Wednesday, May 18

Let It Ride



Before I begin, I just want to mention that I really don’t care if my friends/family who follow my blog even reads this post, I never EVER intended to have a blog full of long opinions and speeches, but I just have to get some things out of my system, so I’m going to go ahead and do it here.
I’m going to link my blog in the comments sections on Ohdeedoh. I sort of feel sick to my stomach about it, opening myself up even more to the criticism, but I feel that in order to give myself some closure on this whole ordeal, I need to stand up for myself and for my husband, and for our choices as parents. Though I would love this to be chocked full of everything that I would LIKE to say, I hope everyone finds it non-confrontational, and more just a place for people to be referred to who have an interest in this matter. It is not my intention to have this turn into a forum for debate. I also want those who weren’t able to see the original post to have a chance to hear from the mom behind the “famous laundry post”. Don’t get me wrong, after the past few days, I do not believe that my words will make a single bit of difference in others’ minds who disagree with me. It is not my intention to change anyone’s minds.

I just want to defend myself, and I believe I have that right.

My pictures have all ready been put up one baby forum for discussion (that I know of), which is full of similar comments, another “visual” blog that at least you can’t comment on, and they were also uploaded to google.ca. I know I could try and exercise my rights since no one other than Ohdeedoh has my permission to post my pictures, but truthfully, I’m not going to bother wearing myself out tracking these pictures down.
Heck, all you have to do is google one or two keywords from this mess and my own blog pops up pretty quick.

Regarding the main washer/dryer issue, much to the disappointment of many, I have not and will not be moving Boston out of the laundry room. No, your “level of harshness in your comments did not knock some sense into me”, as you would have hoped for. I have absolutely ZERO concern with Boston sleeping in the same room as them. I am not in the slightest ashamed that that’s where he sleeps, and he will remain there until he has grown out of his naps, at which point he will share with his older brother. I’ve all ready accumulated a bed for him, a mattress, and bedding, so it’s been on my radar for awhile that they would be sharing soon. I feel there is no risk of the washer/dryer bursting into flame when they are not running, and what minute risk there is, is the same amount or risk ANY electrical THING in anybody’s house has of bursting into flame, be it nightlights, televisions, or outlets, so I feel Boston is no more at risk of such an accident happening to him while he is in the laundry room than if he were in any other room of my house. No, I have not done extensive research on this matter, but it’s what my little bit of research and instinct tells me.  We start our wash first thing after Boston wakes up in the morning, and we dry it first thing after he gets up from his nap, giving plenty of time for the “air to clear” before he sleeps in there again. Boston absolutely cannot reach any of the controls, drawers, outlets, cords, etc. It may look like he can, but he can’t. Come by for a visit any time and inspect for yourself.

Regarding the bleach/cleaning supplies. Given the fact that I am Boston’s mom, and the owner of the room where he sleeps, and one of the few who can actually see in real life the distance between the crib and the “shelves of poison”, I feel that I have the authority in whether or not he can or can’t reach the supplies, and the fact is, he simply can’t. Absolutely no way could my son have ever reached those supplies. Not even up for discussion, no chance at all. I love my child to the ends of the earth, and would never, and I mean NEVER place a harmful thing like bleach in a position where he could grab it. Again, you’re welcome in my home any time to attest to this for yourself. I have had both sets of grandparents, sisters, aunts, and good friends alike all in Boston’s little space at one point or another, and not once has one person ever suggested that I need to move the cleaning supplies because they look a little close, and that’s because they aren’t.close.at.all. I know many will think this makes me AND everyone around me qualify as idiots, but seriously, just think about things for a moment. Is it possible, that the cleaning supplies look much, much closer than they actually are? Yes, it is possible, and that is the only problem with my picture.

That said, of course I have moved all supplies to another location. Again, I will not let pride stand in the way of a very simple thing I can do to ease concerns others clearly have, though I could not possibly disagree with their concerns more. It would be purely spiteful of me to leave them there, and I do not delight in taking spite from my actions, regardless of what others who have judged me as a person from a photo, may think.

