To Explain

1158 1158_ () 1158 1158 A few weeks ago, I did a major, much needed redesign of my little space in the Internets. I loved the comfort of Olde Browne, which felt rather like a nice, weathered blanket. And there was a part of me that hated to change it. But I knew it was time — it was getting to be like the haircut that was treading the fine line between cutting-edge long and Mary-Ingalls long. Cool, but then again, maybe not?

In the midst of the rework, I got to the part about allowing comments and decided it was time to take the plunge and start a moderation. Because, here goes:

People can be mean. They can be rude. And the mean and rude people are usually named Anonymous. And I was starting to be on the receiving end of this mean and rude. And people — whoever you are! — I’ve got a life outside the Internets. And I started to realize that I was having these days that were perfection, if I didn’t count stuff that was being sent to me via my computer.

And then I realized, how sad! That a majority of my problems, my hurts and frustrations, were being caused by me reading words. Not through rude face-to-face interactions with actual human being, or through problems with my husband or children. I was getting hot and bothered by things being written to me or about me by people I don’t think I even know.

Now before we go any further, let me say this — it was not a ton of hate mail or a threat or even a comment about my ability to keep a clean bathroom. But all it takes, I’m sad to report, is a few unkind words. Somedays, these days, that’s all I need to feel down. And I do agree I need to grow a thick skin. That’s part of being a writer and putting yourself out there. But I realized I don’t need to be so out there that I feel sick to my stomach when I check my email. Or feel like I have to check my email constantly just in case someone is being passive-agressive in my comments box.

So here is the bottom line, in regards to comments — I am just going to go with the flow. Sometimes they’ll be closed. Other times they’ll be opened. And there may be no rhyme or reason. I like the idea of having them open for my weekly column, not because I want to hear you tell me how fantastic you think I am, but because I enjoy hearing your thoughts on a given subject. I do enjoy (and miss) that aspect of having a blog. But I don’t for a second want anyone to feel like I’m just opening comments so I can read that you think I am amazing and that you love my family. I do feel your love, dear reader. But I never for a second want you to think that’s all I’m after.

I could write more specifics, tell you exactly what happened when, but we’ll leave it at all the above, which once I re-read it will probably seem like way more than enough.

One last thought — I had someone leave a comment recently about me “reworking” past material, and I do want to address that, even if simply for my own piece of mind. This blog is basically my electronic diary. I write little thoughts, funny interactions, and then I have them for a later date — or not. Sometimes I will take what I’ve jotted down and work it into a column, or some other bigger piece for the print world. It is my right to use my words as I see fit. I am not stealing from myself. Also, I don’t want to be self-conscious of that fact when I include my print articles here. So that’s a kind of FYI, and MPM (your information, my piece of mind).

Kisses and hugs. Happy Friday. 1158″



  1. Jenny Schardt says:

    Rachel,I think you’re awesome. I had never even been to blogspot until I read about you in Parenting or Parents…some mag. I check your site daily and find it hysterical and so real. As a mom to 1 boy, and another due in 2 weeks, you are a pick me up every day!

    Keep ’em coming. 🙂 Jenny

  2. I’ve been in the same shoes.
    I’ve taken the very mean comments to heart and have realized it’s just not worth it.
    Don’t sweat it.
    Your blogging is wonderful. In retrospect I wish I could have been half the Mum you are when my boys were little.
    Hang in there.

  3. I have noticed many other bloggers having to take similar precautions. Do what you have to to protect yourself and your family! That is the most important thing you can do!

  4. As a mom with 3 boys I can so relate to your blog. I find it hilarious at times and inspiring at others. You are a great writer! I can’t imagine anyone would have anything negative to say about you. I’m sure for each negative comment there are at least a hundred good ones – if not on your blog, then at least in the heads of those who read it! I don’t understand why people bother leaving negative comments. If you don’t like something, don’t read it! At least that’s my opinion.

    Your blog looks great by the way. Keep up the great work!

    Take care!


  5. Fantastic Four says:

    I LOVE your Blog! I ran across your blog in a magazine and was hooked! You see, I have three boys (ages 5, 6 and 10) and one girl that God threw into the mix (ppor girl)! I agree with everything you say and I have not taken the plunge to go public (only through invitation) with my Blog because of wanting privacy. I read your Blog everyday and it makes me laugh because so much of what you write about is also going on in our household! Thanks for sharing! If you ever want an invitation, reply to this comment.
    Traci MN

  6. Thank you for sharing your stories. Don’t worry for one moment about those mean and insensitive folks out there. I read the first of what I thought was an inconsiderate comment last night re: having 5 children. I have two boys + 1 gal and I’m contemplating having another baby! Thanks for making me laugh and for inspiring me on those down days that we all have!!!


