What Is With All the Bad Reviews?

A friend emailed me to tell me that someone reviewed our books over the weekend and hates us. Obvious I went and looked straightaway and this is what I saw.

Quite possibly the worst book on mothering. Ever., August 31, 2008
Compulsive Reader (New York, New York) – See all my reviewsAn unbelievably depressing and simplistic memoir of sorts by a woman who evidently finds her ineptitude as a mother hilarious, this book manages to make babies sound like a cross between cancer and the IRS. The constant references to drug use are sickening, and her aversion to natural processes disturbing. Note to the author: motherhood can be a blast, and not just because of the hormones.

I have to say that I don’t mind bad reviews if they are at least thoughtful but a lot of the bad reviews my book garners are from people who are vehemently opposed to me as an author and anything I have to say. Do these people think I’m home abusing my children? Does every book about babies have to be all cupcakes and roses? Can’t we have a little fun sometimes? Why are so many people so earnest that they have reactions like this woman? I wish she was alone in this thinking but judging from the numerous 1 star reviews, she’s got company.

I don’t feel that I come off as a person who doesn’t love my child in Sippy Cups. On the contrary, I strive to be the best mom I can be and as a result end up feeling tons of “not measuring up” guilt and worry. I am brimming over the top with love for Elby (who Sippy Cups was about). My heart hurts when I think about how mad I am for her and how proud and happy I am to be her mama. I watch her sleep. I enjoy her company. I absolutely love to answer her questions like “Why are there trucks and cars too?” “Why is purple your favorite color?” When Jon and I go out to eat we’re those annoying people who just can’t stop talking about the new things our children did that day and how ridiculously hopelessly helplessly head-over-heels in love with them we are. But, DUH! That’s not what the book is about. The book is meant to bring us together in that the first year or so is mindblowing and overwhelming that it can be tough to enjoy it – CONSTANTLY. Why are people so opposed to hearing that? Anyone have an idea?

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on September 2, 2008 6:31 pmUncategorized72 comments  


  1. Immoral Matriarch said,

    Oh my Gosh – SCREW her. I really despise it when people check their sense of humors at the door before delving into what’s obviously supposed to be funny and tongue in cheek. And if she disliked Sippy Cups so badly, why did she also read Naptime? I have a strong feeling she really didn’t read either.

    I stalked through her reviews and noticed a pattern: well known lit she gave high reviews to – memoir pieces not so much. I’m guessing she’s a scorned writer who’s own manuscripts were turned down consistently until she realized that no one really gave a crap about what she had to say.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  2. Aunt Becky said,

    I’d imagine that it’s pure jealousy. Sure, maybe your attitudes on parenting don’t match hers, but that’s because she’s fucking boring.

    She’s probably got a blog and a book about how amazing her kids are, spends her life focusing only on them and will be horrified to learn that her kids aren’t merely extensions of herself. And that they hate her.

    What? I’m not hormonal. I’m just fucking pissy.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

  3. Aunt Becky said,

    Besides, she called Jerry Maguire “Magnificent.” Come on now.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

  4. Mama Ginger Tree said,

    Personally, I found Sippy Cups and Naptime refreshing. As a new mom I found very few places where I felt comfortable laughing at myself or people who would admit how hard it was and how much new motherhood sucked the life out of me.

    I love my kids so much it is painful sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to complain about motherhood and make light of the mundane parts. I never once after reading your blogs or your books got the impression that you don’t love your daughters or don’t strive to be a good mother.

    I wish that my own mother would admit how hard motherhood can be. I want my daughters to know how much I love them, but also feel like they can vent to me when they have their own kids and we can all have a good laugh.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  5. Willow said,

    “Perfectly packaged is a compliment right?” Awesome!

    For goodness sake, why can’t people take things in the spirit they are obviously meant? And I agree with Matriarch, if I dislike a book as much as she appears to dislike your first, I sure as hell am not going to waste my money on buying another by the same author. If I were cynical I might think she had the second review all written before she bought the book…

    | September 2, 2008 @ 7:30 pm

  6. Cheryl Lage said,

    Feel better. I'll see your bad review and raise you this one I got last month:

    "0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

    Skip this one, July 27, 2008
    [Name omitted so I don't seem THAT bitter 😉 ]

    I did not like this book at all. I hated the authors style of wrting, her personal views & found it very diffcult to read. Don't waste your time…"

    Your books are hysterical…as my mama always said, "If you cannot say something nice…" and "If you don't like what's on TV, turn it off."

