Now, I'm not talking about 'constructive criticism'. When criticism is intended to better a person or situation, and is delivered in the spirit of kindness, I have no problem.
However, there also exists 'negative criticism.' This is the kind of criticism that does nothing to "improve" a situation - and it's intent is to cause hurt. It is these critics that I probably ought not waste my time responding to.
But like I said ... I'm not too good at that.
Today during my late lunch hour ... I was checking my e-mail and as is always the case when I receive e-mail from my blog ... was excited to see what kind of comment someone left for me. When I opened the e-mail ... I first felt a wave of shock ... then embarrassment ... then mortification ... and then ... I was angry.
I logged on to my blog, deleted the comment, and stewed over what I perceived to be, negative criticism for the
rest of the afternoon next 5-minutes.
Charlie and I went for a walk this evening and I
blabbed on and on talked to him in great depth about the first negative comment I had ever received on my blog. I mulled over what it could mean. Was it possible that somebody had tapped in to my brain and accessed some of the very things I subconsciously torment myself over?
Could it be?
Was it me??
Did I unknowingly log on ... leave myself a comment ... cleanse my mind of the memory ... only to be surprised moments later when I received an e-mail message that someone had left me a comment on my blog?
Is that possible???
Charlie convinced me it was unlikely.
After some soul searching, I've decided to post the comment and examine it in it's entirety. The anonymous person who took the time to post, obviously felt compelled to express their opinion ... so I am going to try and address the cynicism and answer the questions that they have posed.
This comment was left in response to my "Daddy Duty" post, from yesterday.
"Sounds like Daddy is doing more work then mommy?? When does daddy get a break??? I think parenting should be 50/50. This is what happens when you get IV!!! Good luck and we will see how long your marriage lasts!!! Where's the sex???"
Let's start with the first sentence:
Anonymous Commenter Says: "Sounds like Daddy is doing more work then Mommy??"
Jen3 Says: (We'll ignore the fact that "then" should be spelled "than"). I suppose it could seem from my post that Daddy is in fact doing more work than Mommy. But, I think that it is also important to note that Mommy was not sitting on her duff all week watching soap operas. Alas, that would be nice, provided I enjoyed soap operas.
Rather, Mommy was leaving the house every morning at 6:30 AM, and returning home every evening at 6:30 PM ... with only 30-minutes to enjoy her children before they went to bed for the night
and she opened her requisite bottle of wine to enjoy with Daddy while watching the sun set.
For those 12-hours that Mommy was away, she was participating in very important (as in multi-million dollar important) business meetings. After having been a full-time Stay At Home Mom for the first year of our children's lives ... I wouldn't dare suggest that being at "work" is any more difficult than being at "home." However. The importance of insurance coverage - which is supplied through my employer - and bringing home a paycheck to support our family of five (5) ... cannot be overstated. Especially when you consider that three (3) members of our family go through an average of 135 diapers a week.
We use to only go through 84 diapers a week. But since our kids have become aware of when they are going "pee-pee" they insist we change their diaper for every milliliter of "pee" that is released. Even with the addition of toddler training pants whenever we are outside playing in the yard ... our diaper count has gone up almost 2-fold.
But I digress.
What really struck me about this comment is that I have on more than one occasion,
almost been successful at convincing myself I don't do enough around the house. But, that's only because my husband is amazing and does a lot to contribute to our household.
One hundred years ago ... heck ... fifty years ago ... women were home with their children. These women did everything domestic related, including, raising a family ... by themselves. They didn't even have the benefit of disposable diapers.
Thank God in Heaven above ... those days are past.
I would be absolutely flat on my ass if I was entirely responsible for raising three toddlers ... all by myself ... hand washing 135 diapers a week ... and keeping up a house in the midst of it all. Are you kidding me?! It would take a lot more than a bottle of wine to get me through the night. Elephant tranquilizers ... that's what I'm talking about.
Now a days ... many women are career women. But, they are also moms. This is where it gets very challenging. At least for me. Because I think that as women, we have this built in expectation ... on ourselves ... that we can do it all. If for some reason we can't hold it all together (i.e. have a perfect house, raise perfect children, cook perfect food, have perfect sex 7 nights a week, maintain a perfect figure, do volunteer work, attend church, participate in play dates, read books, knit blankets, update our blog) we are deficient - on some level. What's really awful is that this is a self-induced deficiency.
Better stated - we are our own worst critics.
The problem is ... many women compare themselves to this "prototype" of "Super Mom" or "Super Woman" that doesn't really exist. And if she does exist ... I guarantee, she is a walking time bomb who gets a shot of elephant tranquilizers in her hip, every night before bed.
In our home, Charlie does primarily all of the cooking and laundry. Although I may not write about it much on my blog, the reality is I have been known to cook and do a load of laundry. Sometimes - I'll even cook while I'm washing clothes. That ability to do more than one thing at once is called "multi-tasking" and I'm getting pretty
damn good at it. Minus the time I almost caught our house on fire making toast, and the time I turned all of Charlie's white undergarments pink ... I navigate around a toaster oven, washer and dryer with ease.
Quite honestly, I wish I knew the gender of the anonymous commenter. I'm really interested to know if it is a
sexist male that thinks I should be doing more work around the house ... or ... if it is a jealous female that thinks my husband is doing too much work around the house.
Anonymous Commenter Says: When does daddy get a break???
Jen3 Says: This is a great question. Charlie and I both try to be extremely cognizant of each other's needs. Sometimes that "need" is fulfilled by sitting in a hot bath with plastic "Nemo" fish bobbing around and Jimmy Buffett playing in the background while we pretend that we're in the
We both recognize the importance of "ME" time. Taking time for ourselves is extremely important because it rejuvenates our body, spirit and soul.
