Thursday, December 31, 2009

Freedom of speech and peace of mind

A couple of days ago, I received a very kind email from a long-time thoughtful reader, a wife and mother quite a few years older than myself. Since I believe her thoughts are of much importance, I asked for permission to share them here, and she gave me the gracious consent.

"I am enjoying the series of posts you are doing on the role of women at home and the rich value in their being there. I think this series is desperately needed in this world, particularly to encourage women at home who are struggling or those who are seeking for a way to return home.

Some of the comments, though, seem to detract from the wonderful points you are making.
As I read these comments, I find myself feeling a little defensive, second-guessing my choices. Coming to the blog is not as peaceful when these nay-sayers are "present", and it is a little stressful sorting through the comments that are there to prove you wrong or to express "the other side". I wonder if other women might also feel less strengthened than they might if these negative comments were not there, especially women who are younger than I am or having a harder time dealing with the realities of life at home and the social pressures to be in the workforce.

I know that moderating the comments can be time-consuming. And I can imagine that you have disallowed many more comments that are far worse!

There are many, many other places to read thoughts like these, but so few to read your point of view! And so few places to see the place of women at home elevated to the position it truly deserves.

I feel that, as a visitor to someone's blog, we should behave as we would when visiting a friend "in real life." If our real-life hostess brought up a deeply held conviction or point of view, we would assent to the aspects of it that we could, but beyond that we would keep our thoughts to ourselves. We would not tell her that "There are other points of view than yours"; or, "I'm glad I have made other choices than you have made"; or, "I have seen people who made those choices fail" or anything along those lines. We would not attempt to turn the discussion away from her purpose and direction into a forum for broadcasting our own viewpoints and lifestyles. To do this in real life would be very rude, and breach one of the most basic rules of etiquette:"Follow the lead of the hostess". It would invite a spirit of contention and strife into the gathering; could lead to hurt feelings and strained relationships; and shows a general lack of respect for the hostess and her generosity in allowing us into her home.

The only exception I can see to this is if the hostess specifically opened up the discussion by saying, "What do you think about this subject? Let's all share our points of view!"

I see this type of thing happen so often on blogs; but I would love to see "visitors" acting in a way that is respectful of the direction set by the blog owner ("hostess"). And that would mean, if I can't write in support of a particular point of view mentioned in a particular post, that I would remain silent instead, and jump in whenever there is a post that I can comment productively on, in keeping with the tone and direction set by the blog owner. Let's help restore civility to the internet!"

Here is my slightly abridged reply:

You are absolutely right in guessing that the negative comments you see are only the tip of the iceberg. I only allow a fraction of nay-saying, and only if it's polite enough and can contribute to the discussion in some way. I have rejected many comments that were rude, angry, too argumentative, personally insulting, not to the point, and/or comments with a dose of antisemitism, Israel-hating, or missionary messages. I have received messages such as "I hope your baby dies in your womb" (I was pregnant back then). Once, a lunatic even sent death threats, directed at me, not just to my blog but to the blogs of my friends.

I also have to deal with angry emails from people whose comments weren't published, who accuse me of "only wanting applause", "not being ready to hear a different opinion" and "preaching to the choir." I do understand the frustration of those who put the time and effort into writing a long, contemplative comment, only to have it deleted by me. I never lie and say it was just swallowed up by a blogger glitch (as sometimes it indeed happens). I state my reasons, but I must admit, it's exhausting.

You are right, there are so many places on the web to hear the PC points of view, but only one blog where I can express my opinions. At first, I felt I must answer every comment that argues against what I say, but I have long since given up on the idea of making everybody happy. I cannot answer every comment, and yes, I do press the "reject" button much more often than before. I am tempted to do it even more often, for the peace of mind of myself and even more, readers such as you, who only want support and encouragement and come across plenty of naysayers as it is.

But you do see some comments many of my readers feel we could do without. Sometimes, it's because I simply don't have the heart to reject a long, thoughtful and well-written comment, in particular when it's written by someone I already "know" and don't feel comfortable to just write off. Rejecting anonymous comments is much easier, because then I know that person probably doesn't stand behind what he or she said anyway. Sometimes the arguments are valid and I feel I must respond.

Anyway, I'm just giving you a glimpse of how time-consuming and difficult a matter such as comment moderation can be. I have sometimes considered cancelling comments altogether, but I do love the supportive network of the friends who visit and comment.

