An Attitude of Gratitude

I learned my life lessons from 80’s television.  If you tapped a cane on the floor right now I would stand up straight.  I would grab the back of a chair and lift my chin.  In my mind I would hear Debbie Allen saying  “You want fame? … Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying. With sweat.”

Some time in the early 1990s I decided that sweatshirts with the neck cut out were maybe not the very best look for me.  And I abandoned my dreams for Fame.  I hung up my legwarmers and decided Fame wasn’t for me.

A couple of days ago I contributed a picture to The Feminist Breeder’s Normalize Breastfeeding Campaign on Facebook.  I chose to send a picture of myself sitting down after an excellent day. Lucy was nursing and I was having a glass of wine.  It was the perfect image to reject the idea that nursing mothers have to spend their lives cooped up in a nursery, missing out.  Gina’s “offensive” picture featured a piece of bacon and a nursing baby.  I thought it was amusing to feature a glass of wine and a nursing baby because Facebook is clearly pro-pictures of people with a drink in their hand.

I have been blogging in my little corner of the Internet for almost three years. It has been a great way for me to hash out my feelings as my life progressed from single parent to a married mother of two.  It served as a record of my pregnancy and Emily growing from a teeny little thing to the 7 year old going on 17 that she is today.  I have been honest.  I have talked openly about my insecurities and my struggles with being a woman and received a lot of “Good for you!” and “Thanks for sharing” and pats on the back.

And then yesterday the picture posted of me having a glass of wine while nursing my baby and within an hour I had that icky “what have I done?” feeling.  Comments racked up and the great majority were negative it seemed.  These weren’t people that read here and support me.  These were strangers sharing misinformation (that breastfeeding and a glass of wine don’t mix) and saying that I was a lousy mother.  (My favorite being the woman that pointed out that I was ignoring my baby when I looked at the camera!)

Every day I aim to choose happiness.  I choose to see the good and the joy in the smallest moments.  It is part of who I am.  Yesterday was a test.  I kept waiting to feel my stomach flip flop and a tear escape my eyes as I read another comment from a stranger about how I was classless.  But it didn’t happen.  Because I didn’t need to look very hard to see that there were really only a handful of people shaming me.  And they were doing so from a place of lack of knowledge.  They really believed that you can’t nurse a baby and have a glass of wine.  Shame on them for judging me? Maybe.  But don’t we all just do the best we can with the information we’ve got?  And for every criticism there were more than a dozen women that said “this picture is great!” or that I looked so relaxed and happy.  Or that I had great eyeglasses.  (Special thanks to them because amidst a persecution of your character it is important to remind yourself that you are fashionable!)

This morning I am taking the opportunity not to speak to the judgement and the misinformation (largely because the inimitable Amy West has already done so.)  Instead I choose to thank my friends and the many strangers that responded on the Facebook thread or on Twitter.  So many of you spoke up to say “Hey, you are doing a great job, keep on keeping on.” And really? If I am honest – thank you to the folks that said you can’t have an alcoholic beverage and nurse a baby because it was an excellent platform for dispelling that widely believed myth.

My last thank you goes out to the women and men that spewed the kind of garbage that can only be done from behind the protection of your computer screen.  You probably didn’t mean to.  But you made this girl with her tiny little blog feel famous!  Because you aren’t Internet Famous unless somebody hates you.  I am going to have to wear a clean velour sweatsuit every time I leave the house if y’all keep this up.  I might even need to bust out that sweatshirt with the neck cut out and some legwarmers.  Rumor has it – Fame costs, but I can take it.

Even as a child I knew I had to suffer for my art!

43 responses to “An Attitude of Gratitude

  1. Well, I didn’t know that you could drink at all when you were breast feeding. I’m happy to hear that you can in moderation, etc., because man did I think that was a bummer. I mean, no drinking while pregnant and then ALSO not while you’re breastfeeding? That hardly seemed fair.

  2. I’ve had a few moments of “ick” for sure, and it used to bother me. Now I just can’t bother with that crap. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than you are because they don’t agree with your choices. I saw the picture, and it wasn’t bad. Screw those people.

  3. “Because you aren’t Internet Famous unless somebody hates you.”