Regarding Child Protective Services, or Social Services. I have personally called Alberta’s version of Social Services to inquire further about any possible risks that others believe I am putting on my child. I spoke to more than just one person. One said they wouldn’t “recommend” it, but that that was their personal feeling, not any official standing. Another simply didn’t have time to deal with something that wasn’t a real concern in their eyes. The third that I was able to speak to in greater depth actually laughed. She was insulted that things like this get spread around giving them the sort of reputation that they would actually “waste” their time on a case such as mine when they have real problems they are dealing with, like sexual abuse and child abuse.
Still, to be sure, I pressed her further, wondering what would happen if there were such a worker who indeed sympathized with those who seem to feel the risk is real, and who indeed felt it was worth their time to look into my case further. She said that that worker would have to prove to a judge that we were indeed putting our child at risk in order to have our child taken away, and even if things were to go so far as a home visit, that she truly saw no way it would get farther than that, given that our home proved to be a safe, happy, home where our children were clearly loved and well taken care of.

That said, I give every opportunity to any social worker anywhere who wants to waste their time in my home as a guest investigating whether or not they think my child is at risk. I am beyond a shadow of a doubt positive, that no worker anywhere could get approval from a judge to take our child away. What they will find is a warm, caring place filled with love and respect for one another, a place where everyone is treated and loved equally, and a place that any child could only be so lucky to grow up in.

They will see safety precautions taken everywhere they look, every single semi-large piece of furniture we own is anchored down. Every single major cupboard has child safety locks on them. Every door leading in/out of our house has an extra chain lock installed by us at the very, very top, so that even if our children ever were to figure out how to unlock the conventional lock, they would still be kept from being able to open our door. They would find blind cords tied up, carpet installed on garage steps to make easier/softer for kids to climb on, all outlets covered, slip grips on the bottoms of our tubs, and rails/gates wherever a child could accidentally fall.

Regarding those who, from a single picture, are positive that we don’t love Boston as much as the other children. Of all the accusations flung in the past two days, this one stings the most. The only reason Boston was moved to the laundry room and not his little brother, was due to the fact that I would be up at night feeding and changing his baby brother, so would need the rocker/changing table to do so, while Boston on the other hand has been sleeping through the night since 10 months old. I FIERCELY love each one of my children the exact same amount. I feel so strongly about those who would have the audacity to suggest otherwise, that I suggest they take this up with me personally. I am not going to go on and on with “proof” that I love Boston the same as the others, because it’s just so ridiculous an accusation, not to mention the fact that people are making such accusations from a PHOTO.

Regarding those who were offended by our choice to purchase our washer/dryer set with our student loans. In hindsight, I definitely do regret “kidding” about the fact that that’s what we did, joking that it, “was a better investment than education, right?” I realize that there many, many people who are not so lucky as us to have one spouse with a good, steady job that allows them to pay for the other spouse’s education, thus allowing (once or twice) for student loans to actually be left over at the end of the semester. I apologize to those for my flippant tone in my remarks regarding something as sensitive such as debt.

I won’t, however, apologize for being financially stable enough that we were able to purchase as-is floor models on clearance for $2,000 a few months after we moved into our house four years ago, long before son number two even came along, let alone son number three. To those who feel that for the “price of those shiny top-of-the-line appliances, they could pay rent on a larger home for years”, let’s see, “years” is at least two years. $2,000 divided by 24 months is $83.33. I challenge you to find me a house for rent in Lethbridge, Alberta bigger than mine that I would be able to afford for a mere extra $83.33/month. Not to mention the fact that we are homeowners anyways, not renters, who happen to be quite happy with our current amount of square footage in our house.

