Modern Alternative Mama and the ugliest parenting post I’ve ever read

Little Girl, Sadness, Solitude Concept

Kate Tietje, Modern Alternative Mama, continues to publicly plumb the depths of parenting insensitivity.

She recently posted this about her oldest child and only daughter:


Everyone has made SOME choice in parenting that they wouldn’t do again. My oldest is 9 (girl) and knows that she was born in a hospital and we ate junk food a lot… She was a little upset around 7 when she kind of figured it out, that things were different for her than her brothers. But now … she knows you know better and do better…

Apparently not.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]She wrote, for the entire world to see, that it wouldn’t be so bad if her daughter died so long as her son survived.[/pullquote]

Kate seems to have forgotten the most monumental parenting mistake she ever made. Six years ago, when her daughter was only 3, her son was todder and she was expecting her third child, she wrote the ugliest parenting post I have ever read. It put her on the map, garnering national attention.

It was a vicious attack on her little girl, titled Mom Confession: I Think I Love My Son a Little Bit More, published on the parenting website Babble. The title, while bad enough, does not convey the full repulsiveness of the piece.

There are moments – in my least sane and darkest thoughts – when I think it wouldn’t be so bad if I lost my daughter, as long as I never had to lose my son (assuming crazy, dire, insane circumstances that would never actually occur in real life). I know that sounds completely awful and truly crazy.

Indeed, Tietje understands precisely how awful it sounds and what it implies. But rather than seek psychological treatment, she seeks a “do over” with another daughter.

I know that if I don’t do something about this, and try to get over my weird hang ups and actually be the parent, that she will grow up to accuse me of these things: “Why were you so tough on me? Why were you so impatient? Why didn’t you hold me and love me like you did him?” And I could answer in a thousand ways …because he wanted me to hold him more, because he is more sensitive, because he is younger…because he needed me more…. It’s not good enough. Because she would be right, and I would have nothing that I could say. I completely accept that the worst of her behavior (which is thankfully not too often) is entirely my fault. It’s my fault for quietly preferring her brother, for ignoring her needs, for pushing her to the side and expecting too much of her. I secretly hope that this new baby is a girl. I want to start over with a little girl now that I’m healthy and an experienced parent. I want to love her and cherish her as she should be. And maybe…I can learn to love and parent a girl properly, and I can use this to change and parent my older daughter better, too. Maybe I can save us all before it’s too late.

In the outcry that followed, Tietje repeatedly pointed to the qualifiers with which she hemmed her statement, but no one was fooled. She had written, for the entire world to see, that it wouldn’t be so bad if her daughter died so long as her son survived. And in a subsequent post (after having edited the first paragraph above out of the original piece) she tried to minimize what she had done, claiming that many parents feel the same way. Perhaps they do, but they have enough self awareness to keep themselves from blaring it in public.

Although most commentors did not name it as such, they correctly interpreted Tietje’s feelings about her daughter (as well as her decision to air those feelings publicly) as a form of emotional abuse. Though Tietje then and now tried to blame her inappropriate feelings on her experience when her daughter was born, she provided ample evidence that the birth was an excuse, not the real reason for her enmity:

1. Her identification with her daughter and her distaste for specific characteristics that they share:

And she’s a very independent, challenging little girl. She wants things her way, all the time. And she acts out a lot by being extremely rude and defiant when she’s unhappy. Okay, so, she’s me. I know that. It doesn’t make it any easier. (my emphasis)

2. Tietje acknowledged that she treated her daughter the way her mother treated her.

… [A]s a few of you guessed, she did favor my brother (and my father favored me). My brother and I both knew it, talked about it. In my teen years, I even kind of understood it. I still didn’t find it fair. She was the adult, after all…shouldn’t she get past that?

3. Despite recognizing that her mother treated her poorly, Tietje seemed to be unable to make the connection that she is copying her mother’s behavior. Rather than recognizing that her feelings of dissatisfaction with her daughter originate within herself, Tietje blames those feelings on her daughter or on outside circumstances. It’s her daughter’s birth; it’s her daughter’s a “bad” personality; it’s because her daughter’s “bad” personality contrasts so sharply with her son’s “good” personality. It’s everything and everyone but Tietje herself.

4. Tietje almost connected the dots.

In speaking about her mother Tietje wrote: “I still didn’t find it fair. She was the adult, after all…shouldn’t she get past that?”

In speaking about the way that her daughter will view her in the future, Tieje used almost the exact same words: “But I know that if I don’t do something about this, … and actually be the parent, that she will grow up to accuse me …”

5. But Tieje could not make the final leap, and when others made it for her, by pointing out that her behavior was inappropriate and cruel, Tietje retreated into a myriad of defense mechanisms in a subsequent post, I’m Not a Perfect Mother.

Insults: “Instead of reading what you know to be a tiny, tiny snapshot into my life and condemning in nasty, insane voices — yes, INSANE — why don’t you understand that you, like everyone, have also had crazy thoughts. And then just walk away. Got it?”

Denial: “This in no way means that we love her less” even though the TITLE of her first piece was “I think I love my son a little bit more.”

Projection: “It probably struck a little too close to home for many of you…you’ve had those same thoughts … found it obscene to see your own worst thoughts out in the light of day …”

Minimization: “I’m not a perfect mother. There, I said it.”

Told repeatedly to seek psychological counseling, Tietje insisted that the doesn’t need to explore her feelings about herself and her own mother. Not surprisingly both Tietje’s ugly behavior and her denial are continuing.