It was black and white; stealing and fraud are bad, mmmk?  Don’t do it or I will catch you.  I had no problem telling a customer to their face that they are pulling crap, bye bye.  If I ever see you again I will catch you.

Blogging is different and the same. I can sit behind my computer and write about my passions; cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, homebirth and natural childbirth, co-sleeping, and so on.  It just so happens that a lot of these topics polarize the mommy community.  When you say breastfeeding is good, the formula feeding moms often hear “formula is bad.”  When you say natural childbirth was the best choice you made the mom who chose an epidural hears “Epidurals are wrong and bad for the baby.”  If I say “Disposable diapers are wasteful and toxic” I am interpreted as telling moms they are harming the earth and their baby.

Is that what I mean?  Of course not.  But by praising one topic the other gets put down.  It isn’t like I am equally supportive of disposable diapers but I just happen to be writing about cloth diapers; that simply doesn’t jive.

For the record, here is where I am coming from.

I had a homebirth and it was all natural.  I also had a hospital birth, induced with pitocin, and had an epidural.  I loved my homebirth experience, but the hospital experience made me who I am today.  I don’t look down on any woman for choosing pain medications.  In fact, I wish the US had the option for Nitrous Oxide, a pain relief method commonly used overseas including homebirths!  It is safer, it is fast, and can be administered off and on at will.  Having a natural birth doesn’t make you a better mom but it is something to be proud of (but not brag about, big difference.)

I also love breastfeeding and I think every mother should attempt it.  It is cliche, but that is what they are there for!  Boobs are many things; they are food for babies, nice to look at and play with for your significant other, and they make nice pillows.  It doesn’t have to be a one or the other thing.  If you choose to formula feed for that reason then maybe I do have something to say about it.  If you fell prey to the many booby traps in the world that came between you and your baby’s nursing relationship I am sorry.  Then there are the moms who had to for other reasons that are out of their control.  I don’t think you are a bad mom, you are feeding your baby.  In the end, that is the most important thing.  Babies need to eat and need to be loved.  In my world, that means breastfeeding and cuddling my baby.

Cloth diapers….. oh boy.  Cloth is my thing.  I love cloth diapers, if I didn’t I wouldn’t spend the considerable time and effort that I do maintaining this website.  I would like everyone to use cloth diapers for whom it is feasible.  Unlike some others, I know there is a time and a place for disposable diapers and hybrid inserts.  I have used them myself.  I have never tried to hide that fact.  When we have ammonia issues (far too often than I should but dammit I can’t get rid of it!) my toddler sleeps in a disposable.  *gasp* Yes he does.  If not, he wakes up with a gigantic burn.  I have been reduced to tears before at watching my son not want to sit in his bath because it hurt his privates.  Nothing stings more than knowing the choice you made to better the environment and protect your baby from chemicals back fired.

Other reasons cloth might not be for you: no washer/dryer access. I won’t lie to your face and tell you that I would hand wash diapers daily in order to use cloth.  Call me names, I don’t care!  Some of you have commented that you do just that, and that is cool.  It isn’t for me. Update! I decided to try handwashing and using flat cloth diapers for 7 days. I found it possible, not ideal. My journey can be found here: Flats Challenge

Discussing cloth diapers in a mommy forum (I have been trying to put into words a post on mom boards, one of these days I will post it) can conjure up some serious feelings.  Usually the disposable moms get sick of hearing about how awesome cloth diapers are.  I have seen the alienation of moms when a group of women get to chatting about fluff.  And then, if you say something bad about cloth, the fluffy moms can get nasty.

I’m not gonna rehash it, but I wrote about The Great Divide of Cloth Diapering and why maybe we should promote to the middle class and not say “well if you can’t afford disposable diapers, why don’t you use cloth?” to families who just can’t.

If a low income family does have the ability to wash cloth diapers, often times they are unaware that it is an option or cannot afford the start up cost.  A friend of mine is working on starting a local diaper loaning program for these families.  I’d love to see more reusable diaper banks on a local level!

You will never hear me say that your choice to ______ was wrong.  Advocacy, in my eyes, isn’t about black and white.  Stealing is wrong, but getting an epidural- that was your choice and you have the right to do so.  I’m just thankful there are so many options in life.  I know that many of you are here because you come here often, you “get” me and my ideas, you share many of my passions.  Then there are those of you who might have ended up here from following a link on Facebook or Twitter, or you googled something.  Maybe you are here to leave a comment on a different post telling me I should be ashamed of myself for not seeing the other side.  I do.  I might not agree with it, and it isn’t for me, but it is for someone.