    Sticks and stones, Sister. Sticks and stones…

    | September 2, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

  7. Emily said,

    I don’t have children yet, but your blog makes me want them!

    And it makes me want to teach my kids to greatly dislike peope like that.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  8. MetroDad said,

    It’s either Robin Karr-Morse or E.B.White. Motherfuckers!

    | September 2, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

  9. Daddy Dan said,

    I wouldn’t let her bother you too much. She rated every “Mommy book” she’s reviewed at one-star.

    She has issues.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

  10. Mrs. B. Roth said,

    Good Gravy, you have written and published 3 (THREE?!) books? How did I miss you’re self advertising on the side bar? I LIKE a snarky sense of humor. Next time my husband asks me if I want anything from Amazon so he can get the free shipping, you are totally IT. And I’ll help improve your 4.5 star status if I can. You did notice that the overwhelming majority gave you 5 stars, right (or are those the reviews of close friends, family, and others who hope to profit from your success?).

    Nap time is always happy hour, even for a teetotaler.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 8:12 pm

  11. Mommy Melee said,

    Who doesn’t hate their kids once in a while anyway. 😛

    | September 2, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

  12. M. Butterfly said,

    I agree with the above poster who speculated that she may be a failing writer who is now subsequently bitter. She gave all but ONE one of the books she reviewed single-star ratings– and my, did you look at the lone book that received 5 stars from her? I’m not saying anything *against* the book, only that it appears to be the type of so gritty I would read it with a dose of prozac on hand.

    Long comment shorter– I would chalk it up to “What a c**t” and be glad that you have better things to do than bash other writers. And that, as witnessed by these comments, you have a lot more people in your corner than she does.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

  13. Anonymous said,

    I hate when authors respond to their bad reviews. It turns me off from reading the book more than a bad review. I already read your book and gave it a good review, but, I’m sorry to say, this is has turned me off from reading your books (and blog). I’m sorry, it just really bothers me.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

  14. Stacey said,

    My theory is people like that were not allowed, by the people around them, to acknowledge that parenting isn’t 100% bliss all the time.

    So they are not about to let you get away with doing it.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  15. M. Butterfly said,

    to anonymous-
    In many cases I would be inclined to agree with you and say that you can’t please everybody/there’s no use getting defensive when someone doesn’t like your work. However, this reviewer is attacking her competence as a parent, and in my mind if you’re reviewing someone’s work, you have no reason at all to comment on something as personal as whether or not they’re a fit parent.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 9:08 pm

  16. Stefanie said,

    To Anonymous that doesn’t care to read my blog or books anymore because I responded to a review: (as M. Butterfly said) It annoys me as well which is why I rarely if ever do it. You can see that I have plenty of nasty reviews of Sippy Cups and didn’t respond to (I believe) any of them. And a bunch of them had to do with only one chapter (breast feeding). But, for some reason, after all this time, I do find it suspect when someone decides I’m a bad parent based on my sense of humor. If they are allowed to write whatever they want on Amazon for the world to read, why should I not respond? I think you should know that in this day and age, all authors, musicians etc. have Google and ready access to the things people say about them. Yes, anyone who put something out to the public does have to have a thick skin, and I, for the most part, do. But, I don’t think it’s fair for people to make their bad reviews such personal attacks with no consequences. If you read big websites where readers are allowed to respond with comments to every column, you will regularly see the author of said column respond to negative comments. Why should Amazon be any different?

    | September 2, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

  17. Sarah said,

    I was eager to see your response, but it looks like the Reviewer deleted it.

    I guess she can dish it but can’t take it!

    | September 2, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

  18. Elise said,

    My guess is that the reviewer (and others like her) occasionally finds herself annoyed at her kids, allows them to eat way too much crap and watch TV for too long, and then feels so terrible about herself that she vows never to be such a way EVER AGAIN. And then the next time it happens, she vows it even more vehemently. And so on and so forth.

    So, reading someone well-adjusted, like you, who admits that it’s not all roses and smileys 100% of the time, she sees herself and resents it. And voila, bad review!

    She is disillusioned and kind of sad.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

  19. Anonymous said,

    I think you sound very defensive. Reviews are reviews and we live in a country where they can be negative or positive or both. I think many of your blog entries are interesting and humorous and some are really defensive and put people down so I don’t know why someone putting your parenting down bothers you. I see that you deleted your response.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

  20. Stefanie said,

    Hi again, anonymous. I thought you were done reading my blog now that I responded to a review. But I guess you’re still reading. Honestly, I blog to put anyone down and I apologize if I have but, it’s a blog and I’m not asking for a critique. As far as books go, of course people are entitled to their opinion which is exactly why I so very rarely respond to anything negative people say about me. Sometimes though, people do cross the line because they are “anonymous” like you or the person who wrote the review on Amazon and they don’t think their target will see. I just like people to know that we smaller authors are here. And we are reading.

