• http://www.esmon.net Nichole

    I’ve been struggling with some of those very questions lately. Thank you for addressing it so honestly and eloquently.

  • Leigh

    Oh Heather – I’m just gobsmacked at the level of criticism and personal attack that you and John obviously receive.

    My 23 year old daughter would love to be given the gift that you are giving Leta – a chronicle that shows aspects of her childhood in such loving, aching detail. Yes, she will be embarrassed and annoyed, just as my daughter was embarassed and annoyed at just about everything I did at one stage, but that will be true, blog or no blog.

    Those commenters and emailers – those who profess to show concern for Leta and those who just hate in general, if they were truely genuine in their concerns, then surely they would have no time to email you or comment. With all the real child exploitation and abuse rampant in the world, anyone with a genuine concern would be too busy, lobbying politicians, fund raising, fostering children in real need.

    They should just – get over themselves.

  • Julia

    I think you’re completely right that one day Leta will love you and be proud of you for writing this website. I think, as women, we rarely appreciate our mothers until adulthood, and then we see them in a very different light. I made my mother’s life hell when I was a teenager, but as an adult, I have a lot of respect for the (often difficult) decisions she made, about how she supported our family and how hard it was for her.

    My mother worked a job where she was often away on business and often pulled 12 hour days. As a child and a teenager I resented her for never being around, for not being there to act as referee between my father and myself. As an adult, I appreciate how hard it was for her to leave me every day, and I am in awe of the amazingly important work she did.

    No mother gets to have it all. You and Jon will be there for Leta, all the time. She will not be raised by nannies. You put food on the table and you can buy the things she needs. She will not lack medical or educational care. The trade-off is a lack of privacy, but honestly, I think you’re doing a wonderful job as a mother. It is good for Leta to have such a strong female role model in her life, a real feminist who breaks open taboos about the difficulties of motherhood and mental illness. There is so much pressure to be perfect, and no mother is. I think your blog goes a long way towards letting society know that really, people do the best that they can and it’s pretty much okay most of the time.

    I suffer from depression and anxiety and until I started reading your blog, I thought I could never possibly have children. You have made me realise that it’s possible to raise a child when you’re mentally ill. I think you do a lot for mentally ill women, even if they’re mothers or not.

  • http://lovelyracket.blogspot.com Jen

    You are my hero!

  • renee

    I was just writing a letter to my daughter when I read yours. I can only hope to be as eloquent as you. Beautiful post, I know that Leta will appreciate it when she is older.

  • http://www.darnlucky.com Beth Berry

    I’d much rather read the honest, real, everyday ins and outs of being a mom than base my entire reality of a person’s life on the annual “we’re all perfect!” Christmas letter. I think the people who are being critical probably find that your writing hits them a little too close to home, and makes them uncomfortable.

    And why on Earth would anybody care how you make your living or about you having ads on your website? That just boggles my mind. I think you have been far too apologetic about that on your site. You have built a web following because of the work you put into your writing and your site. If you can monetize that and make it part of your life’s work, good for you! Those who criticize it are just jealous because they aren’t talented enough to do it themselves.

    These are the entries that I don’t like on dooce.com because I wish you didn’t have to spend one minute of your time being insecure about what you’re doing, or having to respond to the jealous and the insane. I think we would all rather you spend that time taking more pictures, or writing about Jon’s clogs! Keep up the good fight, Heather. You’re wonderful.

  • koz

    I just don’t get it. Is there some government that’s forcing people to read blogs they don’t like a la “Clockwork Orange”?

    If you hate it, don’t read it. Seriously, is it that hard?

  • moggie

    Uhmm, my mother was a Girl Guide Leader as I was growing up. Other than the medium (the Cabal of GirlGuiders vs the Internet), I can’t see what is so different from my own childhood. Every Girl Guide Leader I ever met between the ages of Brownie to Pathfinder knew every detail of my life, even the horribly embarassing ones.

    Sure I resented it at the time. What teenager would be thrilled knowing a complete stranger knows you got your first period while away at Girl Guide Craft camp? Seriously.

    Am I irretrievably scarred for life? Not so much.
    Moggie

  • julie

    you are wonderful and your family is lovely…. glad to know you all. your words are inspirational and full of day to day life. rock on.

  • http://returnofthejeni.livejournal.com/ JeniG

    Beautiful post. Leta is very lucky and you an awesome mother. Bravo!

