In the first of what I hope will be a growing series, my very own mother takes the helm of The Truth About Babies as guest author….
I am honored to have been invited to write a guest post on The Truth About Babies. The only guideline was that it had to be at least 400 words and it had to be “my truth.” I didn’t think this topic was going to come out when I sat down to write, but apparently this truth was aching for a platform and could not be suppressed. All of these questions and comments came up in real conversations with people I love, and these are my heartfelt answers.
“She admits to not falling instantly in love with her child!”
True, and isn’t that beyond brave? She gives voice to the dirty little secrets people usually hide away in deep black guilt lockers, making some already overwrought new parents even more angst ridden. Some of us were blessed with more tranquil experiences, but others have had worse. The fresh air of candor works miracles. You go girl.
“She chronicles in vivid detail things that most people wouldn’t even say out loud!”
True, and isn’t it about time someone did? Admit it, fellow parents of grown children, we hoped we were raising our kids to be brave. We hoped they would form independent opinions. We wanted them to make a difference in the world. So far this one is batting a thousand.
“She posts her thoughts out there for just anyone to read!”
True, and isn’t social media an extraordinary blessing? Sure, there’s a downside, but doesn’t it beat the living hell out of the isolation, the deep terrifying loneliness new parents endured in the none too distant past? Even more importantly, if she weaves a thread of common experience to a stranger who happens on the blog (she has), if she comforts someone facing a similar situation (she has), if her extraordinary gift with words brings a smile or a laugh out loud moment to anyone reading her work (you know she has!!), she joins the ranks of people who make a difference.
“She has such a potty mouth, and she’s talking about babies!”
True, but in a very real sense, there are no dirty words. Words, all words, are tools of infinite power. Spicing things up with a well-placed F- bomb creates a connection between people. If you want to get your point across, getting someone’s attention is a really good idea. And truth be told, she comes from a long line of swearers.
“Shouldn’t she worry that someone might call Child Protective Services?”
Hell no. Ventilating frustration in words, especially words expressed with such passion, is a mighty deterrent to acting on those frustrations. She may be the victim of her word-loving Irish heritage where the gypsies are concerned, but even that creates a connection between her boy and his Irish ancestors, all of whom threatened to send miscreant children to the travelers. Desperate thoughts about taking advantage of Moses Laws or the temptation of an open window, do not child abuse make.
“Shouldn’t she worry that being so very public about her very private thoughts could come back and bite her in the ass?”
Hell no (to keep this parallel), but really hell yes. There is a small but real danger that someone sometime, a potential employer, a private school administrator, etc. could discover this public posting and use it against her. She makes herself potentially very vulnerable. Then again, life is risk and the only real protection against the possibility that her words could be used against her is to keep them to herself, which would negate the whole point of expressing herself.
“Shouldn’t she worry her son will be damaged by knowing these deep thoughts?”
Hell no. Her boy happened to her. This is her experience. By the time the boy is of an age when he would be interested in such thoughts, he will already be the beneficiary of years of her style, her wisdom, her candor, her humor, and her truth. He will totally get her. He will marvel at her. He will pray that he is just like her.
“Shouldn’t she worry some people will find this blog offensive/disturbing?”
Hell no. If she were to tie someone to a tree and force them to take her thoughts into their minds, it would be deeply offensive. Absent the use of force, people have to make their own decisions about other people’s thoughts. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. Simple as that. What would be extremely offensive is the idea that she would edit and censor herself and her very thoughts on the chance that someone might not see things the way she does.
(Disturbing could be a slightly different issue, but writing is meant to be evocative. If readers are disturbed by this content, it might be that she has touched a nerve because she is addressing issues that seldom see the light of day, things that some folks have never thought about before and that, in essence, is why authors are compelled to write. The “don’t like it, don’t read it theory” also applies.)
“Shouldn’t she worry about what her poor mother will think?”
Hell no. In the case of the firebrand behind The Truth About Babies, her mother thinks she is off-the-chart brilliant and could not be prouder or more supportive, but I’ll get back to you if she writes a 50 Shades of Gray type novel.