I will continue striving to find the balance, and hope that you have the patience to continue to bear with me!

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am probably one of those commenters the woman who wrote you is referring to.
Then again, I am also the hostess who encourages and loves a lively debate on all issues. I would hate for my guests to come over and just nod at my opinions and ignore what they didn't agree with. Of course, I live in Israel, and no one would dream of doing this anyway. I guess rules of what is considered 'polite' behaviour by a guest vary from culture to culture.

Truth is, I admire Anna for her ability to be counterculture. I would love to stay home myself, and think we need more vocal role models like her in Israel to make it a fathomable notion.
On the other hand, I strongly disagree with some of the ideology Anna promotes. I do not believe in male leadership, for example. Maybe my responses annoy some, I don't know.

I like this blog because Anna writes so well and many of the comments are intelligent fodder for conversation. It feels like a vibrant discussion, and I often come away from such a thread enriched. I cannot stand to read those blogs where everyone nods their head in a hundred different ways. The blog owner deleted all the life from her conversation, creating a dead, sterile monologue.
Anna, it's your perogative to say you only want comments which agree. But I think it will be a big loss for the blog, which derives its many readers and its lively dynamic from the heterogenous, multi-faceted responses.
Tammy

THE Princess Bombshell* said...

People easily forget that it is YOUR blog. Just like it's THEIR blog. You can say, post, or publish whatever comments you want-- or don't want! If you had only wanted to publish comments that agree with you, so be it girl! :-) This is your tiny space on the world wide web, do with it as you please.

People will be just plain rude.

Annie said...

Gosh, I really appreciate that you allow healthy discussion and different viewpoints Anna (but then I am probably one of those with the more 'different' viewpoints to your own :)). I am so so sorry though to hear that you have to deal with such a lot of abuse. I hope you manage to strike a peaceful balance.

H said...

Hello! I've been reading your blog for a while now, but have never commented.

I'm an almost-20-something student, raised in a liberal feminist household (very well and lovingly, I might add). Being able to read blogs like yours has made a real difference in my life, making me realize that it's not shameful to want children more than a career and that I'm not somehow deficient for finding that daydreams about a beautiful kitchen sometimes come more easily than those about an executive office. So thank you for putting your views forward so wonderfully on a blog like this.

However, while I love your blog and find it fascinating, I do not always agree with it, and I would feel alienated if the comments were moderated in such a way as to suggest that I was the only non-homemaker or non-would-be-homemaker reading this blog. Your series on women working outside the home has been fascinating, and I think you've made a lot of very important points about how modern society isolates us and detaches us from human meaning. However, I personally feel that you're being a little simplistic about it at times. And although I have not left any comments to that effect, others obviously have. This blog is first and foremost a space for you, in which you can talk about your life, passions and ideas. But by nature of the somewhat (sadly) rare path you have taken in life, this blog has also become a resource for those who share your views or are curious about them - and it's fantastic that they can find help and support here. Sadly, such places will inevitably attract the angry and inarticulate. I think it's absolutely horrible that people would say some of the things that they have to you. But to remove all opposite views because of the words of a few insecure thoughtless commenters would, I feel, be ultimately counterproductive. Three years ago, had I come across your blog, I would no doubt have been furious at you: I was a crop-haired gothic feminist who fervently campaigned on abortion rights and used the word 'patriarchy' without irony in her high school yearbook. But ultimately, that anger betrayed a terrible insecurity about what it meant to be a woman. You never know how you may have touched someone through this blog - they may be obtuse and angry now, but what they read may have started them thinking...

I agree with your correspondent that we should, of course, be courteous with our hostess - but courteous questions and debates are possible. All women should think about what they are doing with their lives - confronting a homemaker with the views of other women may help her to realize why she's actually at home, just as confronting an angry feminist may help her to start thinking about other viewpoints.

Sarah Brodsky said...

Some of my comments have been in disagreement with things you write. I hope you'll continue to allow comments like that as long as they are not angry or insulting.

I think a blog is a different medium from a discussion in someone's living room, and the appropriate responses are different. In a living room, someone might offer her opinion in a few sentences--on a blog, there's an entire essay written down. Readers might agree with some points in the essay and not others. People should be civil, but I do think they should be allowed to comment and possibly dissent.

Someone could be discouraged by a negative comment, but she might also be discouraged if she found some things in the post that she disagreed with, and no comments represented her point of view.