  • http://www.LoriJackson.net Lori

    dooce, you rock the mothership. while i may not agree with your every thought and opinion … you most likely wouldn’t agree with mine either … what inspires me is that you are completely self-expressed, true to yourself and uncensored. if only everyone could see the beauty in that instead of focusing on making you wrong so they get to be right … in their own tiny little world. so here’s my parenting philosophy … i will, no doubt, unintentionally embarrass my kids with my unbridled affection for them. as i’m not willing to alter or compromise that in any way, shape or form … i say play big and embarrass the hell out of ‘em when you can!

    p.s. – write your next book about mothers embarrassing their kids on purpose and i will be one of your contributing authors!

  • JC

    Beautifully written…what you do here is empowering and written with honest humour and it is REAL life and i admire you for it!

  • http://cherepafford.com/ chere

    oh, she is sooooo beautiful

    and about those people and their negative comments about your site and how you make your money
    f**k ‘em

  • http://highwaybynight.com Katharina

    Seconding #333, although I am not a mom myself, YOU INSPIRE ME EVERY DAY, HEATHER.

    Leta’s newsletters always have me crying my eyes out because I feel so grateful and overwhelmed by them. Leta is incredibly lucky to be loved by you (and Jon) this much and I’m sure she will be grateful one day that you documented her childhood for her in such funny, honest, emotional detail.

    Until then, we all appreciate it probably just as much. Even though you have fought through so much, your words for Leta make me want to be a mom.

    Thank you, Heather.

  • http://rocky-thisisme.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    Absolutely wonderful!

  • Maureen

    Heather, you’re awesome. I am absolutely one of the women who reads this site and others to feel less alone as a mother. Not everyone has a network of friends, other mothers, or women to speak to about parenting. It may be hokey, but I’m saying it: You send a lot of love out into the world through your writing, and if people can’t see that I am truly sorry for them.

  • Kathleen

    I think we run into rocky terrain when we try to predict what our children will think of us and what we did.

    Leta may decide this part of her family is not a point of pride. She may never pump her fist in the air.

    You’re raising Leta to know that it is okay to disagree, on the deepest level, with people you love more than life itself. That’s what counts. Your doing your best, with a lot of love, that counts too. I hope my son is proud of the decisions we’ve made but more than that, I want him to know that it’s okay to tell us if he’s not. We’ll work it out. We will always work it out.

    Keep on rockin’, Mama.

  • http://mamaquita.blogspot.com BJ

    I’m de-lurking today! My daughter “Kellibelly” turned me on to you. I’m a grandmother now, but appreciate all that you do as a woman and mother. I’m always looking for a good laugh or a little smirk! I have found both here. I think that you speak for many of us as women and I find your humor and honesty so refreshing.

    I sense that there are some “haters” out there. What a pity for them. Jealousy will just destroy you, people! Get a grip!

    BTW – your daughter is absolutely adorable! Don’t kids say the cutest things? The joys of being a parent or grandparent are just endless! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with all of us!

  • http://sewandsox.blogspot.com Jen

    There is an awful lot of child abuse going on in the world that people should be seriously worried about. Maybe those who oppose what you say/do/think should stop reading this blog and spend that time doing something about the real tragedies in the world.

    Leta is so beautiful! Congratulations on raising such a humorous and sweet girl.

  • Stephanie

    Heather,

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and this is the first time I have commented. I felt like I needed to. I think what you are doing on this website is fantastic. Everyone should be so lucky to have you as a mother. I hope when I have children, I can do this exact same thing. What a glorious exhibition of love. Keep on blogging….I couldn’t go through a day without reading it!

    Thanks tons,
    Stephanie D.

  • Jacque

    That’s fantastic! So true

  • http://www.darnlucky.com Beth Berry

    Oh, and P.S. it’s not this website that makes my butt look big. It’s all the POCKY!

  • Suzie

    Thank you for opening comments on this. I think your letters to Leta are important, humorous, honest and special. Please don’t stop writing them and sharing them. I often forward a link of them to my sister to remind her that there are many other moms out there like her, who love their kids with humor and fierce determination. Don’t stop. Thanks.

  • http://theneoskeptic.blogspot.com the neoskeptic

    a community of mothers, yes.
    but don’t forget all the young men of a new generation that love and respect what you’ve done and how you’ve lived in an entirely different way than our fathers and grandfathers ever could. you are playing a major part in a new era of gender equality and global community. thank you!

  • Carrie

    People are upset with you for buying ceramic hippos? Jesus fucking christ life is weird.

  • http://fxtradingideas.blogspot.com/directory Banker

    Enjoy them while they are young. It doesn’t last long !

