It’s a delicate balancing act promoting a book full-time at home with six kids. My book Stolen Youth— on how I believe woke ideology is turning American childhood on its head — was published a week ago. To give myself the time and space I needed for various TV shows and appearances, I organized childcare for three of my children.
On Tuesday, March 14th, my husband worked from home while my 7-year-old and 9-year-old kids worked through their homeschool checklists. I put my newborn down for a nap while I signed up to appear on The Hill’s YouTube show. rising.
Just before we went on the air, I overheard one of the presenters talking about parenting, which I found negative. I panicked. Throughout my career as a loud and proud “breeder,” I have often felt attacked by the left and prepared to be ambushed on the air about my own life choices as a mother of six.
I felt a growing panic attack throughout the interview, but just tried to get through the duration of the performance without incident. As we talked, I stammered and tried not to set traps. I didn’t want to raise questions about my personal life.
Finally, I was speechless at one question – the basic definition of the word “awakened”.
It was a legitimate question; after all, it is at the heart of the premise of my book. But by that time the panic attack had come and I was speechless. I finally stuttered out what I thought was a decent definition of the word, but by then it was too late.
I knew the current Brain Freeze was going to go viral, and I was right. The clip has been viewed millions of times and a dozen articles have been written about the most humiliating seconds of my life.
As soon as we hung up, I burst into sobs. My husband and children immediately surrounded me. I’m not usually a screamer. The last time I cried a bit was two months ago towards the end of my home birth, during the worst phase of labor known as transition.
Seeing me crying and panicking wasn’t a sight my kids were used to, but they saw it a few more times the next day. The next day I was clearly struggling emotionally. But I’ve also been doing more and more radio and podcast appearances, albeit without the confidence I normally exude and enjoy.
Although I’ve become more aware of my breaks, I haven’t stopped working on the promotion of a book that took me a year and a half to research, write, and edit. I am proud of this work and our end product and will not let a brief bout of fear distract from it or define it or me.
My kids are all regulars at my house and had a front row seat to this show, my lowest and most frustrating professional experience to date. But I’m glad they were.
On Wednesday morning, as the clip went increasingly viral, I felt compelled to sit down with my older kids and be honest with them. I told them I was nervous and that Daddy works from home to help me juggle but also to give me emotional support.
I told them that many people were sending me unkind messages and comments and that I would do my best not to let my feelings affect my mood, but that it could happen, and if it did, I would be sorry . Saying this out loud made me more aware that I was trying to keep that promise.
I would not have planned this experience but for my older children it was a valuable experience. They saw their mother fail and they saw her get back on the horse. They saw their mother being humiliated, but they also saw that my confidence remained intact.
They also watch me try to regain my confidence in front of the camera and work hard not to give me lasting stage fright. You’ve seen what an emotionally healthy marriage is: My husband quietly takes over the chores I normally do to give me a break. They saw him cheer me up and hug me when I needed them, and they saw him joke with me as I carried on enough to laugh at my own misfortune.
We homeschool our kids, and most of the time it looks like a math or phonetics class. But sometimes it looks like this; Real life lessons in resilience, humility and perseverance.
Bethany Mandel is a columnist, political commentator, and co-author of Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation. You can follow her on Twitter at @bethanyshondark.
All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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