Thursday's Child said...

I'm very glad you've decided not to cancel comments. I don't comment very often, but I do enjoy reading others' comments when I have time.

It is good to let others express their opposing points of view...as long as they can be polite in how they do so.

Keep up the good work, Mrs. Anna. I love your blog and check it everyday to see what you've written about this time.

Jen said...

Another well written post. I can't believe how awful and rude some people can be.

I always enjoy reading your posts and learning about your life in Israel. Please continue to share your life with us!

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

Thanks, Mrs. Anna, for sharing this with your readers. It's an issue that I regularly deal with, since my "Extraordinary Moms Network" blog (about adoption and foster parenting) does tend to draw its fair share of negative commentary. I've linked your post to my second (personal) blog, "Mommy Monsters" http://mommymonsters.blogspot.com/2009/12/wisdom-from-domestic-felicity.html

Blessings, Heidi Saxton

Untypically Jia said...

I don't know why, but I never actually thought anyone would say something so hateful to such a beautiful spirit as you Anna. I'm shocked and appalled!

Ghost said...

More often than not, I do not read the comments, so they do not affect my enjoyment of Mrs. Anna T's writings.

Anonymous said...

In this day and age, more than ever before, we need to read about what I would call "traditional" values. How else would anyone know that there is, in fact, a "different" way? Let me give you an example from my own life. I was born out of wedlock, didn't meet my father until I was an adult. My mother married and divorced twice and then had two other "husbands" in her life. I heard fighting and screaming all of my childhood. I don't remember EVER sitting down for a meal with family members. Normally my mother would take her meal in her bedroom and we children were left to fight amongst ourselves over a very poorly constructed meal. HOWEVER, when I was 13 years old I was allowed to visit an aunt and uncle in another state. For the first time in my life I found hope. My aunt respected her husband. I remember she would change into nicer clothes before he came home. We ate together at the table and the atmosphere was loving and kind. That is when I first realized (honestly!) that life could be different than what I had known until then. The word is HOPE! I knew someday my own home could be like that. By the grace of God, my husband and I taught our children that they would NOT fight and scream at each other. Today they are all adults and would give their last dime for each other if necessary. The reason is that I saw something DIFFERENT. Now, of course, I'm not saying that working mothers necessarily have terrible homes and fighting children. I'm just saying that it is GOOD for us to look through your window and see how it is so that those who WANT to may have a pattern. It's a pattern of choice, not a forced one. So thank-you for being an example of the "less common" and for sharing your life with those of us who are very blessed in reading about it.
Mrs. L.

Bobbi said...

Thinking of myself...well, I'm VERY different from you...and yet, I feel that I can learn from you... whether I agree or disagree with what you say. Blogs are different from personal visits...but at the same time there is really NEVER a good time to be harsh and impolite in conversation..no matter how wide the gap. I would be saddened if you stopped posting those polite, well thought comments that are in disagreement with you. It sort of takes the spice out of life. As far as the SAHM thing goes...most of us are already pretty aware of the contrary opinions out there anyway...angry and otherwise...so it's not like we can't seperate the wheat from the chaff. I don't spend a lot of time reading the comments...I spend a lot of time reading what you write in the blog itself. Thanks for listening and for encouraging!

Mrs. R said...

Hello Anna,
I absolutely love your blog. I find it very encouraging when there are not many in my life who are encouraging to me in my chosen life style. This past Christmas, with relatives visiting, was another series of the same negativity toward motherhood, keepers-at-home and husband leadership. One of the bright spots your blog is to me, is that of a much younger woman who is starting out with the proper attitudes toward marriage, children and the blessings therein. KEEP IT UP!! There have been some posts where I don't even read the comments for the very reasons your quoted commenter stated. Then I think you know I have even responded to some of the wrong thinking in some of the comments. I have come to realize that I do not have time to waste like that any longer. I do faithfully read your blog, but rarely comment any more. It alone takes too much time, my time is limited and unless I believed I had something of value to add, or I believed you could use the encouragement yourself, then I have refrained from commenting at all.

So, from one of your mother/grandmother faithful readers, I am here to tell you, Good Job! I pray you have many, many more children. All of whom are healthy, I know they will be happy with YOU for their mother, and a joy to you and your dear husband. You have been a blessing to me. Thank you.
Blessings,
~Mrs. R

Kacie said...