To those worried we are “teaching our children poorly by not spending the loan on our education” and evenmore, to those who are concerned we are “putting our own children’s educations at the risk of owning brand-new appliances”. Jeez Louise everyone, this sad song is getting so tiring. My husband graduates with his degree this Christmas. I graduated with my diploma eight years ago. I have been working evenings and weekends (as my job requires) ever since in order to provide for my family. I have been the sole breadwinner in the home while my husband has attended school since the beginning of our marriage, seven years ago. We both paid in full for our entire educations, from our own pockets, meaning not one cent came from our parents. Moreover, not one cent of our children’s education will be paid for by us, either. At least that is the plan, maybe economic times will have drastically changed by then that their education may be less attainable by them without help, but the way I see it, there’s no reason why young, hardworking people can’t get to work and pay for their own educations.

To those claiming that the comment I made on my entry in my defense was “more snarky than any others”, and “unhinged”. Without a doubt, you are right, I have never quite felt so unhinged in all my life. I truly would love to know how each one of those who commented on my pictures would respond to the situation I was placed in that day. I felt ganged up on by a group of strangers filled with nothing but disgust for me. No, not every single comment was as vicious as some, but after the initial blow of a few of those comments, every single last remotely-hurtful word made a largely more significant impact than any of those commentors could have imagined.

To think, that upon making the choice to last-minute enter a children’s design contest happening in one of my favourite online places, my every choice as a parent would suddenly be under attack. The love for my children was being questioned. My hard work put into that room was being outright mocked and scoffed at. I, and the insides of my home, were quite literally the laughing stock of the day. To those who feel like I “deserved it” because I had entered the contest in the first place. Though I follow a lot of blogs, I truly had never once logged in to read the comments on a single post on Ohdeedoh or Apartment Therapy. I rarely ever comment on large blogs, let alone read them. Had I had ANY idea what apparently is a trend at such places, I wouldn’t have for one second ever entered my room in the first place. I was unfortunately naïve to the nature of commentors in such places, and honestly did not even think for one second anyone would be so offended by my pictures.

I am, however, upset with myself for even attempting to take a stand in those comments. I was very emotional that day, and I should have waited to gather my thoughts for a few days before I attempted to put into words how I was feeling. I do not apologize for what was said, I think every.single.last.word of it was justified. It could have, however, been said with much less emotion.

Through email correspondence with Ohdeedoh, I was informed that they also saw nothing wrong with having a child in the room with laundry appliances, given the fact that they, of course, weren’t ever run with the child inside. I was told my entry was accepted on its design merits alone. They didn’t even notice the cleaning supplies, and said had they did, they probably wouldn’t have thought much of it, giving me the benefit of the doubt that any normal human being wouldn’t put bleach in the reach of their curious toddler’s grasp. In the comments of the “non-jerky” post on Ohdeedoh, the editor there who approved my entry stated that she “stands by her decision”, and I thank her for that.

I hope everything here at least addresses the bulk of people’s concerns. I’m sure this won’t be the end of it, but I’m not sure what else I can say other than I love my children, and I honestly believe that at the end of each day, they are all sleeping safely in their beds.

I realize there are people who VERY strongly disagree with me. I’ve heard and read every single comment I could possibly find that was said about me in the past two days. I wish they could realize that though there is a large following of people out there that also hold their same belief, that there is just as large a following of perfectly-sane people who see absolutely no danger in having a child sleep in the presence of a sitting washer/dryer, and that these difference of opinion don’t make either of us “right” or “wrong”, just different from each other.

Also, to those who do disagree with me, I’ve heard your case, many times over, and I ask you to please not take this opportunity to try and state it further in the comments section on my blog. I understand your concern comes from a sincere place, no matter how it was stated, but there will be no changing my mind, and I will definitely be using my rights to delete unkind words from my comments section. If ever I need to know what others think, there’s plenty of other places I can find that. I am going to move forward from this now, and I hope we all can do the same.

I also would like to mention those who have supported me throughout this insanity.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!! It took a lot of courage for those who actually logged in and stood up for me on Ohdeedoh, knowing that they would be in the minority up there, and to think that they were perfect strangers. I wish they could know what that meant and still means to me. 

And lastly, I know when I started my blog I made a promise to never post without a picture, but I’m all ready breaking that promise. There’s no place for a happy smiling family picture in this post as the entire circumstance of it is unfortunate, and I know you’ll forgive me. 