    One more thing, most blog authors respond to comments on their blogs. Is this unacceptable to you as well or is it just Amazon?

    | September 2, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

  21. Anonymous said,

    I just want to say that second Anonymous is another person. I don’t want to post my name because I remember a post where a poster got attacked. Although what that person posted was rude and inappropriate I didn’t want to take any chance. I’m still reading your blog right now because I still wanted to know why you thought it was OK to respond and I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. Your blog is different from Amazon because if I’m reading your blog I expect to see your opinions because I liked your book, but when I go on Amazon and the like I’m looking to buy books. That is a forum to be a professional. It’s perfectly acceptable (to me, can’t speak for everyone of course) to bitch about it on your blog, that’s what it’s for, but not on a “storefront”. To me it reads like getting into a fight with someone at a signing. Plus your positive reviews far outweigh your negative so anyone reading a bad review would know she’s way off base.

    | September 2, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

  22. Stefanie said,

    Dear Anonymous #1: I agree that Amazon is a storefront and after reading your comment I did in fact remove my response. Out of 19 bad reviews, I only responded once and that was to ask that people please read the book before leaving harsh comments about my “supposed” response on breast feeding. Other than that, I have left a very silly comment once just to be funny.

    As far as you saying that I went off on someone who commented on my blog, that situation was different. I also, kept that person’s identity anonymous despite the fact they they left the comment under their blog name. I removed the comment before talking about it on my blog and that person INVITED my readers to go look at her blog. I believe I was mistaken to have taken that woman’s comment that my baby was “probably starving to death” as being harsh and I apologized to her through email. But, again, I didn’t out her on my blog. So you can feel free to post under your real blog name (if you have one) anytime without worrying about reprecussions (at least from me).

    I leave my blog open to comments from anonymous readers for exactly this reason; if you want to post something without your name, that’s fine with me. It’s your opinion. But it’s my blog and I’m entitled to respond, yes?

    | September 2, 2008 @ 11:12 pm

  23. Kim said,

    Sorry, I can’t offer any insight. I laughed my ass off at ‘Naptime’.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  24. Anonymous said,

    ok great-i always comment under “anonymous” because I’m computer illiterate and I can’t figure out how to do it differently. But, I am not any of those other people, just so we got that straight!
    Love your books, obsessed really.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:22 am

  25. Anonymous said,

    I think it is true that on your blog you have carte blanche to say anything you want. That’s what is so great about living in this country. But it just seemed like sour grapes to take issue with a person on amazon who took issue with your book with critical comments. Many bloggers seem to want to rescue you by going onto amazon or even on your blog and attacking a person with a different view than your own and that troubles me as a writer. Unfortunately I see this as a female response and that even troubles me more as a woman who believes that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I write reviews of books and I do criticize writers and I also make very positive comments about writers. That is what reviewing is all about.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:24 am

  26. Sally HP said,

    It’s called no sense of humor, and we wouldn’t want to be their friend anyway. I think you’re awesome,and I’m getting your books for my sister who just found out she’s having a baby. We all say things about ourselves and our kids that we don’t ‘really’ mean, but it’s what makes it all funny. Nobody who has half a brain doubts that you love your kids. I sincerely appreciate your writing…it’s the talk about the ‘dark side’ of motherhood that is interesting…who really wants to read about how much someone appreciates their kids all the time?

    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:27 am

  27. Stefanie said,

    Anonymous, you see this as a female response? I’m finding this whole conversation strange. Here’s the thing: I’ve already said that people are entitled to their opinion. I do not respond to most negative reviews. BUT…when someone writes something personal and spiteful do you not think that I’m entitled to respond? Like you said, it’s a free country right? The is Amazon and it invites comments to reviews. If you want to write a negative review of my book for the newspaper – go right ahead and I won’t be able to respond but if you write it on a site like Amazon where I can respond then beware – if you’re mean and nasty and clearly have not even read the book (Naptime) then you may hear from the author. You know what they say about critics…

    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:40 am

  28. Elizabeth Lyons said,

    Let us start a Bad Comment club, shall we? Perhaps if we draw attention to these folks, they’ll stop. And why is it, I might ask, that folks have TONS of time to write something nasty, but no time to write something lovely? I mean, surely, there are more folks out there who love your book(s) than not, yes?