Finally, one thing I have learned in the 2 years I’ve been a parent is this:

Never, ever, ever say “Never.”

I have eaten my words more than once when it comes to my parenting ideals and what happened.  “My son will never watch _____” or “My son will only eat ______”  Guess what? He watches ____ and he eats a ton of ____.  Overall, things have gone my way but toddlers sure know how to manipulate their parents.

I remind myself of this every time I see another parent holding a bottle or giving their kid a sucker, turning on the TV, or putting them in their crib and receiving protests.  I don’t know where they are coming from or how they got to where they are and neither do you.

I will be linking this post again and again when I take to blogging about something that might “offend” others.  If you do read a controversial post here, it is a rare one!  They do seem to bring in the most traffic so I get why there are so many blogs dedicated to pissing people off, but that is not me! Still, when I see something that needs to be said in the name of promoting or defending my passions, I am sure as hell going to write about it!

image via flickr user Tony3 using the Creative Commons License

27 Responses

  1. This was so beautifully written. There have been posts that you have written that have been about things that I didn’t choose to do, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt offended. I certainly hope I’ve never left any kind of thoughtless comment. I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, either, and in fact, I often comment with thanks when I read a blog post that specifically is careful to make sure neither side of any particular topic is made to feel “lesser”. It bothers me that we moms get so up in arms about what we choose for our children and ourselves, to the point of sometimes being mean to moms who chose differently. I just think that’s terrible. In my opinion, moms have the toughest job ever. We don’t need other moms making us feel worse when we could instead be supporting the women of this world who are doing what they think is best for their children, even if it’s not what we ourselves would do. I don’t personally know any mom who intentionally made a choice because she thought it would be bad for her child. So I love this post. Thank you so much for writing it. And good for you for standing up for yourself at your waitressing job, and for doing the right thing at your other job, too.

    1. I hate Mommy Wars but when two moms with opposing parenting techniques get together there can definitely be some head butting. And I can never say I haven’t, either unconsciously or consciously, judged another mother from afar. Still, I like to think the majority of mothers are doing what is best for their children even when from the outside things look differently.

      I do miss TJ Maxx in a weird way, I really felt like I was making a difference. I was a rock star CSC and all of our lovely scheming customers literally walked the other way when they saw me. They knew they couldn’t pull that crap with me! It was a war zone of excitement and a little bit of detective work!

  2. Throughout my life, I’ve felt passionate about many things; some of those things have changed, some has not. But I feel the responsible thing to do is to remain flexible, and realize while you may feel that your lifestyle choice/opinion is the best thing, you have to realize right and wrong are VERY relative things. Sure, some things are clearly right, and some things are clearly wrong, but there’s a lot of things out there that can go either way, depending on the situation or people involved.

    I don’t care what people do or chose to do, and I always respect people for their beliefs, and especially when they adhere or live by their beliefs, even when I don’t always agree with them. What I cannot condone however, is the blunt refusal that some people have on accepting that there other options out there, and that despite that option not being right for other people, they still think that other people are wrong/bad because they don’t do the exact same thing, in the exact same way.

    Never once have I ever gotten that impression from you. You feel passionately about the choices you make, and not once have you ever said that “I do this, and if you don’t do it this way, then you are a bad horrible person.”

    You own a certain set of standards, and you live by them very well. And this is exceptional, since you live what you say and not say what you live. Not many people do that these days.

    1. “What I cannot condone however, is the blunt refusal that some people have on accepting that there other options out there, and that despite that option not being right for other people, they still think that other people are wrong/bad because they don’t do the exact same thing, in the exact same way.”

      Love this!

      And in terms of beliefs, I really have to just sit back and accept that I am in a minority. I get a lot of flack in my real life for being an atheist, and online I don’t broadcast it but it comes up from time to time. There is something to be said for “being good for goodness sake” rather than being good for an ultimate reward or fear of unbearable punishment for eternity.

      Who knows what I will be passionate about in 5 or 10 years? Lacrosse? LOL. I know 5 years ago it was Hebrew Studies/Religious Studies and the history of the consumer revolution in America (my senior thesis for college). Not to mention my undying love for The Smashing Pumpkins and getting tattoos. Times…. they do change, don’t they?

