Towards the end of last year, I got some incredibly amazing feedback and emails and messages from people about my website/business and how it has affected their lives. Well, I got bits all throughout the year, just Christmas brings the cards, and with them, messages of thanks.
I don’t tend to promote this feedback much, because, despite popular opinion, I’m actually quite modest and reserved. More about that feedback later.
What I got from these comments, aside from totally confronted, is how I could actually do more if I weren’t so worried about what people thought of me, and if I weren’t so careful and cautious about accidentally offending someone. Despite my very conscious acknowledgement of various practices and beliefs, and my acceptance of them in a bid to ensure no one is offended, I still receive comment from others who have taken offence.
Let me give you an example. This particular one is my favourite from 2010 and came from a misinterpretation and subsequent Jumping On The Bandwagon that every other ignoramus had done. It was also based, without thought or attempt to understand, on the name of my business “Bad Mother’s Club”.
This site definitely has the right name if this stupid excuse for a parent honestly believe the Govt should be responsible for doing their job of raising their kids for them!
Grow a fucking brain and do your own parenting c***!
I have actually edited the last word for the benefit of my readers. It came to me, quite publicly, on my forums, unedited. Hilariously, I feel the poster used these words in an attempt to offend me. Clearly they have no clue what I’m about, nor, quite obviously, have they read any of my blog or forum posts 😀 Either that, or they are obviously somewhat inarticulate and unable to string together a better argument. Also, seriously, what a stupid concept! Even with my ability to see things from different perspectives, I can only conceive that a moron would be able to interpret anything I say as that. Just saying.
I have received emails telling me, again, based solely on the name of the business with no further looking into what I’m actually about, emails and near-midnight phone calls telling me I’m a terrible parent, that it’s “parents like you who let your kids run around and won’t discipline them who ruin it for everyone else” and complete misquotes along the lines of “if you don’t’ let your kids under the age of two watch DVD’s they’ll grow up to be stupid”.
Actually, what I said was “It’s no wonder parents are confused. On the one hand, we have all this research telling us not to let your kids under two watch TV, yet you walk into any baby shop and there’s an entire wall devoted to telling you if you don’t let your kids under the age of two watch their DVDs they’ll grow up to be stupid.” Completely different, yes?
I’ve been absolutely slandered on [mummy] blogs by [mummy] bloggers (yes, if you use my business name and link to my site, I will find out about it) accusing me of similar misdemeanours, and for speaking on behalf of a group of mums. Hmmm, here’s the thing; I run a business that specifically supports a group of mums, so when the media ring me for a quote based on the demographic I support, yes, I am speaking on behalf of a group of mums. It’s what running a business like mine does. I’m not “just” a mummy blogger (no disrespect intended, I say that with the utmost respect – just stating the fact that I run a business as well as blog, so things are different).
Ooh, and my other favourite was when I was likened to Hitler, funnily enough by a representative of a breastfeeding support organisation, because I dared to suggest that if people are demanding respect then they need to show respect. Yes, apparently this is just how the Nazis treated the Jews back in the day. By “respecting” them. Shame on me.
And I had a huge laugh after one woman accused me of having a “detachment disorder” because not only did I condone controlled crying, but I also “have a blog devoted to the promotion of controlled crying”. Yes, this blog. This very one you are reading. I still laugh out loud when I recall this.
I’m not telling you this because I want sympathy or “how dare they” or blah blah blah. I’m saying it because I have gone out of my way not to offend, to be cautious and careful of respecting other people’s views (as Nazi-esque as this is, according to some) and accepting other people’s practices and values.
I have been reserved, I have held back and I have, in hindsight, done a heap of people an injustice by doing so.
And, for all the care I have for others and my desire not to offend, it appears that there are a LOT of people out there who do not care if they upset or offend me. Not only that, but they are offending on shallow, misinterpreted and ill perceived basis. They have made no attempt to respect, accept or understand any point of view, other than their own ignorant one.
So, you know what? I’m over being “nice” and doing my best to be inoffensive when it is not appreciated. I am going to offend some people anyway. Personally, I think it gives them something to live for; being offended at something they’ve misinterpreted.
This is not to say I won’t be respectful or accepting, because that is just who I am. And some of you will be offended anyway, overlooking the respect and acceptance and being downright offensive in return.
Go for it. Knock yourself out.
Because, and going back to the start of this post, this is also what I’ve had come back at me, in WAY more posts, messages, cards and emails than have the other:
Thank you for all your support. If it weren’t for you and real mums/ bad mother’s club I would be very lonely / dead right now.
(and variations on that them)
You are a very special person, bringing warmth and happiness to so many.
Thank you for all your support all year round. I’d be lost without you all.
(and variations on that them, too :))
I can’t thank you enough for what you do. You do an amazing job …
If it weren’t for you and real mums, I would neverhave had the courage to start my own business. Thank you.
You give us a safe haven in a hectic world … you make me feel normal … you make me feel llike I’m NOT a bad mum at all … etc
Real mums saved a life today, and that life was mine.
This last one, I’ve had several of those. Which makes me sad that the society we live in has lead to mums feeling like they want to end their lives. But grateful that I have done what it takes to provide them with a safe place to be. I’m also grateful for the community I have that has helped create this safe haven.
So, if I’ve offended you I’m sorry. I know most of you won’t be offended, anyway, and will have at some point, been offended my the narrow minded, the sanctimonious and the Always Right (you know, “It’s my way, and if you don’t do it my way, you are wrong”).
Given I’ve changed the lives of a handful of people, but in my efforts to not offend I have done them an injustice and I have been abused, personally attacked and others don’t really care whether they’ve upset, hurt or offended me, I’m not going to hold back any more.
If it changes the lives of people who matter, then so be it.
And if my being accepting, respectful and empathetic offends you, then so be it, too.
My most memorable “compliment” came from Nick Coe, multimedia magastar and reporteer with A Current Affair who said about me “She’s nothing if not a pragmatist.”
Yes, yes I am. And I will continue to be. If you’re offended by reality, I can’t help you there. For most of my readers (that’d be you) I’m sure you’ll be completely fine with the concept 🙂