    Banker

  • MissNarc

    okay, first off. i adore your writing and truly, my favorite thing to read about here is Leta. I loved reading years of posts about the honestly of motherhood; you tell it like it is.

    also, i think you can do whatever you want with your blog and your life. it’s not my blog, it’s yours.

    but, all this being said, i would NEVER blog publicly about my kids.

    I think of it like this, had the technology been around, would *I* have wanted my mother to write about details of my life to 4 million viewers a month? Hell to the no. I enjoy my private life immensely. I can’t imagine millions of people knowing my name, what I look like, approximately where I live, details about my poop and eating habits, or watching videos of me singing and dancing. It’s a terrifying thought.

    but okay here’s more to chew on. #703, said this: “I think maybe, as Leta grows, she may see the sharing of her stories as a bit of a sacrifice. She is giving something to the rest of us, and we’re grateful for it.”

    See, this is the heart of the debate. Heather IS sacrificing Leta for the good of others. and i think here’s where people differ in their ideas of morality. I Personally think it’s a very American idea, the sacrifice of one individual to help countless others.

    If I knew I could help other people, but potentially destroy my kid’s psyche, I Would Not Help Others. each family should help itself FIRST, then others (not that they do in America, for the most part; I guess that’s the problem), and this is the mentality of my culture.

    This really gets down to how Americans are raising families. They (the benevolent ones, anyway) always seem to want to help others, but never help their own families; that’s someone else’s job. Some other benevolent stranger down the line will help their children. I don’t think that’s right. But maybe others think that is the way to go.

    Reminds me of the Congresswomen I know who are such great Democrats and try to help so many others but their kids end up being alcoholics and drug addicts because their mothers were too busy saving others to help their own children! But Americans don’t mind that; one mother helped countless others, and along the way, only a single child was hurt beyond repair. Sacrifice of one for the good of others is seen as O.K.

    Not to me. Well, regardless, I’ll still enjoy posts about Leta because I believe people are free to do whatever the heck they want. and even if I wouldn’t personally do it, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy when others do.

    Seriously Heather, I am a fan, I just wanted to address this point. I was getting annoyed by people shouting “they’re just jealous!”. Maybe a lot are, but maybe others just have a different (not better, different) moral standards. No one seems to consider all viewpoints anymore. I’m glad you did, and that you came to a decision. It’s just not one I would have made.

  • http://ronnisrants.blogspot.com ronni

    I’ve run into the phony “endangerment” argument, too. There are people who get a hate on for me, due to some subjects I cover, like my kids, or my husband’s suicide…I just delete what I don’t like and go on.

    Women were trapped for years with no outlet. Back in the 70s and 80s we SO wanted to get out in the workplace and away from the endless chores of motherhood. Now, many would love to get back to those chores, and raise our own kids, rather than giving them over to day care so we can sit in meetings or stock shelves.

    You have found a way to stay home with your daughter and still pay the bills. From my point of view, you rock. And, as others have pointed out, Leta will hate you during her “tween” years, no matter what you do. It comes with the territory.

  • http://refreshingrain.net Crys

    If I could earn a living off of my website, I would sooo do it. You are an amazing woman.

  • http://doctorbenton.com Lisa Benton

    Leta (who is stunningly beautiful, by the way) is your gift, but Heather, YOU are our gift. Your words give me laughter, comfort, and validation. Thank you!!!

  • Phyllis McQueen

    Heather, what you are doing is beautiful. What greater a tribute to Leta than to let the world know about her. Have to admit I really love CHUCK and Coco. You go girl and don’t let the bastards get you down!

  • http://www.grafficgeorgiamom.blogspot.com Georgia Mom

    Right on, Dooce! Right on!

  • http://rockincharity.blogspot.com/ Charity

    This is great, thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com Gerard McLean

    My childhood is documented in 12 black and white photos and my memories are fading fast. So are the photos.

    This blog will live forever and is far richer than black and white photos.

  • Tootsie Forks

    Don’t let her read the introduction to THE BOOK. I just read the introduction and stopped cold at

    down on paper I felt like had just had my brain dissected…

    Has someone murdered every single editor on the planet?

  • sabrina

    I never understood why people would write a mean comment or email to you about what you write on your personal website. If you don’t like what you see here, leave, and leave Heather and her family alone.

    P.S. I love these newsletters, and if my mom had done this for me on a public forum, I wouldn’t care, I would love it and embrace it. You rock and your stories have helped me more times then I can even remember.

