( Sharing this photo because nothing says “best years of my life” like a nap photo with a two year old. )
I’m ok! Today I shared on IG about how I plan to create a new boundary when sharing stuff about my kids. I’m testing out leaving comments turned off on those posts. It might not actually help, but I have been thinking about doing it for months and it’s worth a try.
A lot of people seemed worried (my DMs got crazy fast) so I thought it would be good to just share a big post here to go further into my thoughts on the subject. If you like long and rambly posts- today is your lucky day!
After 13 years of blogging I am pretty well conditioned for absorbing critique. Eh- at least most of the time. In fact a lot of times it helps me! But parenting critiques have been far less helpful than some of the other stuff because most of it is pure judgement and not based on reality. Every once in a while there are helpful critiques too (like fix your kids safety belt or look into ISR swim lessons) but a lot of what I experience is pure projection. It’s confusing to receive because I don’t even know where it’s coming from or why anyone would think it was true in the first place. It can be extreme. And while I am able to brush off so many other kinds of critique (like call me fat and ugly all day, those I can handle these days) it still gets under my skin when the commenter seems to believe they are somehow helping my children by putting me down as a parent.
My therapist gave me this beautiful advice that I think about ever day… “When people are hurting they do three things. 1. They blame 2. They judge 3. They hide”. Yep… sounds like 2020! I now see it everywhere I look.
The truth is, I love being a mom. I’m not a perfect mom, of course, and I’m still learning. I’m surviving daily with far less support due to COVID and I’m frequently in need of that “five minute break” that all moms know about.
Still, even after the longest days- I love being a mom. It’s the happiest time in my life! We’re making crafts and cookies and watching Disney+ and reading stories. We’re playing hide and seek and swimming and Facetimeing with grandmas. It’s a beautiful season!
Then occasionally I get a comment or a DM that messes up my day and turns into this dark cloud I can’t get rid of. Lately it’s more often. They get pretty dark and they come at the strangest times. A lot of times they come in during very happy times like even Christmas. The past few years I noticed I always get a bunch of weirdly personal stuff coming in the week of Christmas. It makes sense I guess, but it was weird getting used too that.
I try to ignore them and be “a Hillary” as my sister always says (Hillary putting on her sunglasses is our favorite meme) but I’m not always successful. Sometimes they get in my head, sometimes they put me in a bad mood and I end up needing to have long conversations with my husband about it. They steal a lot of energy and before I even realize I’m letting it happen, the energy is gone.
Even when I don’t engage with these comments, it’s stressful for me to see a lot of other people jumping in and fighting. I can’t spend my day moderating fights, and I’m not good at it. So that’s why I decided to turn the comments off. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. But I’m trying it.
I need to preserve my energy for my family and my work- which takes 99% of everything I have every single day. So there’s really nothing left. When I really zoom out it’s so easy to see that these “little kid” years are so special and so fleeting. I don’t want to waste a single day of it.
Did you know adoptive parents are judged in ways most people don’t realize? I didn’t know this when I first started our adoption journey. I learned it over time. A few seasons ago I was helping my close friend raise money to adopt her daughter. One day I got a message from a stranger saying that they would like to donate to my friend’s gofundme, but they felt they couldn’t do that because they didn’t know her and therefore they didn’t know if she was really fit to be a mom. This offended me to my core, and I’m still angry thinking about it now.
Another day I got a comment saying, “if your friend can’t afford her adoption how can she raise a child”. Last time I checked people having biological children don’t have to have 30-50k in spare cash to prove themselves worthy. It should never be shameful to fundraise for adoption- most of it goes toward administrative fees for agencies and social workers whose full-time job is helping to being families together.
These are just two examples but, believe me, the examples are seemingly endless. There’s more bias out there than I even imagined toward people who choose to adopt, and a ton of judgement that helps absolutely no one.
Adoptive parents go through vetting and training from a social worker, which is something that biological parents are not required to do. So to think that someone thinks we all need *extra* vetting from internet followers, is so backwards. No one needs a random internet follower to check up on their parenting, but especially not adoptive parents who have this kind of support and check ins from professionals trained specifically in adoption related traumas. By the way, I’m typing all this out because I know that 90% of people don’t know this stuff- so don’t feel bad if you didn’t know before! Just remember that if you’re not a social worker it’s not your job to judge some on Instagram’s fitness to become a parent.
Just one day after we adopted Marigold I received a comment stating that we “stole” her. This is an example of something that probably wouldn’t happen to a biological parent. It’s bizarre to realize that while we are fully parents to our children in every possible way, that there are always going to be people watching us considering us lesser than and believing that it’s somehow their responsibility to keep us in check.
Time and again the fact that my children are adopted has been used a weapon against me, and a tool to justify extremely judgemental comments. I understand that some people see a white blogger raising two asian children and assume the worst, that we don’t honor their culture or that we are trying to whitewash their lives. Truly, I get it. I welcome the challenge to do more and do better. Just two days ago Jeremy and I were talking about how we want to get a Mandarin tutor for our girls- hold me to it! The accountability and a push to be better are good- but the judgement that we’re not even trying or we don’t care is unhelpful.
Where I have to draw a line is where people who don’t seem to know us or our family at all feel a need to slide in and tell me how badly I am doing. I truly am open to learning- and I hope to be a better parent every year. But why assume that I don’t care or am not trying? I will tell you right now- we’re not perfect, but we are trying so hard.
We love our children with all our hearts. A huge support to us has been surrounding ourselves with adult adoptees and adults with albinism. These perspectives lend so much to us in filling in the gaps. They are an invaluable resource to us. We have support, accountability and continuing education in our lives.
Take care of yourself. It’s 2020. We’re all exhausted, we’re all fearful, we’re all somewhat traumatized from COVID and the election and being isolated, whether that’s alone or with little people who need us.
Unfortunately, it’s not over yet. Every day I search for some little pep talk inside myself about how “it’s almost over” but it’s not- it could still get worse.
With all that in mind- take care of yourself! Set whatever boundaries might help you. Don’t be afraid to change or modify your plans. Be kind to yourself. There are going to be days where no one else has the capacity to help you- so preserve your energy so you can help yourself. When you have a chance to, be kind and generous with others. This is a marathon.
Thank you for all the kind words. If anything I feel more motivated to share about adoption in the future. November is adoption awareness month, so I’ll work toward having some new posts for you then because I still get emails and DMs every week from families considering adoption. It’s truly the best thing that ever happened to us. Here are my past adoption related archives. Sending love to all of you!!!! **puts on Hillary sunglasses**