Like half the dedicated blogosphere, I was at the BlogHer Conference recently—though unlike most of the attendees, I am here for work.
It’s a strange phenomenon for an introverted extrovert like me, and unlike most of my business trips, I was on the road for four days rather than a single day trip, and each time my Blackberry buzzed with a new email, I checked eagerly in anticipation of a potential update from my mom, who looked after my three-year-old son. The morning I left, he’d awoke with a grotesquely swollen left eye; a mosquito bite gone very wrong.
“It’s OK, Mommy,” he assured me with his normal glass-is-half-full optimism, “It would get better soon. I awight!”
But the guilt almost killed me as I drove to the airport and thought about him and his swollen eye and my mom saving my life once again. She sends little snippets every day, starting with “Hi Sweetpea,” and assuring me that, though my boy misses me, he is fine.
Thursday night, I stood in the corridor of a hallway of the BlogHer hotel, thinking about bed and my son and the fact that my feet were about to walk themselves to China in protest of my abuse of them. I was chatting with one blogger when another sidled up. We made small talk; I thought again how many amazing opportunities the blogosphere had opened for me.
Suddenly, the conversation took a veer to the right.
“What are you doing having a man over at your house when your son is there?” She was looking at me.
“What?” I was taken aback for a moment, until I realized I’d written on my personal blog about navigating the very difficult course of dating as a single mom.
“What are you doing?” she repeated, referencing my blog post. She had an edge to her voice, it was obvious she did not approve of what I was “doing” and wanted to discuss rectification of the matter.
I said the first thing that came into my mind.
“Don’t judge me,” I replied bluntly, “You have no idea how hard the last few years have been and I am trying to find my way here.”
But I ruminated on the conversation all night. As a single mom, I’ve felt judged more than I ever have previously. Silent judgments like, Why did your husband leave you? How did you fail him? How will you bring up a decent human being in a one-parent household?
We all make judgments as parents; of each other and of ourselves. My opinion is that, outside of the blogs and in real life, those judgments need to be kept to themselves. We are all doing the best that we can.
By Kristin Darguzas