Thursday, January 11, 2018

We Parents Walk a Fine Line When We Joke About Our Kids

As a parent, I ask myself deep questions daily, like how I can be a better mom and help my kids reach their full potential. I also ask questions like "Why did I come in this room?" and "What is that smell?" Another question I grapple with, both as a parent and as a blogger, is how to talk about my family.

I'm a humor blogger because life with kids is funny, you guys. It just is. That's why we like to swap stories with the other parents at playgroup.

Frantically waving a tiny pair of underwear beneath the hand dryer in a public restroom? Funny.

Being proud of yourself for showing up to the pediatrician's on time, only to realize you're there on the wrong day? Also funny.

A toddler who blithely skips into the room smeared from head to toe in Desitin? After you regain consciousness... well, you have to admit it's at least a little funny.

If you've got little people underfoot spilling juice and asking embarrassing questions very loudly in line at Safeway, trust me: you have plenty of material to build a successful stand-up act and take it on the road.

However, there's a risk to joking about the crazy, messy, loud life that is family life.

One minute you're making wisecracks about the pee on the toilet seat, and before you know it you're bashing the kids who got the pee there in the first place. Maybe some funny people don't even realize they went from laughing about life with kids to complaining about them. It makes me so sad to see parenting blogs calling toddlers  well, a name you can't say on TV  in the name of humor, and I wonder: is that how it happened?

I absolutely think it's possible to poke fun at the chaos without doing it at the expense of my kids, but am I doing as good a job at it as I think?

Is it possible to laugh about our chaotic, messy, noisy lives without giving families a bad name? I certainly hope so.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Once I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about the things that go out the window when you have a baby: housekeeping, basic hygiene, that kind of thing.

I expected it to make the unwashed masses of new moms laugh until they peed (not a high bar, because unfortunately bladder control is another thing that goes out the window) and then get back to loving their babies.

What I did not expect was a Facebook comment I got: "Thanks, this has just confirmed to me that I never want to have children."

Ouch.

Did I go too far in the name of being funny? Did I cross the line I hoped never to cross?

If you ask me truthfully, I don't think so. That person's comment probably had more to do with them than it did with me or what I wrote.

I don't think I need to include a disclaimer at the beginning of every blog post I write; if you've read this blog for any length of time you know it goes without saying that to me, parenthood is the greatest and most important job there is.

I write funny and sometimes sarcastic posts on the Internet about the craziness that is family life, and not because I don't think parenting is a privilege and a joy.

I write because sometimes that joy is buried under the 10-lb bag of rice my toddler just emptied all over the floor, and for me anyway, what it takes to find it again is a broom and a sense of humor.

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6 comments:

  1. I think you do a great job. People also make jokes about going to work and their jobs. Does it mean that we should never work because it can be hard and monotonous? You would come across disingenuous if all you blogged about was sunshine and roses. Who doesn't want to be aware of some of the bad that comes with being a mother in a humorous way. I have followed a few blogs that made me feel stressed and depressed because the writer constantly complaining and whiny. Yours does not do that. Instead it makes me laugh at loud and feel as though I was apart of a fun community.

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    1. I'm so glad you feel that way! I think that too, which is why my blog is staying where and how it is.

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  2. Hey,
    great job.
    nice article
    keep it up.

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  3. Never ever have your posts made me think you aren’t totally grateful for your kids and life. I love the way you write about it because it’s solidarity for all us moms. Plus, fellow moms are your target demographic, and people without kids are always going to be a bit horrified at some of these stories. But I agree...I know some people who call their kids less than appropriate words, and it makes me sad. There’s definitely a line between laughing at the hilarity of motherhood and bashing your children.

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    1. I suppose no matter how you slice it, there are some parts of parenthood that just don't sound pleasant. Before I had kids, I always threw up in my mouth a little at the idea of sharing a drink with a child. 13 years in and I have probably drunk my weight in graham cracker backwash (but if I'm honest, still prefer not to think about it!)

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  4. I think you do a good job at finding the balance between the two.
    Totally get the struggle between the two as well. It is fun to laugh about life, and it can be easy to go to far if not guarded against.
    It is also like with kids getting older. I rarely speak of my oldest child on my blog. Because he is more of a private person and I would never want someone to violate my privacy.
    That's part of our vlog and blog promise to each other. We never film, or post anything that would hurt that person or embarrass them later.
    I still have loads of fun laughing along with the children who are up in my arm pits all day though. :)

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