The Mother of All Critics

Blogwise, I’ve been sort of quiet the last couple of days. The reason? My mom has been in town. I never get anything done while she’s here. Too much tea to drink, too little time. Also, something she said to me a couple of days ago made me more unproductive than usual. She told me she doesn’t read this blog because I put myself down too much in it. She said it upsets her.

Now, neither of my parents read my blog. I’ve known this for a while. I haven’t known the reason, but I assumed it was something minor. Perhaps they thought it trite. (It is.) Or they couldn’t figure out “how to get to it.” (Links can be challenging.) Or they had better things to do. (Who doesn’t?) But because it’s too heavy on the self-put-downs? According to my mother, of all people? The empress of self-deprecation? A woman who apologizes for every meal she serves before anyone’s even lifted a fork? That was a real surprise.

And it gives me pause. I certainly don’t want to bum anyone out. Least of all my dear mom.

But, look. Are there not, already, enough “aspirational blogs” out there? Can we not get our fill of hotshot housewives, connoisseur cooks, and gardening geniuses elsewhere? Everyone does something superlatively these days, and they all want to talk about it. I do things in a mediocre way. I want to brag about that. I’ve always been contrary.

Secondly, as I pointed out to my mother, I’m not universally self-deprecating. I have stated, repeatedly, that I am very enthusiastic. I read a lot. I make excellent “Tired” tee shirts. My pesto is unbeatable. And I never put down my parenting. Almost never, anyway. I’m a pretty good mom, and I know this. Although my daughter did run around for several hours yesterday in a diaper encrusted on the outside with something that looked remarkably like spice rub. We were at the beach and — I confess — it was the only one I had in my diaper bag. It was clean. On the inside, at least. I changed her as soon as we got home. No harm, no foul.

I have digressed. My point is this: people have many strengths. They also have many failings. I find the latter more interesting. From my perspective I’m not dwelling on mine, I’m just dwelling with them.

But if you’re reading, Mom? (Which, of course, we know you’re not?) I’m sorry my blog bums you out. It’s not meant to. Just for the record, I’m really happy with my life. I would be a stupid, feckless nincompoop to be otherwise. But if I can’t make fun of the things I do badly, then what’s the point of having a sense of humor at all?

And if you don’t want to laugh at me in a laughing-with-me kind of way? I totally understand. I won’t hold it against you. And you know what? There’s a housewife in Texas who has a blog you’ll just love. I hear she’s got a great spice rub post, too.

3 thoughts on “The Mother of All Critics

  1. Jeff McElroy

    I’m glad I read the entire post and didn’t get distracted. For a second there, I thought, “Oh my God! All this time I’ve been enjoying the self-depricating humor and now I find she’s completely serious!” I would have freaked (or as Kentucky country folk say: “had a spell!”).
    I have a similar sense of humor. When you go to an inner-city, public school as I did, it’s a survival technique one must acquire. If you laugh before they do, then they have no choice but to laugh with you. Besides that, it makes life one hell of a lot more enjoyable, especially when times are tough. I adore your posts nearly as much as your mom apparently adores you.

    Your biggest not-laughing-at-you-laughing-with-you fan!

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