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"Parenthood is all about details"

Once upon a time in a land far far away, there was a world full of wonderful caring and compassionate women who didn’t spend their days making other women feel like crap.
Then that world was exploded by a dark, evil, and condescending force into tiny little bits and pieces; those who survived have spent eternity trying to put back together the remains.

The Evil Witch will be played by:  Judgmental strangers
The Heroine will be played by:      Mothers who accept differences
The Setting:                                  Facebooklandia

It all started with a picture. One solitary picture. Doesn’t it always? They, whomever “they” are, say a picture is worth a thousand words. I didn’t give mine so many- only 55, but since then I have come up with a lot more.

Sunday was a lovely day here, better than the rain we’d been experiencing for what felt like weeks- and when it’s nice out like that, we HAVE to get out of the house. No use wasting good weather right before ‘cold as balls’ sets in for relentless months on end.
We decided on Busch Gardens, especially since they had all of their Halloween decorations up, and as you all well know- I can NEVER pass up anything pumpkin and they have some kick-ass pumpkin cheesecake to snort up while watching Halloween themed shows. Win/win.

Of course, I’m well aware that every time we go to Busch Gardens, we will always have to make an extended stop at the animal preserve area. Busch Gardens is super into animals and Jack Hanna- who knew? Usually there are handlers out and about showcasing different animals they have; usually these consist of parrots, giant rats, and assorted lizards. Go fig during Howl-o-Scream, it would be snakes (thank the sweet grilled cheezus it wasn’t tarantulas or I would have taken off running in the other direction, pumpkin cheesecake be damned!)

I’m not terrified of snakes, but you can bet your ass if I saw one slither in front of me I’d freak out a little more than slightly- so yeah, I think the correct term here would be ‘scared.’ Obviously, I had no interest in touching the snake, and DEFINITELY not holding the beast- but the boys were so excited at the prospect that I couldn’t really justify slight fear as a reason to tell them no.
That’s kind of a part of parenting, isn’t it? Doing things you might not necessarily want to do, but it’s such a good experience for your kids that you just suck it the hell up and do it.

Being proud of my little fear-conquering accomplishment, I posted the photo on my Facebook page with the following 55-word caption:

Sweet, right? I sure thought so.
The next morning I woke up to a comment on this picture that caught me off guard. It was completely out of left field and I instantly found myself, for lack of a better word: annoyed.
I get crappy comments on my page all.the.time, but this one struck a nerve with me.

My blood started to boil and I could feel myself beginning to seethe. This is the exact kind of thing I speak out about all the time. The kind of thing that just shouldn’t happen. Questioning my parenting based on… THEIR HAIR? Telling me to put a clip in two little BOYS’ hair to keep it out of their eyes? Are we being serious here? Why??

Let’s make a few things clear before we move on
1) If you haven’t met my kids, you cannot assume their hair is in their eyes all of the time. It isn’t.
2) It’s JUST HAIR
3) It’s none of your damn business
4) The length of their hair has nothing to do with what parenthood is all about, you cannot break parenthood down to these “details”- there is so much more to concern ourselves with; IMPORTANT things.

But here’s the thing, that is not what bothered me the most about this woman’s statements on my children’s hair and my apparent lack of parenting skills due to it.

I shared the photo a few days after the fact in order to make a point, and when I did so I received a ton of responses that were all along the lines of “Oh their hair is fine!”
While that’s all well and good (and I totally agree), it was missing the point of WHY I was actually mad; WHY I chose to even bother responding to it or making any kind of spectacle out of the situation.

I wasn’t pissed that someone had expressed distaste for the length of my children’s hair. I could not give two shits less if someone doesn’t like their hair. If I’ve lived through multiple older folks walking up to my kids and mistaking them for girls due to their hair length (and one even suggested I was lying about their gender)- one little cheerio-pissing a-hole on a single picture telling me to cut their hair certainly wasn’t going to faze me.
The problem is that someone could look at that picture and instead of seeing the smiles on all of our faces and the happiness that exuded from them, past the caption that read how parenting is sometimes about doing things we don’t like to enrich the lives of our children- to miss out on the entire concept of the photo of a mother spending quality time with her children to just criticize my parenting because of the length of my kids’ HAIR. THAT is a problem; and it’s a rising fundamental problem with our society today.

The need to cut others down and make each other feel like crap over the most minuscule thing is happening more and more frequently- especially between women. Even more so between mothers. I wish I could tell you why, but I can’t.

If you can look at a picture of a mother enjoying time with her children and decide that the only thing you can see that is worth commenting on is the length of the child’s hair- perhaps you should get your vision checked. You should ask yourself WHY is that the only thing you found of worth to comment on; why would you feel the insatiable urge to ruin the message and beauty of a photo that is harmless to you?

