I’ve been the Monday blogger here at momaha.com since the beginning; that’s more than 2 1/2 years. I’ve written more than 130 blog posts, had a short radio stint, and attended countless events where I’ve had a blast meeting you.
After last week’s blog, I seriously considered giving it all up. I really wondered if what I was doing was worth it for me and my family.
Each week I spend time acting like a crazy woman as I go through my writing process — brainstorming a topic, writing a post, disliking it and rewriting the blog. My husband and children indulge me even if they do think I’ve finally lost it. Then there are the occasions I am gone to attend momaha events – while my husband and kids miss me, they encourage me to go. When I complain that I have nothing to say or worry that I’ve jumped the shark, my family cheers me on.
Then there are the comments my blog generates.
I knew certain blog topics would attract comments and accepting the feedback was part of the job. Honestly, I was thrilled about it. Having the ability to interact with readers in such real-time is amazing. I didn’t even mind the comments that disagreed with me – in fact I welcomed them. But it seems everything progresses.
Many times the comments have become heated. I have been called a bigot, a poor excuse for a mother, and a bully among other names. Readers have suggested my only goal is to stir the pot, that my writing is the worst thing they’ve ever read, and that they aren’t sure why anyone would read this “drivel”.
I was happy to take a little heat if it meant parents were having a conversation. My posts have sparked conversations on everything from spanking, to disabled athletes’ rights, a genderless baby and toys in fast food meals.
Lately, comments become more than disagreements. Readers have reacted to my posts viscerally and with practical rage. It never bothered me before. In fact, I have often joked that my skin is so thick I can give myself sutures without anesthesia.
But I ask you, how would you react if a commenter suggested you should have aborted your children? Needless to say, I deleted that comment.
Some say I have asked for this. I have dared to write things that incite readers to take a side, and often times, that leads to me becoming an online punching bag. I have even pushed the envelope and allowed comments that didn’t follow our comment guidelines. I thought it was important that everyone have a chance to be heard, and sometimes, people are angry.
But even I have limits.
I don’t expect every comment to be a glowing accolade of my writing prowess, but I do expect civility. I expect both sides of any issue to comment with respect, and to refrain from name-calling, or otherwise attacking other readers.
And try to remember the next time you read my blog, the person behind those words is a real person. I have a real life, a real job, real friends, a real family, and most of all, I have real feelings.
Every week, I open my life and thoughts to you in the hope that a real conversation can be had on an issue, or that a parent out there will finally be able to identify with another mother. I do all of this with my real name and no apologies.
And I have no intentions of stopping now.
Cat Koehler is married with two children. She works full time. Read her Mondays on momaha.com
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ALSO READ: “Why are people so angry on the internet?”