…for making my sarcastic gratitude toward You (the Internet, I mean) about how my bad parenting choices might go viral…go viral. (Is there an Alanis song about this?). My latest on Slate, which was actually posted on Saturday (during a slow news weekend, praise You, Internet), is about how people arguing online about whether or not children should be allowed in public have made me fucking terrified to take my child in public.
It’s not just that I’m afraid I’ll end up on some rando’s Facebook thread, my (definitely bad) parenting the subject of argument and rancor the world over. It’s that now — 1200 comments and counting later — I know just how many people out there reeeeally hate me and my (awesome) baby, just because we exist. Will I take said baby to a movie? Not with a gun to my head, unless it’s a specific “Mommy Matinee” (and then I still might not, because I can’t be seen at a Mommy Matinee, are you kidding?). Will I take said baby to a bar? Even if I still drank, I would not do that unless I were in a country (such as Germany) in which babies are generally welcome in café/bar situations.
But will I take this baby on an airplane? Yes, yes I will. Am I straight-up terrified that she will decide she doesn’t want to nurse during takeoff or landing, and her ear pressure will precipitate the ear-splitting wails into which she rarely devolves if she’s in pain? Yes, yes I am.
I understand that there is ire due for parents who take their kids places kids aren’t welcome, and who don’t at least make an effort to corral those kids while out. But what about the rest of us, who meekly tiptoe into coffee shops and family diners, trembling with anticipatory shame? What about us, I say?
This article also marks my first #1 on Slate that is about neither German grocery stores nor higher education. It’s been #1 off and on for three days. So, looks like that “boycott Schuman campaign” among five assholes in the Chronicle of Higher Education forums is going great LOL hahahaha.
Speaking of which — I don’t like to admit that I periodically dip into those forums just to see what my whatever-an-opposite-of-a-fanclub is up to. But I do. (Admit it: You would too, if you were me.) The baby insists on me being with her when she naps, and she has a sixth fucking sense for when I decide to do any actual work, so I have, paradoxically, either no time whatsoever to fuck around on You (this post is still directed at the Internet) or, for bursts of 30 minutes to (sometimes) three hours, nothing but time to fuck around on You.
Anyway. While I was away from Slate on maternity hiatus, I thought long and hard about what my assiest detractors say — which is that my work is poorly substantiated (it isn’t, fuck you), my tone is The Worst (I’ll cop to that), and higher education isn’t really the way I say it is (jury still out). When I returned, I made a concerted effort — one that has required untold hours of toil, hours I do not have to spare, with a baby — to be more thoughtful in my column. So I have to say that it brought a smile to my face to see even a few CHE forum a-holes admit that I have been more thoughtful lately. My last four higher-ed pieces in a row have also gotten feedback from strangers thanking me for my thoughtfulness. THIS MATTERS TO ME A LOT. And it — thoughtfulness — is all too rare these days on You (the Internet, keep up).
Tomorrow I’ll be posting the baby’s six-month update! Time, where are you going? WHERE WHERE WHERE?
(inside joke with my friend Justin about how we hate writing kickers)