Friday, August 26, 2011

Hating the annoying, or loving the unreachable?

I've recently become enamoured with a blog called Enjoying the Small Things, which I'm sure many of you have heard about. I came across it because of her famous post about her daughter's birth story. As a doula, I am constantly reading birth stories, in the hopes of gleaning any extra information I can about labour, birth and baby care. This helps me to be better informed for my clients.

So much to my surprise, when I was one day googling "Kelle Hampton" (the author of the blog), and came across a whole gaggle of links referring to terms like "kelle hampton annoying" and "kelle hampton hating." With some time to waste, I clicked on the links and began reading.

Twenty minutes later, I came to the conclusion that we could all do with a little more love in this world. Naive? Perhaps. Stupid? Most certainly not.

I was able to draw a link between these "kelle haters" and a recent column I read by Christie Blatchford about the death of a Canadian politician, Jack Layton, and the letter that was released by his family posthumously. In this column, Christie ridicules the eloquent words of Jack Layton, writing that the letter "shows what a canny, relentless, thoroughly ambitious fellow Mr. Layton was. Even on Saturday, two days before he died, he managed to keep a gimlet eye on all the campaigns to come."

She also points out that he wrote this in conjunction with his party president, chief of staff, and wife, which somehow suggests that it was no more than the wasted words of a conniving politician. Two days before death, I'm not sure many people could write an eloquent letter without a little help. When my grandfather passed away from colon cancer, his decline was quick and devastating, and he wouldn't have been able to put pen to paper if he tried.

And yes, of course the letter had a political message - what would you expect of a fellow who had risen so high, so fast, only to see it all slip away in a month's time? What Christie fails to consider is that perhaps Mr. Layton's letter had a deeper meaning than simply a desire to be boastful and vain. I didn't know the guy personally, but if I take what I know from friends who DID know him, I see him as a person who truly cared about the well being of all human beings. You don't come across these types of people very often, and it's even rarer for such a stellar guy to also be a charismatic and effective leader.

I don't feel angry with these "kelle hater" bloggers and columnist Christie Blatchford, but I do feel sorry for them. Somewhere along their life paths, they have become the epitome of cynicism, and this saddens me greatly. Although I respect their right to comment on social, political and cultural issues (as I am doing right this minute), it strengthens my resolve to live differently. What I hope for myself and my family, is that we never get to the point where we find the creativity, positiveness and confidence of other people to be annoying....or worse, "vainglorious."

Is it so bad to embrace things that are sappy? Is it so horrible to rejoice in the beauty of this life, even for brief and fleeting moments? Would our world be any worse off if we followed Jack's advice?

What I suspect deep down (and perhaps have even felt at times) is that those people who become cynical are truly desiring something they find to be out of their reach - as mothers, perhaps it is the image of the "perfect" family; as women, it might be our perceived notion of beauty (we're never thin enough, pretty enough...); as human beings, is it the desire for love, forgiveness or empathy?
The next time you read something, watch something or talk to someone and have the knee-jerk reaction to ridicule, criticize or condemn, stop for a moment and tap into your desires. What is it you truly want? What do you see somewhere else (or IN someone else) that you sense is missing in your own life? Because that hole is certainly there, and you will try to fill it with your cynicism, anger and sadness.
For now, I will fill any holes I find with the joy of the small things and will remain in awe of the beauty of Kelle's pictures and Jack's letter. When I'm gone, I hope to be remembered for taking delight in things, not taking the delight out of things.


  1. You are so right that our first reaction to something we can't understand is fear and criticism. To be wise enough to rise above it - that is a gift. I like your way of thinking. I will try to take a page out of your book - search for delight, lean into joy. thank you.

  2. Well said. I totally agree. Thank you for introducing me to Kelle's blog. Wow!

  3. Kelle Hampton is a self absorbed moron who uses her children daily to make a buck. Anyone who follows her need their head examined.