I'm really sorry you have to deal with rude people. I guess it's easy for people to be mean behind the shield of anonymity.

Marylouise said...

Thank-you Anna for being a voice for the stay-at-home-moms.Thank-you for all your hard work and putting up with all the rude people.You are a bright spot in my day.
Marylouise

Walters Inc said...

Anna, I appreciate that you allow a wide variety of comments on your blog.
For the most part I agree with all that you have said in your posts on family, husbands and careers.
Reading the comments though, challenges me in my thinking, it gives me time for reflection on the direction of my life. I always end up where I started but, again it causes me to access where I am.
I appreciate that you allow only well-mannered comments. It is possible to disagree or question and be respectful.
Ultimately though, I agree with several others... this is your space and you have the right to direct things as you see fit.
Thank you for all that you do!

Anonymous said...

I know that in the blogosphere are a a large number of folks who like to bash and run under the quasi-anonymity of the internet. It's why I don't link to my now-dormant blog (I never did figure out just what I wanted it to be about and it ended up being ramblings, so I stopped writing).

I love your blog and the gracious way you write. What I love most is how different you are from me and I get a new perspective from someone who is clearly at peace in her life. I hate that some would choose the anonymity to say hateful things to you just because you're brave enough to put yourself "out there."

I also hate that some interpret the points of view other than those that closely resemble yours as being critical of homemaking. I could see the need for homemakers to have a forum to share the particularities of their lifestyles without fearing a backlash.

If I might humbly offer my own perspective (every reader of this blog has her or his own perspective)... I am not exclusively a homemaker, but when I come to this blog, I come knowing full well the author's poit of view. I can choose to visit or not, according to whether or not I determine whether reading the blog adds to my life. I don't read blogs from people whose opinions would make me mad or disturb me. But, I suppose the blogosphere has folks who get a kick out of reading blogs that bother them and making ugly comments.

That said, there are times when I, in thinner-skinned moments, perceive criticism for my choices because I am not exclusively at home and I pursue a sport and a hobby. I've made these comments on this blog before. When I decide to be less sensitive, I realize that just because someone has a different point of view than I do doesn't mean that they're insisting that I adopt their point of view; they're just presenting their opinion.

What I've decided is that maybe we all need to get a thicker skin. I read through the comments that Anna posted that were in disagreement with her perspective and I did not read criticism in any of them. Maybe some defensiveness, but not criticism.

Anna is promoting homemakerdom (is that even a word? lol) because it's what she believes is the best and God-ordained way of life. She may hope that all come around to that point of view, but from what I know of her, I have never known her to personally criticize another (Hollel notwithstanding).

Let's just all stop taking things so personally. For Christian readers - I Cor 13 ... "Love does not insist on its own way."

Happy New Year (in the other calendar)

- Sally

Mrs W said...

I can't see how comments not agreeing with Anna would be "discouraging" unless a person really isn't sure that the lifestyle Anna supports is for you. It sounds like this lady just wants an excuse to try to stop all voices that don't agree with hers.

Blogging is nothing like being in someones living room. Someone is making their writing public on a website, and public writing is open to public criticism or agreeance whether we like it or not.

Andrea said...

Tammy in the first comment said it far better than I could! After all, how could we ever grow stronger in our own viewpoints (or grow and develop beyond them, in some cases) if we were only ever surrounded by a chorus of dutiful "yes-men" (or "yes-women" for that matter)?

I enjoy reading all your posts, Anna, including those with which I disagree; similarly, I enjoy reading all of the comments and having the chance to partake of the thoughts of people with whom I probably have very little in common, but whose views (though they may not mesh with mine) I regard as being every bit as valid as my own.

I have always appreciated and continue to applaud the fact that you allow room for polite disagreement; so many people want only to hear their own views echoed back to them in a chorus of assent, but I hardly think that such an exchange could even be called a conversation. You have been so very gracious to host a variety of views here over the past couple years, and that, more than anything else, has kept me coming back to read.

As to the people who would say such hateful things to you as you have mentioned in this post, the death wishes, the anti semitism and the general, ugly hatred . . . my response to such persons, though heartfelt, would probably not meet the standards of your comment policy, so I will refrain from putting it to print!

Elisabeth said...

Anna, I am so sorry that you have had so many hateful comments directed to you. I am impressed at the strength you possess to still keep up the blog!