17 comments:

  1. let me be the first (of many, i'm sure, or people are crazy!) to say that i'm so proud of you! you have handled this so well compared to the way that i and many others would have handled it. you did such a great job of defending yourself in style, and i would have been so disappointed if you had caved in and folded at the crazy outrageous attack you've been dealing with. i'm so excited that boston is still sleeping in his laundry lair, and i still think that it's super cute and creative. you are such a great mom and wife, and i'm so impressed with all of the safety measures you have around your house. as a social worker, i would want to ask for decorating and mothering tips rather than question taking your room choice for each child to court! haha it's kind of funny thinking that so many people went all child service on you - the way they talked about/to you makes me sad that fellow mothers can be so mean! you go girl - i'm right behind you on this all the way :)
    love you pam!!!!!!

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  2. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this. I did defend you in the "Jerky Comments" post, but I wish I had done it sooner. It bothers me very much that I didn't.
    You were bullied. Plain and simple. It was terrible, and wrong. Know that there are many of us in blog land who support you.
    I hope writing this helps bring you closure. I'm sending only good thoughts to you and your family.

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  3. People are cruel. I think the anonymity of the internet makes people who are probably already rude in real life, even worse because they don't realize that there is a real live person receiving their hurtful comments. I have noticed that Ohdeedoh has wonderful articles but gets the most ridiculously rude comments of any site I have visited. I have thought of submitting my daughter's room for one of their contests, but I don't think I could stand to have it picked apart, and I'm sorry you have had that experience. I'm sure, like me, you prepared that room out of love for your child. If people had serious concerns, they should have e-mailed the author of the article, not attacked you or your parenting through the comments.

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  4. Pam I truly cannot even believe this!!! And on a better note, love your decorating talent!!! I've heard how darling your house is!!!

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  5. Good for you, Pam!! There are some pathetic people in the world, and I hope you can not let it bother you too much. They just have nothing better to do than pick everyone else's life apart rather than deal with their own, sounds like. Hope you know you're an awesome mom!!!

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  6. Way to go mom! Defend putting poison on top of his head and stuffing him in a small room! You have every right to endanger your child! Don't let any sensible internet crazy people talk you out of it! Only listen to people who support you in your idiocy and censor all those who disagree!

    Freedom rings!

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  7. Lord Jezo,
    For now, I'm going to leave your comment...because it doesn't bother me anymore. Though I'm loving the fact that you are criticizing my choice to try and keep MY own blog a place that makes ME feel better, not worse.
    Thanks for taking the time to read.
    Pam

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  8. i'll be honest in that i didn't see the original comments on the AT post, nor did i (completely) read your full post here.

    the internet requires thick skin. people have opinions, and most will voice them as cruelly as possible. ignore them, dear. don't even justify them with a response. if YOU are confident that you're doing what's best and can stand by your decision, no one else requires justification- except those people who maybe voiced genuine concern in a polite and careful way. people who tear you apart are intending to tear you apart, no matter what they say. and no amount of explanation will quell their desire.

    internet strangers have often solidified my confidence with their ill-intended criticism. it gives you a chance to pause and think, "wait- are they right?" and then, when you reach that point where you can say, "no. they aren't," you learn to slough it off and roll with the punches.

    re: freedom, lordjezo. whether you agree with censorship or not, it being pam's blog, she can do whatever the hell she wants. and you have the freedom to read a blog with which you agree.

    re: stuffing him in a small room, that's kind of the point of the very blog on which the original pictures were posted, yes? that some people are stuck with small spaces and still find a way to get by? right. this poor child. having a comfy place to sleep and all.

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  9. Just wanted to give you a eHug and sorry that people were being such weenies.

    One time I belonged to a Parents.com forum & I said something like I gave my kid an uncooked hot dog. People were so mean to me, saying I was a horrible mom & I didn't deserve to have children. Over a hot dog. That comes precooked. Just needs to be heated.