  4. I just examined mine, and it looks pretty sweet! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I rather enjoy Kelle's blog. She appears to me to be using her photography to make a buck..and not all pictures are of her kids...but the ones that are are just as phenomenal as the others. Having more than one successful friend as a photographer with their own thriving businesses, I can say that they ALL post pictures of their kids on their blogs. It sad that you see such a beautiful thing as so negative. Poverty is an issue to get angry about, not a woman who shares her celebration of family and life with the online community. Not a woman who told her inner most deepest thoughts, personal ones that were likely hard to write in order to help herself and others. That is selfless. Fundraising in honor of her daughter for others is selfless. Maybe a head check isn't what is in order...but some open eyes... I hope you have a nice day.

  6. I like Kelle get a lot of critics on my blog. People love to hate oh well... good post.

  7. Thanks's certainly a tough world at there if we can't respect each other!

  8. KH is annoying becasue she's as fake as they come and exploits her kids on that blog. Anyone who doesn't see that must be pretty gullible. I also have to be curious why she doesn't send the older daughter (the four year old she refers to as a toddler in a recent post. Give me a break) to school. No preschool, no kindergarten, nothing. And don't tell me she may and just doesn't blog about it. The woman blogs about every single thing in her life. I think her focus should shift from posing her kid for pictures for her blog and maybe think more about her education.

  9. I'm pretty sure she's homeschooling them based on what I've read. Her parents home schooled her and her siblings.

  10. I completely disagree. If she were homeschooling the oldest daughter she would have posted 100 pictures of her doing so and blogged about it endlessly. Hampton is a totally self absorbed woman. She would want the world to see her every teaching move. She is a complete turn off.

  11. My children did not attend school until the age of 5. No Pre K for them. Nothing wrong with that. BTW My oldest went to college at 16 the youngest is in Middle School and in advance classes. But like I said we all like to hate.

  12. Sorry guess I phrased that wrong - it appears from what I've read so far that she was planning to homeschool. I did not mean that she had started. I can see where people could be turned off by her lifestyle and positive look on everything....I'm certainly jealous of her gogeous house, her department store styled Christmas tree, and her trips to the beach each Sunday. It can be exhausting reading about someone else's constant happiness. Her life looks easy on film because that's what she chooses to show people. But we don't walk in her shoes and some people like to keep their darker moments private. If I had the camera skills and innate ability to be creative and artistic, I'd probably take tons of pictures of my kids too. She also showcases landscapes and buildings, everyday objects, and other families....not just her girls. Everyone is respectfully entitled to their opinion. I think it's important to be critical and look at it all before coming to a conclusion.

  13. As I think about it she also has sponsors and likely does her photography and blogging so she can be home with her kids and still contribute to the household income. She quit teaching to be home. I think that's pretty selfless....I imagine she was an inspiring teacher.

  14. How do you know she quit teaching? Maybe they didn't renew her contract. It's sad that adult women come across as fantatic teenagers worshipping and defending this woman. What an embarrassment.

  15. The fact of the matter is, none of us know this woman personally. What I am defending in this particular blog post is the right to enjoy and celebrate life - the beautiful, the awesome and the inspiring. I am tired of the cynics and the people who have nothing better to do than come down on people (or concepts/issues) they know nothing about. Really, what kind of positive change is that going to bring in this world? I am defending a way of creatively expressing oneself in this world - if that makes me a fanatic, so be it!

  16. Came across this and I think it pretty much sums up why Kelle Hampton is the poster child for begging for validation.

    Very Anonymous says:
    February 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm
    “Poppa” was a minister during the marriage to mom & left after being discovered having MANY affairs with male members of his church. Mom basically had a breakdown & up and moved with Kelle, her sister & her brother into a cult/commune. Some legal mumbo jumbo began, as in custody & visitation issues, and basically mom ripped the kids from his life. He only reconnected when his kids started getting married.

    Little known fact: mom, brother & sister think its all BS. They are basically sickened by the charade. It is the “Kelle & Poppa Show”.

    Little known fact #2: Divorced sister’s ex-husband is brother to Kelle’s BROTHER’S wife. They all grew up in this cult/commune. Its beyond creepy. Overall, I cannot stand this broad. And her gaggle of star-struck “friends”, too? BARF.

    I am so glad I found you! I love your wit & writing. I truly thought I was the only one out there saying: “For the love of God, WHY & HOW are you people buying into this crap?” I have to go now! I shall go into hiding under the cover of night, as I fear the Loonies have already picked up my scent…some random white van will be pulling into my driveway any minute now.