    Here’s on of my personal favorites (a review of Ready or Not..Here We Come): “The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Twins.” A direct quote from the review: “I didn’t go through years of fertility treatments to figure out the most convenient way to ignore my kids.” Lovely. What are you doing right now as you write this review, lady? Ignoring your kids? I thought so.

    Then there was the woman who said that reading my book was actually more depressing than reading about babies who die before being born. I had that one removed. I did. Because that’s just wrong.

    For what it’s worth, I think you rock.


    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:45 am

  29. Cynthia Sobo said,

    two words. Scrap booker.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:48 am

  30. Stefanie said,

    Exactly, Liz. If we were on the radio talking about our views, people could call in and debate but we’d have a voice. But when you write a book, people think it’s fine to tear you a new one and face no consequence. Well, guess what. People are going to defend what they like. Be it bloggers, fellow authors or readers. If you look at the book Stuff White People Like on Amazon, one of the negative reviews got 70 comments from readers who thought the reviewer was ridiculous. Should that be outlawed?

    | September 3, 2008 @ 12:50 am

  31. HappyYogaMama said,

    Sippy Cups was one of the first books I read after having my first (and so far, only) child. I was completely FREAKED out at the time and Sippy Cups was Step 1 in the direction of “I don’t have to be perfect and it will still turn out okay”. So thank you!

    | September 3, 2008 @ 1:45 am

  32. J-momma said,

    it’s cause they secretly hate their kids that’s why. they are insecure about their own feelings toward parenting. it’s so obvious. 🙂 don’t worry, you’re not the only one that thinks mothering isn’t all roses and cupcakes. most days it’s all poop diapers and mud pies for me!

    | September 3, 2008 @ 1:54 am

  33. iMommy said,

    My goodness you’ve got a nice debate going on here.

    I think that some people honestly just don’t think before writing/speaking. She probably didn’t even consider that you were a real person, a mother, with a personality and a sense of humor. She probably also wouldn’t get sarcastic humor in person, either.

    For the record, I think that a response on Amazon is completely acceptable. Though Amazon is a “business” website, user reviews and the ability to comment on user reviews are a social aspect of the website. That means that Amazon is welcoming and soliciting user feedback on products but also user feedback on product reviews. Get your opinion and (calm, measured) response out there if you want to. You have just as much a right to that as she has to post a negative review. As you said – free country!

    | September 3, 2008 @ 2:31 am

  34. bridget said,

    I liked both of your books so much that I give them as presents to my new-mommy friends! I think we should go overwhelm the bad reviews with tons and tons of good ones!

    | September 3, 2008 @ 3:00 am

  35. Stefanie said,

    I think good reviews are a fabulous idea. Show those naysayer what they’re missing. But shhhh, you didn’t hear it from me.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 3:29 am

  36. MereCat said,

    I think they miss the point. Grossly. Miss. the. point. I feel like your books are more about dealing with imperfection in a world you want to make completely perfect for the most precious thing in your life. Life is not perfect, people are not perfect, and if you try to make something perfect it will be as broken and twisted as any family could be. There are a group of people out here who need to hear that imperfect is good. Anyway, that’s how I read it. I like your books, and your candor.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 3:58 am

  37. Undomestic Diva said,

    I hate people.

    I write for my local newspaper – a funny, sarcastic column on parenting – and promptly receive hate mail from 90 year old men who tell me I should have never been *allowed* to have kids.

    Fuck ’em all.

    (But I know it’s still hard to hear/read it.)

    | September 3, 2008 @ 4:00 am

  38. Dana said,

    I haven’t read your books because… And GOD I HATE TO ADMIT THIS… I’m too broke to buy them! That being said… Sometimes people just have to be bitches… Ignore them! And I love your blog by the way, and I am certain I would love your books too!

    | September 3, 2008 @ 4:42 am

  39. Mandy said,

    I read all the comments here with interest.

    I have to say, I agree with you that it’s fine to post a negative review, but it should still be a thoughtful review about the writing, not some sort of attack on a writer’s character or qualities.

    I haven’t read your books, but now I’m motivated to go out and do so. I am enjoying your blog though, having found it about a month ago. Personally, I like your sense of humour.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 4:51 am

  40. Ms Picket To You said,

    is that reviewer sarah palin? just wondering.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  41. MB said,

    Because people have forgotten how to have a sense of humor. You cannot make jokes in public anymore without someone giving you a dirty look (or worse). I told Gracie if she didn’t stop (insert annoyance here) I was going to knock her out. I cannot begin to count the number of dirty looks I got. Because I would really knock her out? Puhlease.

