Smartmom’s kids: Write is so wrong

The Brooklyn Paper
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Smartmom’s kids have dropped a momshell!

Teen Spirit and the Oh So Feisty One — the beloved columnist’s over-exposed offspring, are in open revolt, claiming that The Brooklyn Paper’s star parenting writer is exploiting their growing pains for personal gain.

The charge, as Smartmom writes in this week’s Brooklyn Paper, has shaken the tell-all columnist to her core.

But just as fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly, Smartmom vows to keep delivering the gory details of life on Third Street — warts and all.

“If she can’t write about her kids, she’ll be done for. Finished,” the columnist wrote.

That’s great news for fans of Louise Crawford’s award-nominated column, but what of the children? What…of…the…children?

Just minutes after this week’s column was posted online at, readers started weighing in with comments:

“I have always thought you crossed the line when it came to your kids,” post “anothermom” from Midwood. “I have wondered why it hasn’t come to a head sooner.”

If the opinion of one Park Slope reader, who understandably chose to remain anonymous, is any indication, Smartmom’s problems might not end with her family.

“I know plenty of people in the neighborhood who are afraid to talk to Smartmom when they see her for fear that whatever they say will end up in her column,” said the reader. “Then again, I can’t help myself and read it anyway.”

So what’s your opinion on our columnist’s crisis? Weigh in below.

Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Gersh Kuntzman (Brooklyn Paper) says:
To see earlier comments on the Smartmom controversy, click link below:
Jan. 21, 2009, 3:06 pm
RK from PS says:
So that means it's time to move on, eh?
If your kids and neighbors won't talk because they fear being written up in the worst, treacly cutesy-poo third-person way ... think of something else creative. It's run its course. Bring it to the next level.
Jan. 22, 2009, 11:22 am
Another Mother from Downtown says:
Is this columnist hearing anything her children (and neighbors) are telling her?

If the publication of this follow-up column is any indication, she's clearly not getting it. Asking others to fill in the blanks of what are deep questions that encompass ethics, intention, creative process and heart is just too sad. No one can do this work for her. Even if others bother to respond and tell her to keep going, she still has to live with herself and with her children.

Surely she knows that words have impact. When the desire to please an audience overrides one's better sense of what's fair, honest, sensitive, respectful and right, injury and damage will result. It’s plain selfish, too.

The feedback she's received to date is a gift and all the moreso if it's causing her the pain of introspection. These are her children -- the heart of her heart -- she's playing with. Maybe if she gets in touch with that reality, she'll reconsider her career imperatives, find a more meaningful, less hurtful way to express herself and wind up a much smarter mom (and wife, neighbor and friend, too).
Jan. 22, 2009, 1:52 pm
FrankD from Bay Ridge says:
I think "Another Mother from Downtown" is being a WEE bit too "heavy" - and indicting - in her near-dissertation above.

However: Yes, it's a problem when your family's everyday life is your sole source of material, and your no-longer-kiddie kids fear exposure. (Clergy face a similar problem: They know better than to use their kids' foibles and personal issues as continual sermon-fodder!) Preteenishness/teenagehood is bad enough; why push it? As RK said: It's probably time to move on ... and it's not as if there's a dearth of subject matter out there!
Jan. 22, 2009, 10:40 pm
Emma B. from Park Slope says:
I must say, considering that Louise's original column about this is no longer available online, Gersh is raising some serious ethical issues about this whole thing. Not cool, Gersh. Not cool.
Jan. 23, 2009, 2:47 am
AdvilPlease from Slope says:
Please, please do away with smarmymom, it's so overdue. She's no small part of why Park Slope parents have become the target of so much derision. Perhaps the BP has allowed her to babble on in her cringeworthy, self-serving fashion for so long in hopes of keeping the 'controversy' alive, but when even her kids are telling her to shut up, you'd think she - and the paper - would finally get the picture. The neighborhood deserves better.
Jan. 23, 2009, 9:40 am
DW from PS says:
Thank God for Google Cache
Jan. 23, 2009, 10:10 am
Astoria Waldorf from PS says:
Always liked the parody best:
Jan. 23, 2009, 10:14 am
Vince DiMiceli (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Due to a technical error, the link to Smartmom's original story failed. It has been fixed as of 10:15 am, Jan. 23.

We apologize for any inconvenience.
Jan. 23, 2009, 11:17 am
Annie from P Slope says:
AdvilPlease from Slope says: "She's no small part of why Park Slope parents have become the target of so much derision."
Oh, come ON! The derision has existed for decades. When my family & others moved there in the '70s, there ALREADY were well-deserved jokes about the "preciousness" of Slope Parenting - people who acted as if parenting was quantum mechanics, or as if no one before them ever had a child. The rep will continue as long as there's evidence.
There are several bases for knocking SmartMom's stuff, but this is NOT one of them.
Jan. 23, 2009, 2:33 pm
raina from ps says:
Annie from P Slope says - "The derision [about PS] has existed for decades ... The rep will continue as long as there's evidence."

More evidence: the fact that too many Slopers are going into therapyspeakish pompous high-dudgeonesque outragey-overdrive about this issue.

But personally -- I'd go nuts or feel psychically claustrophobic if I wrote only about my kids.
Jan. 24, 2009, 2:16 am
Sarah from Carroll Garden says:
Smartmom is cloying. Reading the column feels like
morbid fascination. It is non-nutritive.
Jan. 24, 2009, 2:22 am
Janet from Park Slope says:
It is unfortunate that Smartmom believes she has nothing to offer as a writer aside from first person accounts of what should be private events, and that she believes this writing takes precedence over her family. Everything they're keeping from her they're going to end up telling their therapists.

