Manic Mom's Mental Myriads

Stop by and have a laugh from Manic Mom's Mental Myriads on Motherhood, and some other stuff too, but mostly motherhood, wifehood, thoughts on writing, etc. No politics will be discussed here or geography, and I will not be solving any mathematical equations. Just some BS on whatever I feel like blogging on...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Letter To The Editor

I just read the Chicago Parent "From The Editor" letter and got so riled up I spit out a rebuttle to the editor immediately.

The column, which you can view here, is called: 'Til Death Do Us Part

The editor said...

"Too many times of late, I have found these words tumbling out of my mouth: 'Just what would you do if I died?'" She's directing this comment to her two sons.

Next, she goes on to say this:
"I sense, and I could be wrong here, but I think these feelings are much more common to mothers of boys than of girls."


"I may be standing out on a sexist limb here..." (HELL YEAH!) ..."but I think boys are passed a secret note in utero. We know they are different...boys appear helpless..." etc, etc...

She goes on to insinuate that boys do not know how to do laundry, which may be true, but what does the fact that they may be helpless when it comes to household chores have to do with a mother feeling a sense of despair for her boys if she were to die?

I sent her this letter:

Dear Ms. Schultz,

I imagine you received your share of comments regarding September's "From the Editor" and agree that you were (as you admitted), "standing out on a sexist limb." I may have read into what you said, but I interpreted you to mean mothers of boys have more feelings of despair if they were to die and leave their sons motherless.

As a mother of two sons, ages four and seven, and one six-year-old daughter, I have to politely disagree with your statement as to your concern over what your children would do if you were to die. I worry about all three of my children and don't feel their gender changes how they would feel if I were no longer living. I would want all three of them to be "healthy and happy," and self-sufficient, just as you were to wish for your sons.

The only thing that would change if I were to die, is I wouldn't be there anymore, and that is a sobering enough thought regardless of their gender.

I really think you were off-base on your comments, and as an editor of a parenting magazine, I would hope you would have taken a different angle on your article. You implied daughters who may lose their mother would be better off than sons, and I find this disheartening.

And, if you're so worried that they would be helpless without you, might I suggest you take the kids into the laundry room and teach them to separate the whites from the colors.

Proud mother of two sons and a daughter,
Stephanie Elliot

So there, Ms. Editor Lady!

Post Script: Ms. Editor Lady and I have settled our differences and you can read about it in the comments section. She's actually a very nice woman, and I just misinterpreted her sense of humor!


At 3:00 PM, Blogger naughtymom said...

Good for you Stephanie!!! As a motherless daughter I can say it is no easier...I am self sufficient just have the mother void that is experienced on BOTH sides....What an article to find in parenting

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Naughtymom--I already got a reponse from her. Apparently she was trying to be humorous, but I found no humor in talking about death and children, but maybe that's just me. Here's what she said:

"Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for your note and we will be happy to publish it in our feedback section.

I will tell you that I appreciate that I might not have achieved what I was attempting, which was to write a humorous column about the differences between boys and girls.

As a woman who grew up with all girl cousins and sisters, boys are just a new breed to me.

Clearly, this did not work for you and that is fine. We don’t all have the same sense of humor—if we did, life would be hopelessly dull. But the key is that we respect that there can be different approaches to subjects and that as parents, we are all in this together, so judging one another is probably the last thing we should be doing. I can only respectfully suggest that when your boys are a bit older, see if you don’t have a better sense of what I was trying to describe."

Of course, I responded to her already too and will post that too.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


In your haste to rant, you missed her point completely. Go back and reread the piece, and you might get a different take. It has nothing to do with death. It is simply a humorous comment on how Mothers tend to baby their boys, and how they take it for granted.

I don't even have kids, and I got it.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Hmmm, perhaps I am a hasty ranter. But I still don't think "boys are passed a secret not in utero" unless it's a note saying it's okay and funny for them to fart in public. Thanks for the comment Anon--you got me thinking, and that's always a good thing! : )

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Ms. Editor Lady and I are now BFF! Here is the correspondence between the two of us after her initial response above:

Dear Suzy,

I guess when you incorporated the morbidness of death with the differences between sons and daughters, it honestly threw me for a loop, and I interpreted it differently than you intended. I read it as if you were judging mothers of girls, and lessening the grief they would feel. That's my interpretation, anyway.
And I can already see the differences between my kids -- my daughter begs to help fold laundry, and I am thankful for that, that's for sure. The whole death thing threw me off because I must have taken your column more literally than you intended!
I do respect the point you were trying to make, and I'm sorry I missed it. I'm a regular reader of Chicago Parent, and this particular column got me thinking, so in that sense, it very much worked for me! Thanks for your response, and please don't feel obligated to publish my comments. Did others perceive your article as I did? Maybe I'm just PMSing!
Dear Stephanie,
I would be pleased to publish your comments if only because others who thought the same would enjoy reading it. I know, after years of writing my thoughts, that sometimes it works for people and sometimes it doesn’t. But you can only keep trying and be honest. So, that’s what I try to do. Really, your letter is the first response I’ve gotten. And I think disagreement on approaches is healthy. You may just be PMSing but I may have been the one PMSing when I wrote the column. Thanks for your note. I appreciated both of them.
Best to you,
Thanks to you too, Suzy! And I hope you know I was politely disagreeing and not trying to be mean in any way! Stephanie

So you see, it's all good, and if anything, now I know I need to get the boys started on laundry chores, and we all agree it's perfectly OK to disagree. Don't you agree?

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Charity said...

Looks like you had quite the literary adventure today!

At 9:15 PM, Blogger The Dummy said...

Quite the class act, you two!

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

I guess it's just the grown-up in me. Urgh, did I just say that?

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Stephanie, you and your LETTERS!

On a side note, we ordered BUGS off from "on demand" and watched that whole IMAX flick on our 30 inch tv. Not quite the same, but I thought of you.


At 11:35 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Nance--what other letters? Stalker writer letters??!?! OH, Dear Author response letters! LOL.

As I writer, I feel the need to immediately express my thoughts onto whatever place I can express them!

Bugs! Every time I see a Praying Mantis, I recall that enchanted day we tore through the city of Philadelphia, abound puddles of piss in search of... ice cream?

And guess what!?!?!? JW is going to be signing and reading a mere FIVE MILES FROM MY HOUSE October 23. I've already emailed her to invite her and Joanna to lunch, dinner, brunch, coffee, my daughter's first communion (Oh wait, we're not officially Catholic!)

Done with your novel yet? Make sure to come to Illinois on book tour! xo

At 1:14 AM, Blogger Christa said...

you go girl! Everything that's wrong with a boy starts with his MOTHER.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger Christa said...

which means my son is destined to be screwed up. :) interesting plot twist you got going here.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Joel said...

I've been doing my own laundry since I was 12. But my dad is 52 and he doesn't know how to do his laundry, so... I guess I'm just special :)

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Gloss This said...

Interesting stuff...

I'm thinking it really isn't so much boys/girls but the child and their personality. My 7 year old son helps with the laundry all the time. He actually likes it (freak!). My two brothers also know how to do laundry - my mother started us early. My husband used to know how to do laundry... apparently he's got this thing where, after marriage his brain forgets how to do such thing.


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