    Lighten up people.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  42. Anonymous said,

    Dear Anonymous:

    She never defended her book, she just made a funny comment.

    However, the reviewer was nasty to her and called her a bad mother… never having met her or her children. You really think that is acceptable or PROFESSIONAL? Don’t like the book? Write a bad review of the writing but don’t start name calling because you can’t come up with something more creative to say about the actual book. That’s unprofessional…and POORLY written!


    | September 3, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

  43. Karen B. said,

    Wow – I actually feel sorry for that reviewer…how much fun can life be when you have absolutely no sense of humor? Sad…very, very sad. I, just one of many, admire and applaud you for being brave enough to share your experiences with levity and irreverence and honesty. Motherhood is not “all cupcakes and roses” (although there have been an awful lot of cupcakes – many jammed whole in my mouth as I lean over the sink – maybe not all the baby weight came from the baby for me?) and too many are afraid to admit they feel that way because people might think they are a bad mother. I have a 13 year old daughter – if she doesn’t tell me she hates me sometimes I am not doing my job as a parent, and while I love her more than anything else on the planet, I am understanding why some species eat their young or abandon them at early ages (not that I ever would, mind you, but I understand). If I could not find humor in motherhood, marriage and life in general, I would have to be heavily medicated or institutionalized or something. As to you, rock on, write on, and those of us that live in the reality of motherhood will remain laughing, loyal fans.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

  44. Mitzi said,

    Oh girl, fuck her if she can’t take a joke.

    People either GET you or they don’t. I do, she doesn’t.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

  45. rebecca said,

    i think that some people just have no sense of humour.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

  46. erin said,

    It really is too bad that we can’t all be perfect mothers like compulsive reader. She needs to loosen up a bit and find her sense of humor.

    I think your books are fantastic. They make me feel normal. You have given me many a laugh when I really needed it (especially after my second bebe was born). thanks!

    | September 3, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

  47. Laggin said,

    Isn’t your bad reviewer probably just one of those “perfect moms” that you write about so hilariously…someone who can’t accept the natural flaws in herself and her kids.

    I stick my tongue out at your reviewer because I am WAY more mature than her.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  48. CaraBee said,

    Your books are great. They are the first I read that actually made me realize that not only was I not alone in much of what I was going through but that it was actually okay. Please don’t let this get to you. Think of this nasty reviewer like any other troll: not worth your time.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

  49. WA said,

    It's pretty obvious from the TITLE of your books that they're going to be irreverent. But maybe your next one should be called "Jesus Gave Me Precious Children & I'm Not Worthy". Just a thought.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  50. seran said,

    I like your blog – most of the time – and suspect I’d like you in person, tho I’m not sure you’d like me. But I’ve never read your books because I have a sneaking suspicion I wouldn’t enjoy them. (Of course now having said that I will read them to see if I need to eat crow.)

    The reason is that you often seem to come from a place of defensiveness. An example would be your recent posts about television watching and smug mamas. Instead of getting to a place where you just don’t care what other people are doing or what they think about what you’re doing, you have to tell yourself they’re being dishonest about their own lives.

    My best friend doesn’t own a television, works as a dean of admissions at a medical school, commutes in southern california, and is raising three daughters.

    I could not do any of that. My commute is five minutes, I work short days and one baby has me snowed. Guess what else? I am literally counting the minutes until I can plop her in a baby bumpo and stick her in front of the tv. Research shows kids who watch tv are smarter, but even if were the opposite, I’d still be counting the minutes and I don’t apologize to anyone for it. I’m a good mom. No, I’m a fucking fantastic mom and I never question it and I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks.

    Most of the women in my life are like this. All different, but all successful in their own ways and not too apologetic about their comparisons to others. They don’t define themselves by rejecting someone else’s expectations.

    Of course, none of us are as funny as you are either.:-) My point is simply that you asked for honest feedback on why people might not like your books and this was my first thought: you let the guilt get to you and then make fun of other people to deal with it.

    Lots of people deserve to be made fun of, but there truly are super moms out there who do it all better than I do: no tv, only healthy food, breastfeeding until the kids are two, homeschooling, etc. I don’t think we’re really empowered until we stop comparing ourselves to them and we certainly shouldn’t need to put them down or believe they’re liars to feel good about ourselves. More power to them. I couldn’t do it, don’t want to, and am perfectly comfortable with that. I have my own things going on.

    A theme of your blog seems to be that we women shouldn’t put each other down and should be more supportive of our differences and that it’s not always easy to deal with someone else’s expectations, etc. Well again, it might not be as funny, but that should include even the supermamas out there.

