I have three kids. One is a newborn my husband and I adopted last month, one is a four year old who is brilliant and sweet (of course), and one is dead, the victim of an aggressive brain tumor at four years old. That’s my family in a nutshell. To me, these children are the most precious creatures that exist on this earth, probably a lot like yours are to you. I treasure them and wonder how I got so lucky in this life to be surrounded by such love and joy. I am blessed. Truly.
The child I write the most about is my beautiful daughter, Donna. Anyone who reads Mary Tyler Mom knows of my girl, as she is a central figure in both my life and my writing. She guides me through my days, reminding me to choose patience, choose joy, choose hope. These are lessons I need each and every day and my dear Donna is my constant teacher. I am grateful to have been her Mom and miss her utterly, completely, thoroughly.
My four year old is only referred to as Mary Tyler Son in my posts. He is a bright, beaming, curious, funny, smart boy. He is every inch four years old, which means he can be challenging at times, aggressive at times, endearing at times, playful most all of the time, and so, so beautiful. This boy saved me after Donna’s death. Rather than run down the rabbit hole, he reminded me, every day, with his ten month old self, that I was still a mother of a child that needed me desperately. He deserved no less than I gave Donna, which was all of me, everything. Mothering him pulled me through the thick of my early grief. Mary Tyler Son will always be my light.
And now, through adoption, we have been chosen to parent again. I honest to God can think of nothing more sacred than asking another human being to care for and love and raise your child. Think about that and just let it marinate a moment. We honor our selection, being chosen, and this beautiful boy by parenting him, just as we did Donna, and just as we do Mary Tyler Son. We are all in. All in. Mary Tyler Baby is what I will call him here and you will come to know him through my words. I don’t know much so far about Mary Tyler Baby, other than he fills me up, makes me smile, blesses me every day, and needs me to love and care for him. I am his Mom. That’s heady stuff.
That’s how parenting works, yo.
Right now my kids are of an age or a circumstance where they don’t give a fig about me being a mom blogger. Mary Tyler Son is intrigued by it and knows that when I am sitting in front of the computer screen I am blogging or Facebooking, which these days, is almost an extension of blogging. He calls me a writer and that’s just about the coolest thing I could imagine. Sometimes, he wants me to post about him, “Tell your blogging friends X, Y and Z,” he will demand of me. What can I say, it charms me.
There are strangers around the world who are charmed by Mary Tyler Son because of what I share in my blog and Facebook page. And I gots to say, it’s a great feeling when others find your kid charming, right? It happens in your life, too, even if you’re not a mom blogger.
What’s not so cool are some of the other things that happen when you’re a mom blogger.
- Sometimes, when I write about the more challenging behaviors of Mary Tyler Son, strangers call him a brat or “full of himself.” Who in the hell says that about a four year old boy? Strangers tell me what I am doing wrong and that my poor parenting choices will absolutely result in raising a future law breaker, jail bird, loser. Oh! And how could I forget the woman who damned poor Mary Tyler Son’s soul to eternal hell and the gratitude she expressed at having children whose soul’s were not black like his. Sheesh. Fire and brimstone ain’t my thing.
- Some folks don’t understand why I still write about Donna four years after her death. She has been called worm food and I have been told to “get a new angle,” as the Donna angle was “wearing thin.”
- Earlier this year when something I wrote about adoption was featured on the Huffington Post, I was on the receiving end of two weeks of strangers lashing out at me, consistently and repeatedly, in the comment section from hell. I was called a baby thief, rich white bitch, narcissist, entitled, opportunistic, manipulative, and a few other choice words. I’m not gonna lie to you. That episode really ran a number on me and contributed to a depressive episode that made me question our wish to adopt.
- A couple of years ago I posted a photo of Mary Tyler Son on Facebook that involved a parenting mistake I had made at the end of a stressful week. I captioned it with the words, “Worst Mother Ever.” A rabid pack of fellow mothers saw that and rather than acknowledge, yeah, that Mary Tyler Mom made a mistake, they wished for my son’s death. They then described the death they wished for in great detail, in hopes that I would learn a lesson. After that didn’t get a rise out of them, the image of my son was stolen, copied, and several Facebook pages were started with him being the poster boy/profile shot of new pages focused on what a bad mother I was.
So being the child of a mom blogger is not all it’s cracked up to be, you see. That is why I protect my kids. That is why I don’t post photos of my living children with their faces exposed. That is why I don’t use the names of my living children openly attached to my blog.
They didn’t ask me to be a mom blogger, to have their exploits, both good and bad, publicized for all the world to see. It’s not my place to call them names or endlessly complain about how they are ruining my life. Other mom bloggers do that and it’s super cool for them, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. And that is okay, cause you like what you like and there’s all sorts of fish in this mom blogger sea.
If you don’t care for what I’m doing, like the Facebook commenter this week who asked what the benefit of my page was if I only show my baby’s feet and don’t even give his name out, well then, it is easy as pie to hit the “unlike” button and go about your day. There are literally thousands of other mom bloggers who will fill up your news feeds with adorable photos of faces instead of feet. I promise, I won’t mind in the least. Most likely, I won’t even notice you left. That sounds harsh, but honest to God, I am sleep deprived these days and don’t drink coffee. I don’t keep up with the numbers like I used to.
For those of you who do stick around, who don’t mind a parade of baby toes in your news feeds, or a series of hilarious and wacky questions from the back seat that Mary Tyler Son asks on an almost daily basis, well hells bells, I am so happy to know you! You make my life richer in a thousand different ways that are hard to convey. I so appreciate your company and your respect and your empathy.
This parenting is tough stuff. My husband and I do the best we can. For us, that means no photos and no names of our boys. Other mom bloggers make different choices, which is A-OK! Hey, you can enjoy as many of us as can fit on your feed, and no doubt, that will involve a whole lot of feet and faces.