Well, I certainly stepped in it yet again, wading into territory so treacherous and relentless. And I should have known better. Honestly, I’m too old to be this dumb.
I got young mothers mad at me.
Sure, there might be scarier crowds to find yourself lined up against — like maybe SEAL Team 6 or a car salesman one deal short of a monthly bonus.
But for the most part, you won’t find a tougher crowd than sleep-deprived, 30-something women who are juggling jobs, play dates and Zumba classes.
It started in late January, when I wrote a column chastising young moms for constantly posting their children’s every waking moments on Facebook.
I continued, obviously oblivious to the shaky ground rising beneath my feet, and took a shot at parents who take their children to Las Vegas or Mexican resorts and ruin the reason people go to such places — to get away from kids.
Some people agreed with me, for they also get annoyed sometimes by the “My Kid Is An Honor Student At ...” crowd.
Little did I realize, however, that I would antagonize one reader whom I’ll call “Kelly” (because that’s her name). She is a dedicated blogger, a job I won’t criticize (because I am one too).
Through past correspondence, I knew that Kelly was a regular reader of my column and that her uncle and I knew each other from my past life as a cops-and-robbers reporter. (He’s a cop.)
She also is — quite inexplicably so, considering she is substantially younger than me — a huge fan of the Monkees. As a child of the ’60s, I feel obliged to note that for a very brief period, the Monkees were cool. And to this day, I find it impossible not to sing along with “Daydream Believer.”
Nevertheless, none of this common ground stopped her from using an entire column in her “Are You Finished Yet” blog to take me to task.
I knew I was in trouble when I read this line: “I want to go on record as saying: ‘Sherpa, I still love you.’”
This is the female equivalent of a male saying “with all due respect ...” Rest assured, the next line is not going to be a flattering one.
She went on to note that “99.9 percent of the parents I know are NOT the kind of people described in the column ...”
Then displaying the common sense I have come to appreciate in her, she said, “Parents know their kids can be annoying to other people. We are just able to cut them some slack because we know in our hearts that parenting bites everyone in the backside every now and again.”
Now that is a point which can’t be denied. When I see that desperate, fatigued look on the face of a parent trying to corral a couple of kids while filling a shopping cart, I recall vividly and painfully that I was in that very position not all that long ago.
The infant-toddler years mean you never get to sleep. That’s followed by the grade-school years, which means you never get to rest. Then you move on to the teen years, when the “no sleep” period returns with a puberty-fueled vengeance.
This all made me realize that I could have done a much better job saying that I’m glad there are parents out there caring about their children, doing things with them, being concerned, involved and proud. The sad parts of this newspaper are overpopulated with the children of those who don’t.
And Kelly did save the best part of her full-column Sherpa slam for last:
“And if you want to hang out with some really fantastic moms who hold absolutely no delusions about the strengths AND faults of their children ... come have a beer with us. It will even be my treat.”
Free beer with a group of younger women? I can tell you one thing: My mom didn’t raise any fools. I await notification of time and place.
Kids stay at home, though, right?