letter to my shadow readership

i’ve been writing this blog now for three & a half years. it has remained annoyingly formless in all that time–just a compendium of whatever random shit is on my mind on a given day. i guess it could be considered a “mom blog” now, but only because ramona is probably not too far from my thoughts most of the time.

i expected motherhood to change me, but it’s been a bigger change than i anticipated. there’s so much stuff i cared about before i had a kid that i simply don’t have time for anymore. mostly stuff that could be filed under the “petty disagreements” label. i still have my opinions about things, but i don’t really have the patience for arguing about it anymore. i still get comments here sometimes about years-old entries on various contentious political subjects, where people are like, “you’re a disgusting excuse for a human & a terrible mother if you feel this way.” happens kind of a lot, actually. well, i guess i’m a terrible mother because i do still find 20-year-old anarchists who think their right to a vegan sandwich in county lock-up is cause for a national fundraising/letter-writing campaign really myopic & selfish & embarrassing. & yet ramona is alive & happy. funny how my opinion on the subject doesn’t really seem to be impacting her. nor is it radically changing the behavior of obnoxious 20-year-old anarchists.

i sill form opinions about things. i’ve got all kinds of opinions on the hot button topics of the day, from the latest iteration of MWMF protests to the indiegogo campaigns of certain musicians. but then i weigh he funny-to-drama quotient & it’s usually just not worth discussing it. all that will happen is that people who agree with me will say, “yeah, seriously,” & people who don’t will try to pick a fight. the fight won’t change my mind & it won’t change theirs. it will just annoy me & deplete my finite emotional resources. given the choice between arguing with some knucklehead on he internet & reading ramona a story, i would really prefer to read to ramona.

the thing i find surprising though is that not all parents feel this way. even parents of teeny babies! i only have a baby & don’t know how i would feel if i had, say, a seven-year-old. maybe i would have more energy for petty internet arguments if my kid was at school for seven hours a day? but it turns out that some parents are bored enough by their babies that they try to fill their days by behaving childishly online. i guess i get it. someone who likes children might not be that excited about the baby years. i am finding it much more engaging than i’d expected to, but different strokes for different folks. it’s also true that becoming a parent doesn’t change your fundamental nature. if you’re just an insecure asshole, no amount of babies will change that.

i was informed recently that there’s a little group of new moms that has been inernet-stalking me & being all judgmental about what i put on the internet. i don’t know if they’ve been perusing facebook or my blog or what, & i don’ know what exactly they are judging, considering that i feel like i haven’t said much in the last six months in any forum other than, “man, ramona is cute! also, over-sized infant headbands are the worst thing ever.”

either way, i just feel sad for their babies. i myself was raised by a petty, vindictive person who was only happy when she was tearing someone else down. that’s not a fun way for a kid to grow up, even on those rare occasions when the kid is not the victim of the tearing down.

i also kind of feel bad for the moms! clearly i have my opinions about parenting topics (vaccines, solid foods, MP3 hook-ups on strollers), but i am confident enough in my momming abilities & interested enough in my baby that i haven’t felt the need to seek out moms i don’t like simply in order to criticize them.

i also feel bad for ramona. she is sill an innocent baby with no clue that he world is full of benignly shitty people. i wish it was a lesson she wasn’t going to have to learn someday, because i wish people would sop being benignly shitty. but when even grown women with sweet new babies to look after count “being an asshole on the internet” as one of their favorite pasttimes, i don’t have much faith in the next generation. i have plenty experience in growing a thick skin–because come on. it’s not like i wasn’t aware that a certain segment of my devoted readership wasn’t comprised of assholes just looking for some reason to hate on me. this is far from my first rodeo. i just thought it was more in the vein of, say, zinesters i once argued with six years ago, or bitter ex-girlfriends of jared’s or something. you know, the kind of crap i have dealt with so many times before. so, while having a baby has expanded my perspective in so many different ways, it has also expanded my reach to a whole new segment of bored assholes. i didn’t see that coming!

in closing, if you are one of these hater moms & you’ve actually read through to the end, you probably dislike me more than ever now & won’t really listen to this sincere advice. but i will offer it anyway. ask yourself, if this really how you want to spend your baby’s fleeting babyhood? hating on some other random mom you don’t even really know, on the internet? does judging me really make you feel truly better about yourself & your own momming? even if your baby is napping right now, or with another caregiver, or maybe just kind of a jerk & you’re trying to develop other interests to justify spending less time with him/her, isn’t there something else you could be doing? maybe try reading a book, or sign up for a netflix account. sometimes when i’m cranky, i like to scrub my sink really thoroughly with baking soda & vinegar. it always makes me feel a little better. if you are reading this just so you can feel morally superior to me in some way (as a mom, as a zinester, as a person who has dated jared, whatever), ask yourself if that’s the kind of behavior that befits the morally superior. because it definitely doesn’t make me feel bad about myself.

& also? look at this baby:


doesn’t that make you want to go spend some quality time with your own baby? or cat, or typewriter, or sweet & low packet collection, or whatever it is that matters to you? quit acting like an idiot, get off the internet, & go do it.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “letter to my shadow readership

  1. Well as someone who has been lurking and enjoying your blog for the last couple of years, I say ignore the haters! I know nothing at all about parenting, but it seems like you’re a cool mother who’s very much got her shit together. And a great/ hilarious writer.

    1. thanks! i appreciate that! i’ve said it before, but i always feel gratified when non-parents get a kick out of my writing.

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