Yes, Parenthood IS about details, “Judgmental Stranger”- it absolutely is… but none of those details include the length of one’s hair, or how often they get it cut, it’s not about the look of a single picture where this hair might fall into someone’s eyes. It’s also not about what brand of clothing we choose to put them in or how much they cost. Parenthood has nothing to do with forcing our children to color inside the lines, or how many dirty dishes are in the sink.

The details that matter are that our children feel love and supported no matter what they do or stupid choices they make; that we teach them compassion and kindness and forgiveness; that we don’t let the little shit keep us from doing something that can make lasting memories.
Life is too short to worry about the little things, and especially too short to waste our time making someone else feel bad over insignificant things that we may not agree with. Raising kids is the hardest thing most of us will ever do- why not support each other instead of attempting to convince others they are failures?
When will we all realize that no one person parents the same exact way as another? When will enough be enough? If we are doing the best we can for our children, and they are happy- that should be enough.

We each get one life, one chance to make the most of it- do you really want to spend your days making those days worse for someone else, or teaching your children that that kind of behavior is acceptable?

I don’t.
I’d rather spend my days trying to live weirdly, laughingly, and happily ever after.

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Holdin' Holden 31 Comments
Holdin' Holden

About Holdin' Holden

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31 Comments

  • *Stands and applauds*

  • I’m not a mom and I read your blog and I enjoy it. Honey, you’re never gonna win this. Some people (mostly women) are in this world to attack others and get their jollies doing so. So you have hairy kids. Big effing deal. Sorry about the bullies and meanies. They seem to hang out on FB just to annoy the ever loving poo outta some of us. Love your kids, hate the bitches and keep on keeping on. You can try for years but some people will NEVER get why you were upset. It had jackcrap to do with hair length. They’ll never see past that. Long haired boys equals bad mom. I bet your boys will remember that snake holding you did one helluva lot longer than whether or not their hair was in their eyes. Sheesh.

  • I love it! I love you! Screw the haters! You’re an awesome mom and it was a great picture.

  • Kudos x a billion. I love it. Great job Holding Holden.

  • Bravo! Well said. It is too bad that many people use their own lack of confidence in their parenting skills as a reason to attack others and play the Judgey McJudgerson role. Raising a child isn’t about doing everything right, it’s about doing everything with love! Rock on mama!

  • People who post about others children on FB are seriously 1 french fry short of a happy meal… I mean.. really… I saw a a lovely young mom with her two boys doing something that …. well.. if I were a young mom I certainly would not be in that picture because slimy creepy things.. are .. slimy and creepy.. not the boys they are gorgeous I am talking about that longish thing they are touching.. makes my skin crawl… Seriously .. I have a hard time understanding how someone focused on something so insignifigant and missed the entire photo… and for the record I love long hair on boys… and hate those militant hair cuts I see so many little boys with.. totally do not get the shaving the head thing.. EVER.. they are gorgeous and so are you..!

  • At the end of the day, your kids are going to remember the time you spent with them, and the look on your face, when they held a snake…..those memories will be with them forever. The women who felt compelled to comment on your child’s hair has some obvious issues. Don’t allow such an “ugly” person to take away from such a special day with your family.

  • You said it perfectly. I love that you worry about whether your boys are happy or not & what you did in that picture with your boys is exactly what any good mom would do. You are right, being a parent is hard, but it comes with learning how to live in the moment, even if it’s just to do something you would absolutely hate doing just for your kiddos. It’s trying not to worry about all the little things that just don’t matter (& yes, haircuts are not that important to me either!) however, having fun with your kids, showing them love & attention, doing things you would rather not do but you do them anyways bc you know it makes your kids happy, making memories, showing kindness, compassion & love are important & everyone has their own way of doing it, which is what makes us unique & different, so you are right, why not come together & support each other as parents & individuals. I love that you were & are brave enough to post your pics & to stand up to the bullies & haters & probably jealous moms! 🙂

  • Dang. I was so enamored of the ball python that I didn’t notice your kids’ hair. I missed a great opportunity to judge someone else’s parenting. I hate it when I do that. My son’s hair isn’t that long. Of course, you can’t tell because he wears a bicycle helmet 23 1/2 hours out of the day and has a tantrum if I try to take it off. And sometimes he eats paste (who doesn’t, really). And he keeps shoving beans up his nose. But his hair is short.

    People are weird. They’ll latch on to the strangest things and think they’re doing you a favor by pointing them out. I’m sorry that happened to you.

  • I know which Mum I’D rather have! Keep on rocking! (She’s probably just jealous! Silly Cow!)