  3. I really like the blog theMompetition.com. On there is the character Beth that breastfeeds, cloth diapers, cosleeps, only eats organic, baby signs, natural births…. And Beth is pretty well hated. Not necessarily because of what she does but how she imposes her view point on everyone… but I think people also hate her because she is the “perfect” (lots of sarcasm there). So how much of the joke is because she’s a beotch and how much because she’s just TOO much? The way the joke plays out I sometimes wonder if people don’t like me because I am a little too Beth. I cloth diaper, I breastfeed, I had a natural birth. I am really very proud of those things because the weren’t/aren’t always easy to do. And maybe my pride comes off as bragging every once in a while. But just the sheer fact that I do these things invites criticism from moms that don’t and it burns me a little. Sometimes I just want to shout, “Hey, breastfeeding matters to me. Just because I do it doesn’t make me one of THOSE moms.” So I feel you on the criticism. I get it that you are trying to share you view without alienating but not everyone is always going to agree and sometimes they get a little nasty when they don’t. I don’t even like going to diaperswappers because it sometimes feels like there a way too many hypermoms there and they can make me feel inadequate pretty quickly. But instead of getting mean or schnarky, I leave. And if someone here doesn’t like reading your point of view on your blog, they probably should come back another day.

    1. I will check that out! And I totally feel you on that “crunchy” mold I fit into as well. Lord knows seeing me on the street you would never, ever guess we don’t use paper towels and use cloth diapers, etc. That is to my advantage in many ways because it opens a dialogue with someone who never would have expected to hear a “cloth is cool” speech.

      But it can also be lonely around traditional parents. If you fit the mold, many also assume you are coming from a place of “I’m better than you because I do _____” and you don’t.” Trust me, I try VERY hard not to look like one of THOSE moms. It is far easier to have an open dialogue on these hot topics when you aren’t looked on as being “holier than thou”

  4. Good for you, Kim! I totally agree with everything you said here. It’s so frustrating to me when people get defensive about something I’m passionate about and assume that I’m saying things that I’m not. And I can’t stand those blogs that are dedicated to pissing people off. It’s one thing to have an opinion and express it, and it’s another thing to personally attack people for their beliefs and parenting practices.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

    1. Thanks Amy! I like reading other blogs that are coming from a sarcastic, down with the man, perspective when they are done well. I tune in to hear Gina on The Feminist Breeder tear certain subjects a new one. And there are many others I enjoy. In real life I like to think of myself as having a sharp sense of humor, and raunchy, but I reserve those jokes for the friends I know “get me” and don’t take my comments out of context. It is so hard to convey those comments through text, and that can lead to a lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings, so I like to avoid that altogether. I love reading your blog too 😉

      1. Yes, I agree gain! Sarcasm, activism, and strong opinions are totally welcome. TFB is one of my favorites. But the folks who attack her seem to be downright vicious, and that’s just not OK. Internet communication is certainly a tricky task, and so easily taken out of context or in the wrong way. I think we can do best to just give each other the benefit of the doubt and try to assume the best intentions (especially before leaving nasty comments). And, thank you–glad to hear it! =)

        1. When you put yourself out there to that extent there will be haters. Plus, I am sure there are a lot of jealous folks.

  5. WOW, this was an AMAZING post. THANK YOU. I often found myself defensive for doing an epidural birth. And I gotta say, I was totally going to go all natural for this next baby…but as I was puking on a 7 hour flight, with a doggy bag in one hand and my sick one year old in the other (just hours after she had a breathing spell, turned purple in my arms, and went unconscious for a few seconds), I decided (and I can’t explain how this moment did it for me!) that I would take an epidural when I was to give birth a few months later. And that, I feel, is the best choice for me. I also have milk supply issues, so I supplement feed…but for some reason I fear my fellow CDing friends might judge me. But that, I feel, is the best choice for me. I spazz when my daughter is in my bed, thinking she will suffocate or something. Or I just spend hours kissing her fingers and forehead, so I can’t sleep with her there. Then I don’t sleep at all and am a jerk of all jerks the next day. So she sleeps in her bedroom. And that, I feel, is the best choice for me. I have this fear that people who fall into the natural birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, attachment parenting category might judge me for this. But it is nice to see your perspective and it is nice to know there are people out there who aren’t judging others, but get that everyone makes decisions based on their situations.

    Your formula feeding, epidural taking, non co-sleeping, cloth diapering blog friend,

  6. My favorite mantra I like to keep in mind when dealing with haters is “Don’t let them steal your joy.” Keep spreading the joy, Kim.

  7. Thanks for posting this! There are so many choices that we as parents have to make on behalf of our babies regarding birth, feeding, sleeping, diapering, circumcision, work, and so on. It’s anxiety provoking. I agree that it can’t be black and white. I remember feeling badly that I wasn’t making my own organic babyfood after another mom in my mom’s group was bragging about making her own. I was a SAHM, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, but was buying (gasp!) babyfood from the grocery store. I had to remind myself that it is perfectly OK to buy babyfood and just because I wasn’t making my own didn’t make me a bad or inadequate mom. We put way too much pressure on ourselves.