I suggest Perri Klass's "The Mercy Rule", in which this issue is explored somewhat by a professional woman whose tween daughter becomes livid when she finds what she construes as a critical story about her and the family in her mother's computer.
Jan. 24, 2009, 5:21 pm
TG from Park Slope says:
As a parent raising a 12 year old and a 16 year old, I look forward to reading what Smartmom has to say. I very often feel as though our worlds are of the same. It helps keep me sane, knowing that there are other Mom's out there (or at least one!) dealing with the same issues. I can only imagine what it must be like to have your Mom telling the entire community what is going on throughout your preteen and teen years. I mean those years are rough enough! :) But, I must say that I do enjoy her column and look forward to her figuring this one out...I do have faith that she will. Good Luck Smartmom!
Jan. 24, 2009, 7:34 pm
SJ from Park Slope says:
I have never liked this column no matter what the subject. Let her go
Jan. 24, 2009, 7:52 pm
Lighten Up from Park Slope says:
Funny how all the critics seem to be intimately familiar with the details of Smartmom's columns. While the familial issues are something Louise and the kids will have to work out, those who find her subject matter troubling can just not read it.

Or maybe y'all can just eviscerate each other over the genders of stray children's hats.
Jan. 25, 2009, 12:24 am
Navarre from PS says:
I agree with Lighten Up; it *is* funny that Smartmom's critics are so familiar with the columns' details. Some also seem to have an overly vested interest in this (not just concern for her kids), as if she's violated some cultic code. That kind of attitude helps make PS a magnet for mockery.
As Lighten Up says, the writer and her kids will work it out, and nonfans can just skip the column.
Jan. 25, 2009, 2:26 pm
Andrea from Gowanus says:
The issue is not (1) whether the column is good; (2) who reads it or gets satisfaction from it; or (3) whether it accurately, fairly, or positively portrays life in Park Slope. The issue is Smartmom's obligation to her children.

It should be obvious that you have a moral obligation not to talk publicly about someone you care about if they don't want you to talk about them. How much stronger that principle is when one's children are involved.

Imagine if you had a friend who asked you never to write about her for your column. Would you simply ignore the request and blithely recount your daily interactions? You wouldn't -- and if your ceasing to write about her wasn't based simply on your perceived moral obligation, as it should be, you would do it for a practical reason. After all, what friend would continue to interact with you if you ignored such a plainly legitimate request?

Right now, Smartmom's children don't have this option. Their mere hiding matters from her can only be taken so far (until they become independent) -- and even their behavior on this front is apparently fodder for her column. Smartmom actually repeats "overheard" private conversation on her children's part about their appearance in the column.

If Smartmom doesn't stop, I suspect that she will find out many years from now that the resentment on her children's part will grow, not diminish; and that their request that she stop writing about them will not be a joke to be fondly recalled. It will not matter whether her columns have been "thoughtful" or "fair."

From the children's reported words alone, it is obvious much damage has been done. But the solution is not to construct an infirm justification and to use it to continue on as before. The solution is for Smartmom to tell her children that she accepts their preferences in this regard -- as she would do for any one of her friends -- and will not put anything about them in her column in the future without their explicit permission.

I think in her heart, Smartmom knows that this is what she must do. At least, I hope so.
Jan. 25, 2009, 5:58 pm
fed-up from Park slope says:
Smart-mom should stick to her blog! get out of the paper and let a real columnist write about family issues not a blogger and all her abbreviations are so annoying! I try to read it but cant get past the first paragraph. and in turn i avoid all the ads all together not a good thing for this paper so before you start losing advertising dollars- the only thing that sustains a free paper- cut your losses and get a cheaper syndicated parenting column that people will actually read and touches on issues that matter to all of us not just 3 park slope moms.
Jan. 26, 2009, 1:26 pm
Lighten Up from Park Slope says:
Yeah, fed-up, that's what we need, a generic syndicated parenting column. Genius idea.
Jan. 28, 2009, 3:58 pm
Eh from Pslope says:
Yes - a generic, canned, syndicated parenting column would be SUCH an improvement, and SO reflective of the neighborhood (cough, chortle, gag).
It'd be a great 1st step if you wanted to turn the paper into a totally bland, safe, and nonthreatening fishwrapper.
Jan. 29, 2009, 10:45 pm
Eh from Pslope says:
PS - fed-up said: "in turn i avoid all the ads all together not a good thing for this paper so before you start losing advertising dollars- the only thing that sustains a free paper- cut your losses ... " etc.

Nice try, but most of us don't blow off a half-pageful of ads (with stuff and services we might need) because of an unrelated column.
And I doubt that your patronage alone is keeping those advertisers in business.
Jan. 29, 2009, 10:57 pm
PD from Park Slope says:
I'm 12 years old and I happen to look foward to smart moms column and I hate it when people say "Oh pre-teens cherish their privacy" it not like we're another species. I went to school with OSFO and it did not seem like she was dying.
Feb. 18, 2009, 10:51 pm
park slope mom from Park Slope says:
I'm a fan of the column. Here's my idea: Louise should turn the columns into a book. This would give parents like me who enjoy these essays a chance to savor them permanently, and then might free up Louise to write more columns about other topics. But anyway, keep them coming!
Feb. 18, 2009, 10:58 pm

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