  7. I’ve been lurking for almost a year, and I’ve enjoyed every post of it!

  8. Rachel,
    I wish I could copy your entry and post in my blog, but that would be plagiarism, right? I started writing in my blog earlier in this year that has been a very hard one for me. My time at my computer that is not work-related has helped me get through it, and has thrust me into the vortex of public opinion. Friends, parents, strangers feel they can criticize what is in my head and on my heart and at these times, I shut my blog off completely, write what I want to write, then archive it for when I am ready and willing to put up with the critcism.
    I know Rachel Balducci and had the pleasure of working with her in one of the worst jobs in my life. She was always a bright spot in my day and made them bearable. To hear that someone was critical of the same words that I enjoyed, hurts me too.
    Rachel, best of luck to you in making your blog what you want it to be, whether it pleases the world or not.

  9. Rachel,

    You make yourself incredibly vulnerable on this blog, and I am very sorry that people have been mean spirited in your comments. You have a wonderful way of not taking everything too seriously, and searching for the important things in life among that many daily duties of a mother that can take over. As a new mother (a 5.5 month old girl) I find you very inspirational. I think it is obvious from your writing that you are intelligent and open hearted enough to take honest criticism. Definitely protect yourself, and write what you want. (I’m already looking forward to a book someday “On the Care and Feeding of Boys”)

  10. Allison Kennedy says:

    Hey Rach
    I applaud you. Do what you need to do. … I think the relative anonymity of emailing and posting makes some more bold in their remarks.
    Be well, allison

  11. I emailed you because I didn’t realize this post had a comment section! I second the above comment, I applaud you!

  12. hypatia 370 says:

    You sound hurt, conflicted and a bit defensive, unlike your typically happy self. Is it possible you’re conflating your site redesign with some mean, anonymous comments and that one (1) comment about repurposing your own writing??

    If so, why not celebrate the redesign; the change is good, right? And while you can read the anonymous comments, you don’t have to be ruled by them, do you? (I’m not a fan of censorship, but you do know you can block comments by the IP address, right?) As for the passive-aggressive comment about how you use your own writing: that was just mean. I believe it was also based on ignorance: almost every writer I know re-uses content. All writers know this. Speaking of which — and I say this gently, respectfully — if you’re going to self-identify as a writer or columnist, don’t whine. People will be mean and hurtful and loving and kind; the internet just magnifies this. So it goes. Besides, your life will always be more (and better) than any rude comment from an anonymous other.

    You know, Rachel, I’ve read tens-of-thousands of your words online and in print; your lovingkindness continues to make the darkness light. And you’re also hilarious. So keep doing what you’re doing, without apology. You are a joyous celebration of life.

    Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.
    ~ Henri Nouwen

  13. Rachel
    I just recently started reading your blog after reading your article in Good Housekeeping. I am a Catholic mother of 4 boys ages 5-15 years. I so enjoy your stories and can relate to the wonder of living with all men. Keep up the good work!

  14. I, too, have really been blessed by your blog. I have even tried to read your archives, because I only recently discovered your blog. I had to join blogger to make this comment, but it was worth it. I have three sons and I don’t know how I would survive if I couldn’t read other moms who experience the same exuberance and boyishness in their homes. Thanks for sharing your life and your words.

  15. Patti Doughty says:

    Rachel, I just want to encourage your actions. Hypatia 370 said you sound hurt, conflicted, and a bit defensive. As someone who has defended you to anonymous posters because of the terribly hurtful comments they’ve posted, I think your actions here are gutsy and well-justified. I’ve been hurt, as your friend, by some of the mean-spirited or facetious comments that have been posted – and always anonymously. Everyone has their breaking point and this last “reworking” comment seemed to me to be the proverbial straw.

    You can reach just as many people with your inspired writing without opening yourself to hurt and ridicule through comments. Bravo!

  16. happy appy wife says:

    Keep the Faith, Rachel. Your words are a reflection of your commitment to live God’s plan for your life, and a testament to the woman, wife, and mother – and darn good writer – you’ve become. Proverbs 31:10-31

  17. Ecce Quam Bonam says:

    Good plan, Rach. Love your new look, and love reading you everyday.

    There are lots of snarky people out there who live their lives out in front of their computer screens. It’s probably very hard for some of them to (1) fathom and (2) tolerate your sharing the simple, unadulterated joy of life in a loving, godly family.

    Please know that what you share is such a good thing for the rest of us. You really do help us in genuine, tangible ways, which I know is exactly what you intend.

    I can’t tell you the number of times that laughing long and hard at something you describe has changed the mood and tenor of the interactions in my own home. What an incredible blessing that kind of gift is, and I know that you will continue to share it as long as you live, in one way or another.

    You make us very proud, Rachel.


  18. Matthew Lickona says:

    HOW COULD YOU DITCH THE BROWN? BROWN IS THE MARK OF THE CHOSEN! Um. Well. At least, that’s what they told me…