Mama, close your computer

Time for a real-talk earnest post. [Backwards chair]

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know I’ve had a rough month. It was almost exactly a month ago I found out we lost one of our twins, nearly halfway through this pregnancy. Complicating the grieving process have been a few things: having to rely on help instead of having the space to grieve, doing so while living through a gut rehab of my kitchen (this family hasn’t had a sink or a home cooked meal since early June) and finally, I am under contract to write nine blog posts a month. Now you know.

The problem with my personality, one who decides everything will be okay no matter what, dammit, is that when I’m sad or grieving or sick or weak, I fight harder. The same trait that has made me survive and churn heartache into applesauce, also makes me come across as abrasive. I did my research and found out a contaminant in our water called Atrazine is known to cause the problems my daughter had, so I took on a mission. German me: why sit around and cry when you can make yourself useful? And so I did.

Yesterday, I wrote a post criticizing Hillary Clinton for ignoring the dire water contamination issue in the US. I made light of her latest humanitarian mission because I felt betrayed as a Clinton supporter, that she’d abandon domestic issues. If this were some other politician, I might not care as much. Hillary Badass Clinton? Ignoring one of the worst pieces in our healthcare puzzle? I’m baffled.

Fun side story: I sat on a board for two years of a group trying to turn an abandoned Chicago hospital into a park. Hillary Clinton happened to be born at that hospital, so I thought our group reaching out might have some effect. It didn’t. It didn’t phase me because I know she’s big and busy and probably didn’t have time for every little thing out there.

That’s what stings about the elephants. It’s like, come home. Why focus on in all that’s wrong with the world out there (and I know plenty is, I’m not endorsing elephant poaching) when there are big, immediate problems that are being sorely ignored right here in the US? Fine, no one cares about a little park in Chicago, but the entire public water supply being contaminated with carcinogens? Children being born with horrendous birth defects, getting cancer and dying? It’s too much to ignore.

The first rule of writing content on the internet is don’t read the comments. We have a bit of a different policy at Chicago Now. We’re encouraged to interact with our readers, a task I usually enjoy. Maybe too much. I once got an email that I was the best comment-responder one had ever read. (Hey, I’m a blade of grass and I stand tall, okay?)

The reaction I got from making light of the elephant poaching issue was extremely negative. While the post got more than my usual traffic, it all seemed to come from an angry, and sometimes unreasonable, mob of elephant advocates. Ever been piled on by a rights group with an axe to burn? Fun times. The most absurd was when someone asked me “what [was] so great about human beings” anyway and another who said I was lying about being a vegetarian. Then it got really vile and someone actually insulted my dead baby and claimed I irrationally blamed the precious elephants for her demise. Wha-? I love me some baby elephants, people. No harm! No foul!

Criticism is okay, the problem yesterday was the time commitment to monitoring it. My two daughters twirled to music and begged, “mama, close your computer!” Just a minute, hon. They wanted to use sparkle glue on their new coloring book. “Mama, let’s do art!” Hang on a minute, babe. And minutes became hours and hours became a day.

I lost a day of my life to internet commenters.

I figured being “on a mission” about water contamination might have some sacrifices. My blog content might be boring. I’d be responsible for facts and figures instead of writing¬†geeky love story cartoons. What I didn’t consider was that it would be at the sacrifice of my children. These little magic faces aren’t going to twirl around my living room forever. They’re going to get big and get their own Facebooks and go on dates with guys wearing¬†fun suits. This isn’t to criticize moms who need a break now and then and get online. I’m just saying for me to spend a whole day interacting with people who hate me when I have two people right here in front of me who love me, doesn’t make any sense.

So. This is post number eight for July. See ya when I see ya, internet. I’ve got some twirl-watching to do.

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Unrelated side note: there is a giant fly buzzing around my ceiling as I type. I’ve decided to name him Walter.


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