The Best of 2022
Your favorite posts, and my favorite parts of them.
I hope you have had a lovely, not-too-terribly-stressful holiday season so far. And if you haven’t, I am sending good vibes your way in the hopes that things will get better soon.
I am visiting my parents in Florida, and my sister and her family — whom we haven’t seen in more than a year (!!) — have joined us. We’re having lots of fun. Also, a quick reminder that my 20% off sale ends on Saturday!
For my last newsletter of 2022, I thought I’d share my top five posts from the year. It’s been a truly wonderful year for Is My Kid the Asshole — the newsletter has more than twice as many free subscribers, and more than five times (!!) as many paid subscribers, as it did this time last year. Right now, it’s the fifth most popular paid parenting Substack, and that makes me very happy! Thank you for all your support.
Without further ado, in reverse order, here are the most popular posts of the year.
#5. The Deep Misogyny of the Maternal Instinct. This newsletter from September resonated with so many of you, and for good reason. I interviewed journalist Chelsea Conaboy, author of the insightful book Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood, about many things, including why the myth of the maternal instinct is so pernicious. My favorite quote from the interview: “For human babies, mothers have always been important. And they have never been enough.”
#4. How to Stop Thinking You’re a Shitty Parent. I ran this interview with author Carla Naumburg in September, too (September was a good month!). Her book, You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent: How to Practice Self-Compassion and Give Yourself a Break, is an essential antidote to parental guilt. My favorite quote from the interview: “Self-compassion is about noticing when you're suffering or struggling and treating yourself with the same kindness that you would treat a best friend.”
#3. When Your Kid Doesn’t Want to Go to School. I wrote this piece in October in response to a subscriber question that came up in a thread. I interviewed several experts about why kids refuse to go to school and what to do about it, and I was surprised to discover that their advice was the opposite of what our parenting instincts often tell us. My favorite quote is from Brian Chu, director of the Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic at Rutgers University: “When you decide to take negative feelings and use them as a reason to avoid, or to hole up, withdraw, or to simply shut down, it starts a really bad habit.”
#2. On Reporting, Working Parenthoood, and the Downside of Flexibility. Folks, I am floored that this was one of my most popular newsletters, because this was just me opening up about why I was unable to send out a newsletter. I received so many supportive comments, emails, and texts after this went out, and it meant the world to me. My favorite subscriber comment: “By being open, real, and honest about what’s going on in your life, you’ve given us all permission to embrace our own seasons of crazy. ♥️ It feels less lonely when you’re not the only one juggling the complex demands of mom life!”
#1. Actually, High-Fiving Kids is Totally Fine. I LOL'd when I saw that this came in as NUMERO UNO. Even better: I just went to look up the original ridiculous piece that sparked this rebuttal so that I could link to it, and guess what? It’s no longer online. We won, folks! The Omaha World-Herald saw the error in their ways and took this nonsensical authoritarian shit down! (Of course, it still lives online in the roughly 8 million other publications that ran the syndicated content, but baby steps.) In the spirit of humor, I’m going to share my favorite nonsenical quote from the Omaha World-Herald piece: “I will not slap the upraised palm of a person who is not my peer, and a peer is someone over age 21, emancipated, employed and paying his or her own way.” What in the actual hell? Can we get this guy some Xanax?
HAPPY NEW YEAR FOLKS! Here’s to many more newsletters in 2023 (and if you have ideas on what I should cover, please submit a question or topic). Thanks for joining me on this wild, wild ride.