    Another example I can think of: I previously posted anonymously about you making fun of Elisha Cuthbert’s ass and then wanting to exempt your own daughter from a culture that will make her feel bad about her body. (I posted anonymously cuz I hadn’t updated my own blog and didn’t want anyone reading it till I did.) Anyway, maybe your own daughter doesn’t read these blog posts, but other people’s daughters do. If you wish Elby could grow up in a world where she didn’t have pressure to have the perfect body, but meantime you’re adding to a culture where someone who nearly is perfect isn’t good enough…

    I know a bunch of ladies are now gonna point out that I have no sense of humor. I get it. I think the blog’s funny. Stephanie asked for thoughts on negative reviews and these are my thougts.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

  51. Train Geek said,

    Not everyone is going to like your books. Some may react strongly to them in a negative way. Just like your blog! Learn to live with it. It’s probably best if you just don’t read reviews.

    I haven’t read your books but I like your blog.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  52. Stefanie said,

    Seran, you raise quite a few issues here so let me try to address them all if I can or feel like it.
    Here are a few points you make:

    “The reason is that you often seem to come from a place of defensiveness. An example would be your recent posts about television watching and smug mamas. Instead of getting to a place where you just don’t care what other people are doing or what they think about what you’re doing, you have to tell yourself they’re being dishonest about their own lives”

    I suppose I could ammend this to be “most moms lie” or “a lot of moms lie” but that’s not quite as funny to me. I find it difficult to truly not care what anyone else is doing, don’t you? Maybe I’m not as enlightened as I’d like to be but I still fall prey to mother’s who brag just like many other woman who are like me and take comfort from my books. Also, to be humorous, there can’t be a lot of grey area. Funny is pretty black and white where I come from. If you don’t have a strong opinion then you don’t have something pressing to say and therefore why is anyone going to buy your book?

    “Lots of people deserve to be made fun of, but there truly are super moms out there who do it all better than I do: no tv, only healthy food, breastfeeding until the kids are two, homeschooling, etc.”

    Why do you assume that breastfeeding until two or no tv or homeschooling is better? My attitude is that as long as you are giving attention to your child and making the best decisions you can for them it’s all good. It’s seems like you are the one comparing yourself to an ideal that I don’t even share. I wanted to breastfeed (not to 2 yrs. but at least 3 months and couldn’t do it – all I say is that’s OKAY too).

    “Another example I can think of: I previously posted anonymously about you making fun of Elisha Cuthbert’s ass and then wanting to exempt your own daughter from a culture that will make her feel bad about her body. Maybe your own daughter doesn’t read these blog posts, but other people’s daughters do. If you wish Elby could grow up in a world where she didn’t have pressure to have the perfect body, but meantime you’re adding to a culture where someone who nearly is perfect isn’t good enough… “

    Here’s the thing I think got lost for you. The point was that I think that What Would Tyler Durdan Do is a funny site. His writing often makes me laugh out loud. When he posted about Elisa Cuthbert’s ass, my point was that I looked at the picture, laughed at the WRITING and then was like “wow, I WISH my ass looked as good as hers.” Point being that I’m not perfect and don’t expect anyone else to be. And what the fuck is perfect anyway? I grew up with a massive eating disorder that stole half my teen years and a few of my twenties, I do not condone making fun of women’s bodies. And, like I said, I go out of my way to make my daughter proud of her bod. I was merely pointing out how easily we can get caught up in societal viewpoints.

    Bottom line here for me: you are welcome to disagree with anything I say. After all, it is a public forum. But I write this blog for free. I have no advertising (besides BlogHer – although I’d welcome ad revenue). What I do here, is speak the truth – MY truth. I think it takes balls to write about the things I write about – depression, medication, post partum depression, not breastfeeding, feeling lonely, being selfish, being human. It’s one of the very few things I seem to do well – not hold anything back. This, I believe, is why people read me and I will continue to do exactly what I do. If I start writing my books or my blog watered down for fear of hurting someone’s feelings, what’s the point? I’m not the greatest writer so I hang my hat on honesty and I seem to be making a living that way. Thanks for your comments.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

  53. Stefanie said,

    Train Geek, REALLY? Have you written a book? If so, have you not read the reviews? I’m human. I’m insecure. I’m needy. I like validation. What can I tell you? These are things I write about.

    Thanks for the tip but easier said than done.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  54. Carolyn...Online said,

    Damn I hate it when I’m late to the party.

    It’s always a dangerous thing to take a look at the humorous holyshit moments in the beginning of parenting and extrapolate that into what kind of a parent the writer is.

