I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people who find it offensive that I would say my kid is a brat, let alone build a whole website on the premise! Luckily for me, a good friend was kind enough to say what others have surely thought.
Here’s her generous but direct inquiry and my response.
Just wanted to tell you that I love your parenting blog and philosophy. They align very much so with my own mommy philosophy. You clearly have always led with love on that front, and it shows in your thoughtful discussion, and sweet recollections of your history in the trenches. Here’s the thing. What’s with the title? It seems to go against the grain of who you are and how you speak to and of children. A play on being the Kid Whisperer seems much more in tune with your positive approach. To be honest, if I didn’t know you, I would have never read on past the title…and I would have missed out on reading some good stuff! I just don’t believe in labeling my kids in that way. They’ve all had times of equilibrium and disequilibrium, but haven’t we all. I don’t want them labeled as brats any more than I want to be labeled a bitch. Maybe it’s just me. It just occurred to me that you might miss out on some readers if they had the same response as I did. Keep writing! You have a gift.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a thoughtful message with me. I know you’re right about the name. At this point, it’s just about the opposite of what the website is about. I cannot thank you enough for bringing up this issue.
So two things. First off, it’s evolution. I first wrote a little brat book 3 years ago. At the time I was tired of all the raggedy-ass parents raising all these bad ass kids. Hence the title. Then, I got back to Milwaukee in 2010, started working that high octane job, the brat stuff went on the shelf. The interesting thing is the reason I revived the website. I was setting up a domain for something at work. The person I was working with was looking over my shoulder as I went into my personal web hosting account. She started chuckling and said, “I’m sorry but that mykidsabrat.com just caught my eye. It’s funny.”
I thought a lot about her comment that afternoon. I realized that I had something with the brat stuff that I shouldn’t leave on the table. The idea that your kid is a brat is cringe inducing. No one wants to think he or she has a bratty kid. And yet, we also use the word as a teasing term of endearment. People are drawn and repelled at the same time. When I dusted it off the shelf a couple months ago and started site back up. I was different. The way I wanted to approach sharing parenting insights was different. I was no longer coming from a place of being angry about crappy parenting. I was now coming from a place of compassion and love for that it means to try and be a good parent while also still navigating your own journey as a human being.
All I can tell you is, you’re right but I can’t change the name because, in a way, the name encompasses everything that the site is about. It is what I am and how I approach loving and guiding children…with a teasing love and endearment.
To tell the truth, there was a while there when I wasn’t telling people about the site because I was almost embarrassed about the name! But now, I own it. In the name is the ugliness and the beauty of the parenting journey all rolled into one. Some people are so sensitive about the parenting that they would never go to my site because they’re offended by the name. But you know what? Those types of people would never get our styles of parenting anyway. And they certainly would not appreciate my twisted humor! The irony is the name. The irony is me.