    God love her and her wonky little eye….

  17. But I still don't understand how any of these personal details about her life have anything to do with her BLOG!? It's like saying "down with Madonna," just because she's (supposedly) a bit of a weirdo in real life. Isn't the point that she is an influential and extremely talented individual? Even the worst of men/women (ie. people who have done terrible things in their personal lives) are honoured for their creativity and the imprint that they have left on this world....

    I don't think that having a messed up family life is any reason to "hate" her blog. I still read it and enjoy it!

  18. I think you are correct that if someone is positive and attractive, that people tend to diss on them, perhaps out of jealousy. But, I don't think that is what a lot of people who don't relate with Kelle Hampton are saying. What you'll find is that the majority of people who love Kelle (not all, but a lot) do NOT have special needs children. She's like a "cross-over" special needs blogger! LOL. Those who are special needs parents simply find her to be a blogger who happens to have a child with a special needs, NOT a Special Needs parent blogger. Meaning, she is a wonderful writer, photographer, and a masterful marketer and "brander" of her blog but she does not chose to represent the issues regarding parenting a special child in all aspects. Her choice, and one that has been very profitable for her! I have no "hate" for her. But what I, and people like me, are saying is NOT that she's "too positive" ( I am quite positive myself!) but that her blog is simply a bit too unidimensional. It's just personal preference :).

    People with special needs kids went to her blog to relate and after her birth story post (the first and last thing of she ever wrote with rawness and honesty IMO). But she couldn't hold many of us there for too long bc after the oooo'ing and ahhhh'ing it just all started to look and sound the same and we simply couldn't relate with her anymore. Her blog is fun, its positive, its an escape. It's like flipping through a glossy magazine where with the Island of Capri in the background, and dripping popsicles and fashion forward outfits and cuteness galore. I go there to escape and feel good.

    Kelle's blog is a "feel good" blog and no one should down her for that. But no one should put down the seasoned, special needs momma in the trenches with their severely disabled children, up all night with seizures, cleaning up fecal smears from a poopy diaper, administering meds, dressing and bathing their non-verbal teenagers, cleaning out feeding tubes, taking midnight trips to the hospital, when they visit Kelle's blog and think: "Oh yeah, man... I can TOTALLy relate to this." I mean, theres a difference between "hating on kelle" and simply saying "I don't relate to her." I don't think that means we are jealous of her or that we find her annoying or that we think she should do this or say that. She is who she is, but we have a right to say that the life she choses to portray on her blog resembles very little of the life many Special Needs Veteran Moms live. Not hating, just observing. To each their own.

    And let me also throw in there that Kelle fans love to say: "I don't want to hear about poop and real life and downer stuff..." in her defense. To that I would say that when bloggers say they wish she was more "real" it's not that they want her to be a jaded snarky downer. I find inspiration not in syrupy sentiments and Hallmark-esque incantations day after day after day all packaged up in a beautiful photo montage. I find inspiration in REAL. Real doesnt mean "negative" or "gloomy." It means talking about all the things we face... REALLY being vulnerable enough to talk about them and STILL, even after you've revealed things that are more gritty or true or scary or hollow that even THEN, you can still find hope, love, and happiness. The way she did in her first post and never did in the two years since. THAT type of realness in writing is far more inspiring. When i go to a blog I don't care about cute hair accessories and which etsy store sent her her 100th necklace or how cute Nella looks eating a drippy popsicle in a BoHo inspired dress and $40 leg warmers. I want something I can relate to. I want something with relevance, something that resembles what my version of parenthood is all about. but that is my humble opinion and I don't mean it as a Diss on anyone.

    1. The kind of blog that a mother/father of a child with special needs might appreciate can be found here:

  19. Ech, she's annoying. I have no other words. I don't hate her, but her saccharine cloying sticky sweet writing just makes me gag.

  20. I've read her blog. I see nothing "raw" about it. So sick of everyone jumping on that "raw and honest" bandwagon just because other people use that phrase. She's a semi-OK writer who tends to get too purple at times and is WAY self-absorbed. Read her blog a few times because people either love her or love to hate on her. After reading it I came away scratching my head. I think it's kind of a lame blog, honestly. I'm curious what all the fuss is about.


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