    I may have ten minutes today when I would like to lock my kids out of the house. I would write about that. Because it’s funny. But you can’t see that as my whole life because it negates the other 1430 minutes of my day.

    And we’re all human. And we all hate when people say they didn’t like something we made.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

  55. Catwoman said,

    I know I’ve told you this before and I’m sure you’re just sick of it, but seriously? The chapter on baby music classes in Sippy Cups totally changed my life! Before I read that, I thought that I was a freak, that no other mother out there thought that playing peekaboo with a newborn was mind-numbingly boring.

    Then I read your book and went “holy crap! I’m not the only one who can see the ridiculousness of some of it.”

    I think you rock. I don’t think you’re a bad parent. I think, like you said, you’re just smart enough to see the humor in the whole mommy shinding. And if anything, that makes you a better parent. Because, dear God, I was raised by someone who took it too seriously, and man, did I ever have a non-fun childhood…

    | September 3, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  56. Ms. Bar B: said,

    The people who join this lady in her thoughts MUST be on mind numbing drugs. I mean, come on?? I haven’t even read your books yet and even I can see from your writing here on your blog what your true intentions would be in your books. You are a GREAT writer, an even better mother and don’t EVER let no up tight, anti-reality, probably super conservative broad or dude tell you otherwise!!!

    | September 3, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  57. L.A. Daddy said,

    I think if the reviewer could just get to know you better, she’d really hate you.

    Some people can’t take irony, humor, sarcasm, or snark unless it’s served up by Larry the Cable Guy.

    Get ‘er dun.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 9:05 pm

  58. Erin said,

    I agree with others…screw her! Apparently she’s a perfect mom with perfect kids and her life is unbelievably BORING because of that. You provide a fun insight to mothering with situations and thoughts that we’ve ALL had, whether we’ll admit it or not.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

  59. Erin said,

    Back after reading those reviews and WOW. You can tell right away who the “newbies” are. You know, first baby, read all the books, took the classes, had the ideal birth, their baby is “bfing like a champ!”, and on and on. Give them a few years and a couple more kids…your books will become their Bible;)

    | September 3, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  60. Anonymous said,

    How about a new blog entry. No matter what anyone says you will likely be defensive so let’s move on.

    | September 3, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

  61. seran said,

    Stephanie, First let me say that is genuinely refreshing to have an exchange of ideas without a bunch of estrogen fueled drama. And I agree with almost all of what you say.

    Even as I was writing my comment I realized that you wouldn’t be half as funny if you weren’t so neurotic.:-) And I say that in good spirit, not as an insult. I’m totally neurotic myself, tho in different ways. And you write funny books that sell! So why should you change no matter how many people don’t like your books? My own blog is not at all funny: I have about five readers and they are all related to me.

    I was all prepared to say that No I genuinely don’t care what other people think. But then I thought of all kinds of situations in which I do. Maybe I just care less, maybe I just care about different things, or maybe I’m a total hypocrite. I’m not sure anymore; I’ll have to think on it. But I am definite that we would all be better off if we didn’t let other people make us feel inadequate. Admittedly probably less funny too.

    I think you are wrong about me comparing myself to someone else’s ideal. My original post was inartfully worded if it suggested that I am. Like I said, I don’t feel at all bad about the tv thing or a whole host of other stuff people get worked up about.

    But I do feel guilt about failing to live up to *my own* ideals. I wish I was more committed to breastfeeding. I’m inches from throwing in the towel on that, maybe I’ll write a (unfunny) blog on why called Nursing is My Kryptonite. I do think nursing is best, not that I want to start a debate or cast judgment on anyone. Despite thinking it’s best I might not do it, so clearly I’m not judging. I wish I played more with my daughter or danced around to the radio with her more. But my back hurts. I wish I walked my dog more and flossed my teeth everyday. But like you I enjoy my time on the internet.

    It makes perfect sense to me to feel guilt for not living up to your own ideals. But it makes no sense to me to feel guilty about not living up to someone else’s.