Since we don't have a lot of friends in town, and since we don't live near family, our "outside interaction" requires work AND persistence. This past Christmas, I bought Charlie all new tennis gear and have been chasing him out of the house for the past 8-months, every Sunday morning, so he can play doubles with a group of guys. I've also convinced him to play golf - two times a month - with a neighborhood friend. Charlie goes to the gym, at least three days a week, and has recently started running at night - and bicycling in the morning - as a means of training for the upcoming
Me on the other hand ... I haven't been to the gym in over a month.
Anonymous Commenter Says: I think parenting should be 50/50.
Jen3 Says: You and me both, BABY!!!
I think that a marriage should be 50/50, not just parenting. Sometimes, however, there are times when the split of responsibility might be 30/70 ... 20/80 .... 60/40 ... 90/10. Usually, those times coincide with when one of us is sick ... or ... swamped with work. As much as possible, I try not to keep tabs on "who did what." I don't think that mentality is very healthy in any relationship. We both know what needs to be done at home in order for our family and marriage to remain strong - and we work together as a team.
Of course ... in our situation the amount of energy required to raise toddler triplets is more like 150/150. If there is any question just how much effort and energy it takes to raise toddler triplets, you need to check out this post. And this one. And this one. And this one. Don't forget this one. Or this one. I could go on ... or, I could just direct you to the archives on the left side of this blog. Pick a story. Any story.
Anonymous Commenter Says: This is what happens when you get IV!!!
Jen3 Says: I'm not sure that I completely understand the comment. Do you mean, this is what happens when you get "In Vitro"? And if so ... I don't understand the origination of the "this is what happens" part of that sentence.
I'm going out on a limb here ... but I think it's important to make something clear.
There is no doubt in my mind, that being a parent is the hardest job on the face of God's green earth. But the hard work of parenthood is easily offset by the fact that there is no greater blessing in this world, than children.
When we struggled for years to have a baby - I felt like I was dying inside. Now that our children have finally arrived ... I have no doubt that THIS is exactly what was suppose to happen. Knowing what I know now ... I wouldn't trade our years of infertility for anything. Because had we not gone through IVF ... I wouldn't have been blessed with triplets. And quite honestly, I'd chose my life over any other ... every single day of the week ... and three times on Sunday.
So if "this is what happens when you get IV" ... I say ... bring it on.
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Anonymous Commenter Says: Good luck and we will see how long your marriage lasts!!!
Jen3 Says: When we had our first appointment with a perinatologist (high risk OB/GYN), they recommended "Selective Reduction" (i.e. terminating / aborting one of the fetuses). There were a multitude of reasons that this wasn't an option for us ... but one of the points our doctor really stressed for us to consider was the statistic that "70% of triplet marriages end in divorce."
Gosh. That seems like a really high percentage - doesn't it?
Considering the National Average for divorce is 50%, having triplets increases the likelihood for divorce by 20%. Interestingly enough - I know at least 30 triplet families, and have yet to meet one that have actually gone through a divorce. I think I know why...
After I was unsuccessful at drowning myself in the shower, I told Charlie that I was leaving. I was going someplace far, far away ... where there were no crying babies ... no horrific monitors that made my heart stop every time they went off because it could indicate our premature baby had stopped breathing ... and no 6-pound beings that could suck the skin off my chest - and most likely, the chrome off a bumper.
I was running away from home ... and I was going to sleep ... forever.
In the midst of my breakdown Charlie laughed and said, "You can't leave ... because if you do - I'll be here all by myself. And I know that you love me too much to do that!"
Charlie and I are best friends. We've known each other for 15 years ... we've been married for 12. We've seen each other through some of the best - and worst times - of our lives. But the thing that keeps our marriage really tight is that there is no way one of us could handle raising triplets, on our own.
The National Average for median duration of a marriage is 7.2 years. Considering Charlie and I are sailing towards 12 years of marital bliss this coming Sunday ... I feel pretty confident that we are in this marriage for the long haul. Our being the parents of triplets only strengthens the commitment.
Anonymous Commenter Says: Where's the sex???"
Jen3 Says: The majority of women I know have told me that their "love life" takes a substantial dip (i.e.: goes on hiatus for at least 6-months maybe more if they are nursing) after giving birth. With that in mind, you could probably imagine what giving birth to three babies - simultaneously - does to your libido. Thankfully, our marriage is about a lot more than "sex". If it wasn't, there is no way we would have survived the first year of parenthood.
When you have a full life, you have to make time for just about everything, including romance. If that means we have to put a "smiley face" on our calendar to remind ourselves that Friday night is suppose to be a time for us, than that's what it takes.
Charlie and I would gladly welcome additional children in to our lives. Because we are somewhat apprehensive about what another round of fertility treatment could do to my body, we don't know whether we will pursue IVF again, or not. But that’s not stopping us from putting smiley faces all over our calendar with the hope that we may receive a nice “surprise”. Now everyone who comes to our house will know what the smiley face on our calendar represents. Including my mother.
Our marriage isn't perfect ... which makes sense considering the two main characters of the show aren't perfect, either. But at least once every day, I try to acknowledge my husband for the wonderful person he is. We talk. We laugh. We hug. We rejoice in our blessings. We savor our good health. And along the way - we tell each other, and the world, how much we appreciate our marriage.
I've had an epiphany writing this. Even though I've been told it is a waste of energy to respond to critics - I'm glad I addressed the comment left for me yesterday. As my own worst critic ... I haven't been giving myself enough credit. But now I'm going to divert my energy to playing outside with my husband and children ... where I'm certain I will gather a plethora of material for my next blog posting.