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  10. Pam, I just wanted to say that I am one of the commenters from Ohdeedoh. My comment was about the bleach and is NOT included in your list of the comments on your previous post. I don't *think* it was harsh, but it's hard to tell how others will take written word where there is no tone or inflection. Anyways, my intention was not to be harsh. I really appreciate this post. It cleared up any concerns that i had (i.e. the bleach and the washer running with the baby in the room). (BTW- I NEVER thought this was a CPS issue). The only reason the bleach concerned me is that from the picture, it LOOKED (which apparently was decieving) like my 2 y.o. could easily reach the bleach from that location if it had been my house. I will def. remember next time to give the designer/poster the benefit of the doubt. You are obviously a caring, loving mama and i'm sure will do everything you can to make sure little Boston gets his naps AND avoids the dreaded middle child syndrome. I also see no problem with the washer/dryer in a child's room as long as they are not running while the child is sleeping.

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  11. At least your kid isn't in a closet like half of ohdeedo's readers!
    People are so stupid. I love the comment above mine, at least you changed one persons mind, more than I bet you expected.
    I'm just jealous my laundry room won't fit a crib in it.

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  12. So I randomly stumbled upon all this and think your laundry room is adorable. We are going on our 7th year of student loans and seriously it is pure genius. :) I have realized as i have bumped into others that much of the world is a sad place and they don't really understand true happiness - this is where I would assume those undesirable comments come from. For some reason people need to create drama where none is needed. You have a beautiful family and you are a beautiful talented Mom. Don't let anyone let you believe otherwise!

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  13. Thanks again everyone! I reeeeally appreciate all of your comments...they each have made my day!! It feels so good to have this behind me....I'm so so glad the response to this post has been a good one..ya' just never know anymore! :) I really appreciate those who commented and came forward to apologize...I've had lots of emails as well, and especially those who stuck up for me on Ohdeedoh and even going so far as to send emails to them in my defense. Again, THANK YOU!!!

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  14. Pam, I realize the matter is pretty much past, but I am just reading all this for the 1st time and I still wanted to say something. I'm so sad for all these moms! I had no idea it was like this out there! Who else are they bullying? other happy moms? their own kids? and then who are their kids bullying? It breaks my heart that we are not building each other up. They even took blame to the website for not stopping the outrageous comments sooner. Well, maybe they could have stopped themselves before typing it! You've handled this like a champ. How can you not respond when the love and safety of your children is in question? I would still be on the original post responding to every comment like an emotional fool!

    Also, I wanna know where the haters keep their bleach. Oh, on the shelf above the dryer? Where your kid climb up to it because if they can climb out of the crib they can climb up a dryer? I worked in Edmonton on pediatrics long enough to know that nobody can win the safety battle EVER! How sad that there are people out there putting thought and energy into bringing a loving mother down by saying such hurtful things. I'll be coming back to see more about your cute house and family!

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  15. ummm that is the most ridiculous thing i've heard in a LOOOONG TIME! (not your blog! but all the stupid comments) and i hope you're already laughing about all of this and the fact that some mom's have WAAAAY too much time on their hands! and need to worry about a strangers kids living with DANGEROUSLY EXPENSIVE APPLIANCES!

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  16. Hi Pam,
    I'm a friend of Jennie Holts and read her blog and stopped by your blog from her post of her girls pictures you did. I just wanted to tell you how awesome you have handled this and that you aren't a lone.
    I joined thebump.com and posted on a baby name forum about my baby names and asked which names people liked best (out of a few). I got ripped apart!! I was in tears of how mean they were. I quit responding (defending myself) and they started a whole new post about me and said I was making my life up (a 5 year old, twin toddlers, and one on the way) and how it wasn't real and my names were so terrible. It was way harsh. I never went back there.
    So I know how you are feeling. People live off drama, and it's really sad.
    There is nothing in the world better than genuine nice people.
    I'm on your side :) and mean people SUCK!
    I think your room is super cute and

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  17. sorry I clicked post before finishing!
    ha
    I was just going to say you seem like a great mom!

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