I also want to add my voice in favour of keeping differing though courteous comments. I am a young Christian woman and my beliefs about family and such are very similar to yours. I actually enjoy reading the comments section on controversial posts! I find that it's invigorating, and many of the commentors bring up points that I had never thought of. I like to see that interaction, and read how you answer questions. For me, I think civil debate like that can be stregthening. It's good for us to hear our positions challenged. It forces us to come up with answers, to really know why we believe what we believe. Plus, it helps me understand other people's opinions and where they are coming from. Sometimes, for me at least, it's easy to think mine is the only real opinion out there, and if everyone just smartened up they would see it too! :) So, friendly debate is good. It helps in weighing all the infomation to find out if "these things are so", it might find a error in our reasoning, it better prepares us for answers next time, and well, it just helps everyone keep an open mind!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Anna~

Reading this post of yours made me realize how disheartening and frustrating blogging would be to you at times. I can't imagine getting hateful, evil messages like that directed at me. But I just wanted to let you know that, even though you have to endure mean-spirited people, you have really inspired me and I know you are inspiring others. I am a young girl, only fifteen, but reading your blog gives me so much hope and happiness! I attend a very secular/public school here in America, and reading your blog is like a breath of fresh air after getting home from school. I smile every time I open up your page to find that you have written another new post. I just wanted to thank you for continuing to write and getting your message out there! You are truly inspiring.

~M

JCCB said...

Thank you Anna for all the time and effort you've put in comment moderation not to mention the thoughtful and uplifting posts. I have only commented once before when I wanted to thank you on my first visit to your blog. I appreciate the concern of your reader and believe whatever you decide to do as far as comment moderation is your business. I think the more comfortable we are in our own beliefs (as you have always shown yourself to be) the less ruffled our feathers become by someone else's disagreement. But, with that said, I don't know after receiving hateful comments as you have that I could/or would continue to be public! I was shocked! If you ever do go private, I'd love to be invited. God Be With You!

Amy said...

A good response to a good question, Anna. The hateful comments are one reason why I certainly do not miss my now defunct public blog. People can become incredibly cruel over odd things and also very creepy, as you know from a certain someone we both had issues with. ;o) Ah, the wonders of technology!

Anonymous said...

I find I must align myself with those who are glad you allow opposing views here at your blog. One doesn't have to be argumentative in order to disagree with something....or simply ask questions because they hadn't seriously considered a different point of view.

Myself, I have a strong interest in the home, bringing up my children, gardening & cooking, & so forth. So it's a pleasure to visit homemaking blogs such as this one. But I admit to being surprised sometimes at some of the comments made in response to some of your posts....I mean, does the "other" side of the homemaking, women-at-home issue ALWAYS have to throw in their dissenting 2 cents worth on EVERY subject?

That said, this is your blog, Anna. You will do as you see fit. You will publish comments that foster good discussion & refuse to publish the ones that don't, or are just plain inappropriate. I believe you do succeed in striking that balance you desire, most of the time.

Brenda

Lena said...

I am glad you allow comments on your blog. There was one blog I was reading where the lady doesn't let anyone leave any comments. Its sad, because sometimes I want to encourage her in her daily walk, or thank her for a wonderful post, but in not being able to do so, makes me feel like I dont have a voice. YOu are a huge ispiration to women who strive to stay home and raise a family, and who believe that a husband should be the head of a household. Its very brave of you to post your point of view. I dont think I could ever be this brave. Thank you for posting truth filled posts and thank you for allowing comments, so we can see what others think, and how they react. Take care!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

I'm sorry you have to go through so much trouble because of comments. I admire that you sort through them, but if it's easier for you to stop accepting comments, people can always e-mail you if they would like to say something, or they can say it on their own blogs. I can completely understand the need for privacy and head-space.

Hope you are well!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this comment:

"Three years ago, had I come across your blog, I would no doubt have been furious at you: I was a crop-haired gothic feminist who fervently campaigned on abortion rights and used the word 'patriarchy' without irony in her high school yearbook. But ultimately, that anger betrayed a terrible insecurity about what it meant to be a woman. You never know how you may have touched someone through this blog - they may be obtuse and angry now, but what they read may have started them thinking...."

What an interesting story.

Bonnie said...

