An Open Letter to Beverly Beckham

Dear Ms. Beckham,

Regarding today’s Boston Globe column, my kids are a-holes, too. Especially now as teenagers.  If they were my friends, I would have dumped them a long time ago.  I would NEVER put up with how they treat me, the eye rolls, the rudeness, the condescension, the utter disregard for all the family norms and conventions that have gone before.  The lack of punctuality. The disregard for my time, my money, my availability, me.

I have not read Karen Alpert’s “I Heart My Little A-Holes,” but I did not miss the “I Heart” part of the title. And I won’t try to match you tit–for-tat with personal experiences with miscarriage and struggles to conceive, or those of my mother or of my friends.  Because, really, it has NO part in this conversation! You characterize Alpert’s  words as “crude and lazy, easy to grab,” yet you yourself went for cheap, emotional manipulation. Trying to shame me into feeling bad about myself, as if by using a word you don’t like I have defined myself as uncaring and unsympathetic to other women.  Tell the truth: Wasn’t your goal to be as shocking as a curse?

Women for too long have stayed silent on too many issues.  Infertility is certainly one, but another is that raising children is flippin’ hard!  Why should we be ashamed to say so?  Why can’t we say out loud that our children often do not treat us very well? Why can’t we stop pretending that we are Harriet Nelson, or Donna Reed, or Carol Brady? We laugh at Alpert’s writing because we know! We have been there! There is no manual, as you are well aware.  And it gets messy.  Sex, drugs, drinking, ugh.  And all the while feeling like every decision my children make is a reflection on me (according to the commenters on your column, it is.)

But I, too, heart my children.  Completely and utterly.  I would sacrifice my life for theirs.  That does not mean that they cannot be jerks.  Is that a better word?


Cheryl Byrne
Proud but honest mother of two amazing teenagers

3 Replies to “An Open Letter to Beverly Beckham”

  1. Hi Cheryl. I just read this. Yes! Jerks is a better word. And yes, being a parent is the hardest job. I just love that you wrote to comment and regret that I never saw this until now.


    1. I was a little hot, there, huh? Yet you are so gracious in your reply! Since then, my son has started college, and I get the absolute sweetest texts from him. My daughter is now 16, and while she can be pretty 16 sometimes, she is also a lot of fun, and makes me laugh constantly. I am incredibly blessed. Thank you for taking the time to read and to write.

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