It’s been five months since I spontaneously recorded the video “A Married Mom’s Message to Single Moms” and it went viral. It’s at over 5.7 million views on our page (with millions of others on pages like Distractify, CafeMom, Scary Mommy, etc.) and was covered in US Weekly, the Huffington Post, and Global World News.
After years of creating actual high production quality video for MomCave, with scripts, and budgets and full crews… the video that went viral was one I made on my iPhone, stuck in the car with a sleeping baby, in a moment of despair. I was losing my sh*t. My husband is a touring musician who is gone a good deal of the time. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and thought to myself, “I feel like a single mom.” But then I realized that feeling like a single mom is nothing like actually being one and that a married mom saying that was an insult to actual single moms.
The responses have been overwhelming. People from all over the world have been tagging their friends who are single parents to show their support. I’ve gotten hundreds of nice messages thanking me for “getting it.”
Maybe 2% of the comments have been negative. Like:
Your voice is too whiny. (Yeah, I know. I’ve always hated my voice. But that’s my voice.)
You shouldn’t complain because you are not poor or starving. (I’m grateful for that and I know that I’m luckier than most people in the world. But there’s no shame in a mom struggling with stress.)
You have no idea what being a single mom is like. (This is one of my favorite negative comments. Whoever wrote this obviously didn’t watch the video since that is the ENTIRE POINT of the video. I’m struggling and I have a co-parent. It would be a million times harder without one.)
Your husband must be cheating since he’s away so much. (Oh, I can’t wait to record a response to that comment! If all of your life experience with men leads you to this conclusion, I feel badly for you. My husband is working his ass off and sacrificing for our family. He wouldn’t have time or energy for an affair if he wanted to have one. And no matter how insane our lives get, I know this—he still finds me pretty freakin’ hot. I’m lucky there.)
But my absolute favorite negative comment was this–
“You’re so… stupid I can’t say what I really want to. Yes I can. Raising kids is easy. You apparently don’t know what you’re doing. So do the world a favor and don’t have any.”
Here’s my response:
If you think raising kids is easy, you either aren’t a parent or YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. This is what we’re all about here at MomCave–laughing so we don’t cry, telling it like it is.
I always wanted kids, I tried desperately to have them, and had some heartbreaking losses along the way. I love them, protect them, and defend them with the ferocity of a mother lion. Yet, they are also the things that can stress me out more than anything.
Whether it’s the little things that add up, the mental load of it all, or the enormity of knowing that everything you do is shaping a human life, parenting is the toughest job I’ve ever had. Granted, I’ve never been a combat soldier… that must be harder. But I can’t think of anything else that is.
So I admit it, I lose my sh*t more often than I’d like. I have a perpetual kink in my neck, weekly migraines and never feel rested. But I also have the greatest rewards ever. My daughter is a force to be reckoned with, which can make me simultaneously furious and grateful for the woman she will become. My son is a wise old soul who can drive me insane with his adult-ish arguing but also makes me proud of his empathy and thoughtfulness.
So to you, Dude Who Thinks Parenting is Easy, I don’t know what planet you live on. Or what weed you are smoking. But that is not my experience (or the experience of the millions of people who have shared and commented on the video.) And in a way, I feel sorry for you, Dude Who Thinks Parenting is Easy. Because you must be missing something. Something BIG. Humans aren’t easy. Life isn’t easy. And as much as I’d like a good night’s sleep and to poop alone, I would never trade this experience for “easy.”
Jennifer Weedon Palazzo is the creator/writer/and producer of Mom Cave TV, an online network of comedy shows for moms including Slummy Mummy, Double Leche, Blabbermom, and MomCave LIVE. She's a working actress in NYC who has appeared in films, commercials, and some very off-off Broadway plays. When she’s not writing about the funny side of being a mom (for blogs like Scary Mommy and Mamalode) Jennifer can be found eating Reese’s Cups while furiously bidding on vintage clothing on eBay. She lives with her husband, Evan, bandleader of The Hot Sardines and two spirited children.