  8. It is a hard line to walk sometimes; I want to help get more information out there are to the things I am passionate about, but more often than not I think people take it as me judging them or that I’m some ‘Beth.’ In reality I just think the more information that is out there, the better armed we are to make the best choices for our families. Which may be cloth. Or co-sleeping. Or exclusively pumping. Or total vaccination. And just because someone feels guilty about choosing not to breastfeed, I’m not going to stop extolling the awesome bond my kid and I have because I worked my butt off to have a successful breastfeeding relationship.

    1. And mean to add, I feel similarly to you in that I don’t want to upset people so I frequently try to write in as non-controversial manner as possible. When it seems on the line I literally have to gear myself up all day to go back to the post/status update and read what people have written!

  9. I certainly get what you mean… Breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, baby signing, early childhood education, organic vegetarianism are things I’m very passionate about. I try to share their benefits to other mums when appropriate, yet it’s definitely their choices at the end of the day.

    Advocators are always bound to bump into people who feel easily offended. Your posts have always sounded fair and not offensive to me, that’s why I’ve been following your blog for so many months. You’re doing a great job as a mum and as a blogger. Keep it up!!!

  10. it is funny how you set out aiming to be one way then end up going towards another. I said i would not cloth diaper because I didnt think i could deal with the poo. well, as a mom we get poo either way so i changed my view on that one and when i saw how cute cloth was I had to give it a go. I still use a blend of sposies and cloth (as i was building my stash and still am), i said i would not let my son watch anything elmo but he ended up liking elmo a lot so i will let him watch sesame street i just wont let elmo everything take over our lives.. Thus, no elmo merchandise. I still wont do barney or dora/diego though. i just really cant stand them.

  11. Kim,

    For what it’s worth, I think you do a very good job not offending people through your blog. I’m proud of how you’ve developed your blog. Keep up the good work.

    1. That definitely means a lot. Thanks Jenn! I really only set out to do videos and supplement with a few articles here and there. I don’t think I knew I had as much to say as I did! Now you can’t shut me up or get me turn off my camera!

  12. Thanks for this post Kim. I’ve never founds your posts even mildly offensive. Have spent much of my Mummy journey trying to please others – doctors, family and my husband. Came to realize that it didn’t matter much what others thought about my choices. Was told I was mad for cd but I’m still doing it a year on. Had people hating on me for trying to continue to bf when there were significant issues and then different people hating on me when I decided to stop some months later. Getting a bit less flack for baby wearing and getting hubby involved now we’ve found the Boba thanks to you. I rarely try to justify my choices now but do try to advocate in a quiet way. Now I get lots interested questions about cloth and toddler / preschooler wearing and ignore any nasty comments that get flung around. Keep it up please I’ve learned so much from your videos and posts.  

  13. So judgmental idiots are leaving in droves… Bye! Dont let the door hit you! I shall help you find some new lovers that wont hate you for being an open-minded non judgmental person. You are an AWARD WINNING blogger for not just A reason but for plenty! WE are all different kinds of mothers and I for one love your help and love seeing your point of view!

  14. I love this post. For me, personally, I did not have a natural childbirth (epidural), and I didn’t co-sleep (which, actually, I tried but my son HATED it as an infant- weird!). But I do practice clean eating, and it’s something that is done by my whole family. You would think I beat my child based on the reactions I get from people! I don’t care if other people give their kids chicken nuggets, french fries, McDonalds etc… But I say “We don’t eat sugar”, and people get offended like I’m personally ridiculing them. Some people will just be offended. After years of this, I’m really starting to think it’s just people’s own insecurities- and maybe feeling guilty about making different choices (not that they SHOULD feel guilty), but they just don’t know how else to react. So they say things like “how can you deprive your son?” or “I would never make my kid do that” or “I’ve eaten _____ my whole life, and I’m just fine”. I could go on. It’s really frustrating! I don’t have a thick skin, lol– and don’t all mommies feel guilt over one thing or another- why, as parents, do we put it on each other?

    1. You are right about the insecurities. I would love to eat healthier and I do feel very guilty about what our family eats and have even found myself feeling judged by those who do, which is one way I know how it can feel for formula feeding moms or c-section moms of diposable moms or whoever. And maybe others don’t because they didn’t want to do x but for those who do that is a big part.

  15. I love this post. Everyone needs to be open. The dirty looks I get when people find out I use cloth are not needed. I always try to not judge and help people when they need it.

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