    By the way, your recent post on anxiety and zoloft changed my life. It made me cry because my neurosis is anxiety. Two days later, my daughter’s pediatrician flat out told me to go see someone and ask for zoloft (which actually *is* very funny). I did and had the scrip filled, but it sits by my bed untouched. Why? Because despite two docs telling me it’s okay to take while breastfeeding, the thought of it STRESSES ME OUT TOO MUCH.:-)

    I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your post on Elisha Cuthbert. Sometimes I’m dense, what can I say?

    | September 4, 2008 @ 12:19 am

  62. Rebecca said,

    Oh people are so precious about parenthood. they want to keep it a secret that it can be tough and that it doesn’t fulfil your every desire.

    i love my kids. i do almost anything for them but it’s also tough. and funny.

    i like your humour.

    | September 4, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  63. Bridget said,

    She’s one of those “super moms” who has to keep of the image that she loves being a mom 24-7 and that she spends every minute of her day with a baby latched to a boob as she cleans and cooks and looks perfect with her hair/makeup/clothes done by 7am every morning.

    I don’t buy it.

    I think everyone has moments where they feel just as you write. Just the book is focusing on that aspect of thought. HELLO CRAZY LADY!!! I’m sure her whole life isn’t summed up in one book. (or two).

    I frankly enjoy a lighthearted look at the gritty and sometimes overwhelming (or underwhelming) parts of motherhood… so I know I’m not alone and I shouldn’t feel bad about not wanting to play teacups that 40th time in a day.

    I haven’t read your books. (sorry, just found your blog last week). But anyone who takes a book that seriously needs to rethink their own outlook on life. You’re not going to find the parenting answers in A book. It kills me when people ask, “how do I do x,y,z?” Ummm some things are up to you to figure out. There are tips out there… yes your pedi can give you some. But ultimately, you know your baby. figure it out on your own.

    ok, that was a vent. 😉

    | September 4, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  64. Anonymous said,

    I loved your book, it cracked me up. I saved it and sent it to my SIL. I think some people just suck. End of post!!

    | September 5, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

  65. twinmama2aj said,

    well at least the bad reviews is spurring on lots of comments. You’re going to need to clone another one of you to respond to all these comments… jeezzz… and now I’m contributing to it.

    So here’s my 2 bits. Thanks for being who you are. I don’t read a lot. I have twins and I need to read something funny if I do read and well I love your raw edginess and it is deep down inside how I feel sometimes but can’t express it. So thanks for reading my mind and heart.

    | September 7, 2008 @ 4:15 am

  66. AMomTwoBoys said,

    Holy crap. I thought the post was funny, but THIS is even better. Seriously, WTF people?

    I’ve been MIA for a few weeks (as I’m sure you’ve noticed and have been up at night worrying about) and this totally reminds me why I LOVE you. And your mothering skills.

    Speaking of mothering skills, Heather (Spohr) and I are working on planning a night out on the 17th and your presence is required. The evening will involve lots of drinking and (hopefully) very little talk of our children. But certainly lots of making fun of stupid people. :0)

    | September 8, 2008 @ 1:56 am

  67. Rhea said,

    I think I need to check out your book, because it sounds hilarious. I love a unique voice, and motherhood isn’t all saintly and lovey dovey. IT has all sides, and we should be able to enjoy all of them. That reviewer sucks.

    | September 8, 2008 @ 4:50 am

  68. Piccinigirl said,

    I totally agree, Screw that lady. That book, your book saved my sanity….seriously. Being pregnant with twins was scary, having them and having to take care of them was bordering on eating my sanity when I read your book and in between nodding my head and crying tears of joy/frustration/understanding I found that humor really does hold us together in our dark times.

    Your book changed my life in the best possible way, it made me LAUGH.

    | September 10, 2008 @ 7:41 pm

  69. andreaaskowitz.com said,

    Oh please. Bad reviews happen because those reviewers wish they had written the book.

    | September 12, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  70. gillberk said,

    “Let’s face it, we weren’t expecting something that might compare favorably to Shakespeare. With the diminished expectations because of Screenergate, some will be surprised that the cast is even able to make it through the script without succumbing to chronic hyperventilation. So based on that measure, ‘90210’ knocks it out of the park.”


    | September 29, 2008 @ 5:51 pm

  71. sesi said,


    | December 22, 2008 @ 7:57 am

  72. Dawn said,

    Women like her comprise one of the reasons I wanted to stay childfree – forever! I loved kids, but didn’t like the “fakey-happy-everything-is-rainbows and if you don’t think so you’re a shitty other” attitude that’s supposed to happen when one becomes a mom. I’m not fakey-happy, hate crafts and cupcakes, and I didn’t want to lose myself. I’m also pretty cynical and sarcastic. Well, my clock DID tick loudly at 35, and here I am with two kids and guess what? I still can’ stand the attitude I described above. I absolutely LOVED your book…it got me through the first year of my firstborn’s life. Seriously, I felt so alone amongst other mothers. (I don’t anymore, since I just don’t care, but whatever 🙂 )

    | January 13, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

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