This is an interesting topic of which I can see both points. As a single mother who chooses to homeschool I already get so many negative comments from people who disagree about my lifestyle so that when I come to Domestic Felicity it is the encouragement I need to just keep going and when I read disagreeing comments it does dishearten me slightly. However I also think diversity is important too and at times it is interesting to hear others point of view. I also couldn't believe that people would say such sick and depraved things to such a sweet girl and I comend you Anna for continuing to allow comments after such horrific statements. You are such a treasure.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I see incredible value in participating in vibrant, respectful debate. Voicing and listening to differences of opinion can encourage and strengthen us to gain a better understanding of our own beliefs, values and life choices. It's such a shame that some people choose to use this forum to promote their issues with aggression and hurtfulness.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Anna T,
I am one of the women who agree with many of your views in general but see several things different in detail (for example I have a more liberal point of view when it comes to question of traditional gender roles).
But I really appreciate that you allow comments that express a different opinion!!! This shows that you are mature and sensible enough to listen to other perspectives! If someone forbids the expression of other opinions (if they are formulated in a polite way) I have the impression that this person is dogmatic and shallow. It is a great thing that we can discuss with respect for the others, isnt it?

I certainly cannot understand that your reader feel discouraged by lively discussion. I have many close friends who hold completely different beliefs concerning marriage, homemaking etc. but I would never want them to pretend that they agreee with me! What absurd thought!

Please go on moderating your comments, destroying the rude ones and publish the recpectfully written ones! It is a sign of quality and openmindedness!

God Bless!

kimberly said...

I'm so proud of you, Anna. You are helping us so much! I am a 49 year old new grandma, and my daughter, Leah, is a SAHM (also with a nutrition degree, like you!) I am THRILLED that she is staying home with her son; she loves your blog and it gives her SO much encourgement. You ARE making a difference. May God richly bless you in every way.

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

I think you say it well in your "leave your comment" message when you say "In a case of disagreement, I am sure you will extend your grace and courtesy to those who may have a different opinion."

So long as people are being gracious in their disagreement then the comments remain a conversation, but I do agree with the reader who wrote to you that sometimes comments are a bit disheartening. Your writing style is so courteous, well-constructed, and encouraging that I hate it when a rude commenter comes and disturbs the peace here on the blog. I love coming here for encouragement and to read the thoughts of other young women with similar goals and mindsets to my own. As an administrator of a fairly controversial group on babycenter.com I understand how difficult it is to moderate comments and allow healthy discussion without letting the discussion descend into petty argument. I think you do a good job balancing in your role as moderator of this blog, it's a tough role to fill!

Thank you for your blog, it is always a place of encouragement and good reading for me!

Cinnamon said...

As a reader and commenter for about a year traveling from another blog, I have come to depend on Anna's eloquently presented point of view, as skill in presentation and consideration is honed with pervasive honesty.

As a woman, I cannot align myself with views of 'dependency' to any great regard, as well as on what others might call certain seemingly defined points of view i.e. feminism. Heck, I cannot even remember whether 'feminism' means speaking up for oneself as a woman with emotions, concerns, responsibilities for humanity and society, or if it still means submission of soul and personality to commonly defined societal mores.

I have continual doubts whether or not individual defined societies e.g. Judaism, Mormanism, Old Testament Jehovah's Witnesses, Old Order Amish, etc. request governmental political support for certain aspects of their society as a well-tested self-preservation measure.

I look to Anna for a Jewish education, but always cannot help think that if she were living in Cincinnati, Ohio USA perspectives might be more egalitarian and realistic, and applicable to any woman. Traveling in Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, etc., recently I realize how insular, as well as 'our way is the best way' that we citizens of the USA can think and that the life and thoughts of someone in an entirely different situation might be affected by 'merely' the country they are living inside the envelope of their culture.

I tend to stay far away from unrealistic points of view based on something simply as popular 'all the rage' such as the New Age, or 'Holistic' advocating such 'tip of the iceberg' issues as sole consumption of home-grown wheat products, avoidance of polio vaccinations, or mindless homeschooling bandwagon because of the 'evils' of public school, which Anna provides reflective consideration.

And, as for children and caring for them, though it probably best that they are raised in loving households with caring parents, the only deal-breaker is parents working and acting in unison, which seems terrifically difficult if not well-nigh impossible from what I've observed among some women and men growing up in different cultures, so constantly wonder at preserving integrity of commitment, yet culture of divorce.

Rebecca on The Homefront said...