  • Lisa

    Amen

    Amen to evey single last little word.

    she says whilst pumping her first in the air

  • http://marcoda.wordpress.com Marcoda

    As it’s been said many times, if telling the world how much we love our kids even though they drive us crazy sometimes is the worst thing we’ve done to them, we’ve got some pretty durn lucky kids. Blogging is a way for me to keep up with my kids’ lives and achievements. If I relied on pen and paper, well, let’s just say there’s a reason my written mom journal ended when my first born was 5 months old.

    Parent blogs are appreciated by many and scorned by a few. A few who have many other looming issues if they feel the need to criticize complete strangers based on a few lines of a journal.

    Here’s to all parents who are surviving this crazy trip with love and a sh*** ton of humour!

  • Kamelia

    Heather, I discovered your blog a couple of months ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have a 2 1/2 year old and I can relate to a lot of what you say about Letta. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You’ve made me laugh and cry and cheer over the past 2 months. I really hope you get to do that book signing in NY so I can meet you in person.

  • http://www.myspace.com/amygomoljak Lovebuzz38@hotmail

    I have read every newsletter you have written for Leta and I lOVE them. I think this is the ultimate gift that you can give to your daughter. By the time I was born my parents were so worn out that they didn’t even bother filling out the cheesy little questions in the baby book! There’s not even a single video of me under the age of 13. All I have are a few pictures and an almost empty baby book and that’s it. I would love to compare things I did growing up with the things that my 17 month old daughter are doing now. I personally would be so proud to have something like this. Keep it up Heather.

  • Angie

    I love you. Thank you for this.

  • http://www.beelzebubandfamily.blogspot.com Sharon

    There is nothing wrong about recording the joys of motherhood, those that criticise you should just crawl back under their rocks. And when Leta becomes a mother herself, she will love looking back and comparing her child to herself at that age. Leta has the most amazing eyes I have ever seen!

  • Joy

    Wow. I can hardly wrap my mind around the idea that there are people who FEEL this way about what you write! Are they AUTOMATONS? I have been obsessively (in the nice way, I’d like to think) reading all your archives ever since I serendipitously found your site a few weeks ago and I’ve turned into a Dooce Evangelical, spreading the word of your delicious candor far and wide!

    My friends and family have long wondered at my compulsion to talk about the grisly underbellies of pregnancy and mothering. I don’t get why people shift uncomfortably in their seats when I say I had a total breakdown on the third (fourth? So hard to say!) day after we’d brought my son home from the hospital. I mean, I got BETTER.

    Aren’t we all better off if we discard this myth that Being a Mother is a simple, natural, effortless thing? I work fucking hard to try to do a good job at this and I often am dogged with the fear that I’m inadequate in spite of that hard work. You’ve shone a bright light into a dark spot in the world and I am so very grateful to you.

  • http://www.acdalton.wordpress.com Amy

    OMG, We *have* to write about the poops on the internet. All of our relatives and friends are completely sick of hearing about poop. The internet is our *only* recourse. I don’t care if anyone reads my blog, I just have to vent somewhere.

    Besides, my kid is only going to embarass himself much, much worse on the future version of MySpace, or whatever he has ten years from now. Oh yes, I plan on archiving everything he types.

  • http://www.merlotmom.com merlotmom

    Wow. It just took eons to get down here to post this comment!! Your popularity is well deserved. This is a beautiful letter to your daughter and thank you for sharing it. You are a wonderful writer and a brave woman to weather the current storm. Success brings enemies and those enemies are simply envious they did not get there first. Keep it up, girl!

  • http://floreksa.blogspot.com floreksa

    Bravo, simply bravo.

  • http://www.myspace.com/outnoise Aime in Ohio

    So beautiful. These photos are the first time I’ve been able to look at her in the future, seeing the face of a middle schooler. She’s going to have some GREAT clothes!!

  • Noelle

    Hell YES.

    Beautiful child, beautifully written love letter.

    Thank you!!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/m-oo/ Muriel

    As you know, I don’t normally comment here, but I had to say that Tampax totally rocks and don’t feel ashamed for passing up those cheap generics. I, for one, use Tampax Pearl because my girl deserves the best.

    But really, Leta will resent you for all your reasons and more (as you know), and even if she resents you for anything you have written on Dooce, she will grow to realize that it’s one of the greatest and most meaningful gifts she’s ever received.

    And if she doesn’t, oh well. That’s a power you’ve given her as parents – to cherish herself and understand others.

  • Kristine

    Thank you.