  • Holy shit!! What is wrong with people? I get it. The reason you are mad is because you shouldn’t ever have to defend yourself. EVER.
    Your boys look adorable in this pic and more importantly, HAPPY!!!!
    I posted a mom shaming pic on my blog a few weeks ago and got shit for it. I ate the last granola bar and lied to my 4 yr old. People were like “this mom needs to stop taking pics and go grocery shopping” and “this mom is a bitch who lies to her kid”. UGH!!! whatever. You are awesome! And we are all just doing our best, why can’t we have each other’s backs?

  • I agree with Laura PoolGirl…there will always be some idiot criticizing you for something because they’re lacking as a parent in their own right and want to attack someone for their failures. You are all about your kids and that’s great. Who cares about their hair? Are they smiling? Yes! Well, that’s all that matters. You’re happy, they’re happy, end of story! I know it’s easier said than done, but you can’t let someone’s petty comments affect you to such an extent because that allows them the victory they so desire. They are relishing in what they feel was a successful blitz on a happy mother who loves their children (because God forbid in this day and age that we care for our kids). You keep doing what you do because you rock and your kids will always know how much you loved them. That’s all that matters.

  • “Yes, Parenthood IS about details, “Judgmental Stranger”- it absolutely is… but none of those details include the length of one’s hair, or how often they get it cut, it’s not about the look of a single picture where this hair might fall into someone’s eyes. It’s also not about what brand of clothing we choose to put them in or how much they cost. Parenthood has nothing to do with forcing our children to color inside the lines, or how many dirty dishes are in the sink.”

    This. 😉 So very much THIS!

  • thank you all! Funny thing is, I STILL got a comment on this blog saying I was being too touchy and perhaps I should trim my kids’ hair- AYKFM? Someone failed to read the blog.
    This shit will ALWAYS happen, and it’s sad and pathetic- but as long as there are more of us than them- I think we can persevere

  • 100% agree! Oh, and what I saw in the picture was two happy boys, a huge freaking snake, and mom who smiled through fear all in the name of love. Kudos to you and I’m with you on the tarantula, but I’m grabbing cheesecake on the way out!

  • I didn’t even notice their hair!! I had to scroll back and look after I read Judgmental Bitch’s — oops I mean “Stranger’s”– comment. They are beautiful, and you are a good mommy.

  • When I was smaller my class went on a field trip. An over nighter. Well my mom was the one that stayed up late with me and we walked all over the place. I don’t remember any of the rooms justthat we weren’t supposed to b in them. Those are the details I love about my childhood. Spending time with my mom when everyone else was sleeping.

  • I didn’t notice the hair in the eyes til I read it. Just saw the happiness exuding from them and their mommy.

  • I am impressed with your verbage control on this pathetic attempt to gain attention! Keep being you(for us)pure selfishness on my part) and for those beautiful and handsome children! You know me and the spider thing 0hhh So right there with ya…

  • Keep on Keeping on my friend – Some people!!! Geesh. You hit every nail on the head with this…..Details are more important when they are not materialistic.

    Love me some HH point of views 🙂

  • I DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE THE HAIR. ALL I SAW WAS YOU AND THE BOYS SMILING AND HOLDING THAT SNAKE WHICH NO MATTER WHAT I COULD NEVER DO. I’M AN OLD LADY.I’VE NEVER TOUCH A TOAD, SNAKE OR ANYTHING BOYS LIKE SO HIGH FIVE FOR YOU DOING WHAT’S BEST. JUST HAVING FUN WITH THE BOYS.I THOUGHT IT WAS NEAT THAT YOU COULD DO IT. EVEN AT MY AGE THERE’RE BULLIES THAT LIKE TO TELL ME THAT I RAIN ON OTHERS PARADES ON A CERTAIN BLOG [NOT THE PERSON THAT HAS THE BLOG JUST A PERSON THAT SHOOTS HER MOUTH OFF ALL THE TIME BECAUSE I RAMBLE ON ABOUT SOMETHING IN MY LIFE THAT I WANT TO SHARE THAT RESEMBLES THE STORY. I WAS VERY HURT BECAUSE IT TOO WAS NONE OF HER BUSINESS [NOT HER BLOG] SHE JUST WANTS TO LET EVERYONE THINK SHE KNOWS EVERYTHING. I JUST STOPPED COMMENTS BACK TO HER AND CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE PERSON BLOG. IT’S LIKE WHEN I TYPE IN LARGE LETTERS. I DO SO I CAN SEE WHAT I’M WRITING. WAY BACK ON ANOTHER BLOG SHE GOES TO[I’VE LEFT THAT BLOG]SHE JUST HAD TO CORRECT ME FOR TYPING IN THE LARGE LETTERS ETC. SO WHATS THE BIG DEAL.THAT RULE IS NOT MY RULE. DOES THE LARGE LETTERS ACTUALLY HURT SOMEONE? IT’S WHAT I DO. SO YOU SEE I ALSO UNDERSTAND ABOUT BULLIES.THIS PERSON HAS DONE IT TO ME OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I JUST WONDER IF ANYONE SEES HER FOR HER HURTFUL COMMENTS.YES,SHE MAYBE A SWEET PERSON BUT I’D LIKE TO TELL HER TO BACK OFF AND STOP HURTING OTHERS WITH HER WORDS. I DON’T THINK SHE DOES IT ON PURPOSE BUT I’M DONE WITH HER COMMENTS.SHE KNOWS WHO SHE IS– PERIOD.I WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED IF SHE LOOKS AT THIS BLOG TODAY NONSTOPMOM SENT US HERE BUT THEN I THINK SHE’S GOING OUT OF TOWN FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS.I’M NOT SAYING I DON’T LIKE THE PERSON, I’M SAYING I DON’T LIKE BEING PUT DOWN BY HER THOUGHTS BECAUSE I DON’T DO IT HER WAY.