I enjoy reading the reactions of blog readers, as much because they may have seen a different facet of the post than I did, and give me a new insight into the author's intent. It saddens me that anyone would feel they have the right to be degrading or hateful in their responses to a blog post, and I'm sorry that you feel the need to moderate comments as much as it appears you must. Although I'm sure it's time-consuming and sometimes stressful, I'm glad to hear that you're continuing to allow comments to your posts. Thank you for maintaining this public presence so that we are able to hear another voice in the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

I just re-read the new comments - including my own - and I want to apologize for something. Instead of addressing my comments exclusively to you, I used your blog to address your readers. Maybe I was going with the image of friends gathered in a living room discussing things with each other, but a blog is not a living room (as someone posted) and comments shouldn't be the forum for debate with each other, but in response to your post. I kind of took it and ran without realizing what I was doing. I suppose it's my extroverted, get-involved nature. In any case, I apologize. I shouldn't have done that.

- Sally

angela said...

Hey Anna,
I just want to say Thank you for all of your posts. This one as well. I come here for your wisdom, encouragement and likemindedness that I don't find too often in the "real" world. It's a real shame people "hate" the truth so much they would say things that terrible to someone with another opinion. BUT, I personally believe that although these woman may choose another path, they know in their hearts what your saying is right, good, and true and that makes them very angry. Don't ever change, BUT I know you won't. Most of us like you just the way you are!!!

Julia said...

Anna, I love your blog because you write about your life and your choices in an intelligent way and because you do allow disagreement in the comments. You come across as a person who is confident in herself because of your discernment in publishing comments. You've struck a good balance between letting every vile thing in and only letting in people who agree with you. I'm sorry about the jerks out there who say such terrible things.

eliza said...

Dear Anna,

From the first day I discovered it, I have loved your blog (and especially Becky's story). Though our opinions are mostly almost diametrically opposite, I have learnt a lot from you, and I think you are great for being so consistent in your writing, yet varied in your topics.

As for the horrible comments you have to deal with : I fear they are the cockroaches of the blogosphere. No matter what subject you would write on, or what viewpoint you have, nutters will descend, and I am very glad you have not let them discourage you so far.

I wish you& your loved ones lots of love, happiness & domestic felicity for the (Xtian) New Year!

Eliza

Millie said...

Anna, I wish you didn't have to moderate comments at all. I understand the reason, but find it appalling that anyone who reads this blog regularly would have the inclination to be rude (let alone threatening), when you are always so gracious.

I particularly enjoy reading about your religious life and customs. It's evident from your writing that you are strong and brave, yet loving and kind, even to people who would tear down your choices. I'm sorry you've had to endure so much animosity. You, of all people, don't deserve it.

Pendragon said...

Hi everyone,

I am a little late to this because I have been on holiday, but wanted to comment because I am one of the frequent "naysayers on this site."

I will say that my motivation for my commenting is not to try to discourage anyone who has freely chosen stay-at-home motherhood. My interest is two-fold: (1) trying to understand where Anna and other like-minded women are coming from and (2) countering the frequent criticism of career women and deliberately childless women.

My "naysaying" is, in a way, really a compliment to Anna and all of her readers. If I didn't think all of you were thoughtful and intelligent, why bother?

Happy 2010!

Donalacasa said...

>>I feel that, as a visitor to someone's blog, we should behave as we would when visiting a friend "in real life."<<

I think that is very well said. I don't subscribe to blogs that make me feel as if I need to argue with the author. If someone's lifestyle is offensive to me, why would I subscribe to their blog and then argue about what they write? We do have a choice to "follow" or not to "follow."

Buffy said...

I think that allowing comments from people who do not entirely agree with you is a sign of strength and integrity.

On the other hand, hateful or rude comments to you or other people should definitely not be allowed. I am only sorry you have to read them at all.

Julie Kieras said...

I can appreciate this b/c one thing I struggle with as a newer blogger is being afraid to be 100% open b/c of hateful words some people leave in comments. I blog to communicate, share, and have an open dialogue, but not to get "hated" at by people who don't know me in real life. :) So... b/c people DO leave rude comments (I've seen them all over the web!) I get nervous about sharing my opinions on my blog... can you believe it! :)
Your post gives me a little more courage to open up more often (and moderate away if I need to!) Thanks!
http://ayearwithmomanddad.blogspot.com