First, let's tally up the responses to yesterday's post...
Hateful, judgmental or otherwise assvicey emails: ZERO
Loving, understanding or otherwise supportive emails: 300 and counting
Gold star for the Internet! 'Tis a Christmas miracle!
I hate when I get all defensive like that. You'd think that no one ever says anything nice to me, ever, which is not true. Probably 95% of the comments and emails I get are positive, but it's just that the people who take the time to write hate mail tend to fucking eviscerate me.
And while it's one thing when people tell me I have stupid hair, or that I'm a spoiled materialistic whore because I put a link to my baby registry in the stupid sidebar, it's quite another thing entirely when Noah is involved.
Possibly because it makes me overthink the kind of squishy ground we online writers tread when we post the pictures and real names and bowel functions of our children, and partly because I sooner would chew my own arm off than have him hurt, and if you hurt him I'm thinking that it's only fair if I chew YOUR arm off.
Also, my wafer-thin motherhood skin hasn't yet developed any kind of fuck-you-and-what-you-think-of-my-parenting callous, and yeah, I've been working on that metaphor all damn day.
So whenever I thought about how to approach the whole I'm-going-back-to-work topic, I kept composing the possible hate mail I would get with each one. Like this!
Approach #1: Waaah, I'm so sad I'm going back to work and wish I could afford to stay home but I can't, feel sorry for me and my snuffling sadness.
Whatever! You so could afford to stay home! I'm staying home! I just decided that my child is more important than expensive diaper bags and got rid of TiVo. Perhaps you don't really want to stay home, because anyone can stay home if they really love their child enough.
I hope your job pays for a really nice concealer, because otherwise all you'll see is your cold, shriveled and ugly heart when you look in the mirror, like Dorian Gray of the bad parenting world.
Imaginary Hatemailer #1, Who We'll Call Agnes
PS. Also, we moved to Kansas.
Approach #2: Did I mention that I'm going back to work? No? Oh, well, I am, and I feel just fine, let's talk about something else now.
OMG YOU MONSTER. HOW CAN U LEAVE THAT PRECIOUS BABY?> AND NOT CARE? I BET GOD MADE U INFERTILE FOR A REASON.
IMAGINARY HATEMAILER #2, WHO IS CALLED CAPPY MCCAPSLOCK
PS. IF U LOVED NOAH YOU'D MOVE TO KANSAS.
Approach #3: 404: Page Not Found.
God, your site sucks now. It won't even load. You're so lame and boring.
PS. We heard you moved to Kansas. That's lame and boring.
Don't I write interesting hate mail to myself? I should try sending some real hate mail sometime. Except, I never would, because GOD. JUST HIT THE BACK BUTTON AND CALM DOWN. Just because you're anonymous doesn't mean karma can't find you and drop a goddamned anvil on you, or something.
Hatemailers: the asshole roadragers of the Internet, and yeah, I've been working on that metaphor all year.
My point is that I have not gotten any hate mail, other than a couple of Philadelphians who were all, "Wait, what'd we do?"
(Nothing, except tempt us with gorgeous brownstones in our price range and then dash our hopes with the wage tax and property taxes of like, $15,000 a year. And you made my mother-in-law cry, because she was SO HOPING we'd move to Philly so she could be near Noah and I could stay home, and yeah, my own family hasn't been exactly supportive of my decision to go back to work, so why would I expect the Internet to be any different?)
After hitting the "publish" button on yesterday's entry, I took Noah to his daycare and spent a few hours there with him, getting to know the teachers and the other snotty-nosed brats whose parents work and don't love them very much.
And really, it was very nice. The teachers are affectionate and gentle. They tell the babies they love them. And they work with an eerie precision and efficiency to make sure that no baby is fussing or upset or even left glassy-eyed and bored in a bouncy seat. Honestly, I'm lucky if I can keep Noah that entertained and content for half the day.
And Noah did great. When we first arrived, he kept looking for me, whether he was on the floor or in the teacher's arms. After an hour, he no longer seemed concerned. He smiled at his teacher, seriously studied a pretty little nine-month-old girl and shrieked with delight over a handmade mobile of Mardi Gras beads that hung from the ceiling.
He'll be fine. I'll just miss him, is all.