    I love this! And can only hope that I too one day have critics ^.^ And I’m one of the, “Go girl!” Crowd! That picture sounds absolutely FAN-freaking-Tastic!! Love, LOVE it!

  4. Rock on Kelly … rock on :)

  5. Your attitude through all this is very admirable. I <3 your courage.

  6. People are idiots (but I’ll bet you already knew that).

  7. Oh, god, Fame was absolutely one of my faves, hands down!! I wanted to live forever, and learn how to fly!! I miss the 80’s. . . . .Not that I count, but I think you totally rock!! If it was up to me, we would be friends. ;)

  8. I love this! I shared on Facebook.i do not understand the baby + boob = bad mentality.

  9. Someone once told me that you can’t possibly be a good writer if you are worrying what people will think when they read what you write. As a fellow writer and blogger, I feel your momentary “ick.” As a fellow mother, former breast-feeder and then and now wine drinker, to you I say in vino veritas! You seem like an awesome mom to me.

  10. Can you explain this one to me?
    1) Showing most of the boob for Sexytime = not offensive to most
    2) Having a drink of booze in a pic = FB standard
    3) Feeding a baby = NO NO NO PUT THAT AWAY!
    4) Feeding a baby + a drink of booze = I must comment on this immediately! I have morals that I want to tell you about!

    PS – I am pretty sure I read your blog while having a beer and feeding A2 nightly. Because it’s just fine. <3

  11. Love that you were able to realize on your own that the vast majority of comments were positive. Am amazed that you didn’t cry over the negative ones. Super glad that you are getting the recognition you deserve.

  12. Sending you a pair of garden green wellies. When you walk on water (since in my heart and mind that’s what you do) I want to be sure your feet stay dry. You’ve gathered a whole flock of watchers along the shoreline who aren’t going to let you do this all by yourself…..

  13. Haters gon’ hate, boo. I think that’s a quote from Tupac but I can’t be sure. Also? Any person who can pull off a steak costume is meant for fame. Tupac might’ve also said that, too.

  14. I just simply love you! I love your way with words, I love your attitude on life and I love your honesty. I just simply love you!

  15. I like you. I like what you stand for. I’m grateful our blogging paths have crossed. And I’m trying to forget everything I learned from 80’s tv.

  16. 1. You are AWESOME.

    2. You come by it honestly, because your GDM is awesome, too.


  17. That picture is absolutely priceless. Oh yeah the bf-ing one is pretty good, but you as a steak with white tights. That is amazing. “You’re gonna live forever!”

  18. Oh judgy moms. Don’t even get me started. I think it’s a great thing you’re living your life, your motherhood exactly the way you want to. And you’ve summed it up so eloquently. I’m so tired of people for judging others for doing something differently than they would. And you do look happy and your kid looks fed. Those are the only two things that matter in that picture. Great breastfeeding pic by the way and the one on this post is pretty awesome, too.

  19. Ignorance. And the need to put someone else down to make themselves feel better. It’s pretty ridiculous. In the comments of one article I was interviewed for I was told both that I was a terrible mother for going back to work and not staying home to nurse my baby 24/7 and that I was *sexually abusing* my daughter by nursing her until she was two.

    People throw their shit around like monkeys in the zoo. I’m glad to know you aren’t letting their stink linger.

  20. Wait a sec…you got your life lessons from 80s television? What am I, chopped liver? no wait, I was next to you on the couch in the dark, telling you that I wouldn’t take credit for your successes nor blame for your mistakes. So far I’ve had to bite my tongue a lot not to take credit. You, your boobies AND your glass of wine make me proud , Kel. Famous or infamous, you’re one of a kind with or without the legwarmers.

  21. Breastfeeding Judgmental Moms have been around for all time. I had to put up with them and their “just do it this way and you’ll have enough milk” crap 17 years ago. I’m sorry we haven’t change much and that now you have to get it from people in other countries! There wasn’t much Internet when my son was nursing and there really wasn’t any blogging. You and your glass of wine and your boobies just hang in there. Oh! And what’s with harshing on you for not gazing lovingly at someone who’s staring at your boob? And then there are those nursing cover-up-the-baby things that everyone’s using. You’d have to have X-ray eyes to lovingly gaze through those things.

Gimme some love!! Please?

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