    JUST A GRANNY IN FLORIDA, MAYBE EVEN NEAR YOU IF YOU GO TO BGARDENS ALL THE TIME. HIGH 5 GIRL.

  • I noticed their hair, only because I think it is so adorable. Both my boys wore their hair longer when they were younger. All by their choice, I knew what battles to fight and hair is not one of them. Now I have a 20 yr old who wears it extremely short usually with some bright color in it. He’s a junior in art school who draws incredible because I chose to not worry about his hair and spend my time encouraging him to do what he loved and was great at since he could pick up crayons. The 16 yr old still wears his hair long and it’s very curly. Both my boys grew up to be polite handsome awesome boys and I have the best relationship with them. So my boys are living proof you can parent great kids even while their hair is long lol This person who posted the comments probably doesn’t even have kids so has no clue what parenting means. Your boys are only going to remember the fun happy times you guys spend together.

  • Does that evil person have kids???! There are more important things to worry about than hair cuts!

  • All I saw in the pic was that big ass snake….*cringes* did not even notice your kids’ hair until you mentioned it and then I was like who has time to comment on that. The snake is the problem. LOL. Forget them. I love your blog.

  • Women out there need to step back and realize that they are no where near perfect. I know I am not. What matters the most is that my kids are happy. I really feel as if all mothers should help each other, but we all know that is a fantsey world and its just not gonna happen! Seeing my kids smile is one of the best feeling any mother can cherish forever. Making memories that our kids can share with their kids is the biggest detail that a parent can have. The little booger eaters that I have may drive me to the brink of sanity at times, but when they smile that smile it just makes me forget all the stress and realize that life is wayyy to short to sweat the small stuff. Such nastiness over hair is completely insane to me. What I see is love that will last forever and that is a day your boys will remember for the rest of their lives

  • You said it best with, “It’s none of their damn business.”

  • The pic was super adorable!!! Who cares about the hair?? The kids are cute!!! It suits them!! I, too, was bullied like crazy when my son was growing up. I remember one incident very clear. My son was about 2 and rambunctious as can be. We were all in a restaurant when a “friend” quite clearly and loudly announced that HER child would NEVER act like that (he was playing with a car at the table and actually being very good). I just smiled and looked at her and said I’m sure her child wouldn’t act like him either. But, it hurt….it really HURT!! Anyway now few years down the road and the “kids” are now 18…her child…on drugs & alcohol & pregnant with her 2nd baby! My son…high school graduate, has a 20 year life plan and goals and entering the Marines. Hmmm….wonder what happened there??

  • I love the long hair I didn’t see the first post with this pic but I did see the second I saw a very happy family pic with boys that are happy that they got their mommy to touch a snake!! Don’t let the idiots bullshit comments get to you my sons hair was pretty long until he was almost 3 and then asked for it to be cut cuz it was “too hot with it all ” My 2 nephews had their hair long since they were born and only recently cut it cuz they had lice from school :\ I hated that they had to cut it yes they are still cute as hell but I loved! their long hair It’s the child’s choice once they start talking they can tell you what they want ( don’t they always?) Now off the dam hair thing!! I love this pic of you guys it’s a great pic showing a mom spending time with her boys witch later down the line won’t happen as much this is the time to cherish I’m sure you get tons of negative comments but don’t let them phase you we love you we love your boys your family and of course your blog !

  • As a long haired dad/stepdad I know the looks I get when I am out with the boys and their mother is at work. It is disgusting. My children chose to keep their hair short for their own reasons so it makes for an odd scene. I even was approached by mall security once because someone thought I was kidnapping the boys, it must have been the worlds greatest dad shirt and us all laughing together that tipped them off.
    Keep rocking as a great mom, you doing fine and just remember those that criticize are hiding behind the pain of their own failure