First, I just have to say, “Wow!” and “Thank you!”
Never in a million years did I expect my last post to get as much attention as it did. I am so happy to have been able to connect with so many other parents around the world. It has been amazing to hear from other moms, dads, teachers, and people of different faith backgrounds who have the very same concerns that I do. Literally hundreds of thousands of people have responded on social media.
I think we have officially gone viral. My blog crashed 4 times from all of the traffic in the past 2 days and I had to upgrade to my own dedicated server. Then I had to upgrade to a bigger one. Hopefully that is all fixed now and you are able to get here without any more trouble.
The Huffington Post ran that piece and it got over a quarter of a million Facebook likes in less than 2 days. It made the front page of their Parents section. This doesn’t even count the response on my own blog or any of the other social media shares. My social media following tripled in 48 hours. We have started something big!
I think it is so cool that as a conservative Christian mom I was so well received by what is typically considered a pretty liberal media outlet, and I have heard from other parents all around the world. Orthodox Jewish families and Muslim families wrote to me and said they had the same concerns about exposing their daughters to clothing they consider inappropriate. Families with values and beliefs much different than my own reached out to agree and say, “How can we help? We want this for our daughters too.” I heard from families in the UK, Canada, and Australia. National news programs have been emailing me. It has been pretty crazy, in a very good way!
I do want to clear up just a few misconceptions. First, I am not being paid to work with Target or any other retailers (Yet. Hey…if you want to pay me, that’s cool. I have three kids to feed.) and I am not the Yoda of the Moms Who Influence Kids’ Fashion World. Target has not promised to bend over backwards to do everything I say. Or really, anything I say. They have simply promised to allow me to collect responses from moms via social media and start some conversations with one of their designers. They are also allowing me to give them specific feedback on a selection of children’s clothing that is supposedly en route to my house. They did not ask me to write about anything I am doing for them, but I warned them that I will be writing about all of it because I’m a blogger. That’s kind of my thing. I think everyone is a little taken aback by how much this seems to be an area that is under-served in the children’s fashion industry.
I was very impressed that as soon as my first post calling out Target got on their radar, just a few days after it was published, they were the ones who reached out to me. Rather than just offer a generic apology and maybe a small gift card, like other retailers may have, they gave me a direct phone number to their PR team. They have answered and returned all of my personal phone calls. They have read the comments on my blog posts here and on The Huffington Post. They offered to send me samples and listened to my feedback and suggestions. I exchanged very long and detailed emails with their Public Relations team. They indulged me by explaining how their design process works. All of our interactions have been positive and civil and, frankly, really fun. I thought this was a HUGE step towards progress and really admire them for listening to our voices as concerned parents.
Second, I am in no way trying to gender neutralize all clothing. I happen to have two very girly girls. They don’t want to dress like boys and I don’t intend to make them. I just want to make it easier for parents to access modest, cute, and affordable clothing for their daughters. Our voices are coming together to tell retailers that there IS a market for more modest clothing. A big market, I’d say, based on the insane response to that last post.
That was the good part of this week.
Then there was the bad part…the more personal stuff.
You may have noticed that I have not written much lately. True, I had taken a teaching position and gone back to work. (Are you wondering why I phrased that in the past tense? I will tell you.)
A few weeks ago, I started feeling very dizzy. I have suffered from vertigo before, so I thought that was the problem. Then it just kept getting worse. Then I noticed that I was starting to get black spots in my vision and I frequently felt like I was going to pass out.
I went to the doctor and was treated for what they thought might be an inner ear infection. Even on the medicine I was taking, it kept getting worse. A few days later, my hands and feet started going numb. I felt fine 95% of the time, but that other 5% was getting scary. I called my doctor’s office and they told me I had to go to the Emergency Room.
They ran blood, urine samples, an EKG, and a CT scan. They did all kinds of tests of my reflexes, but couldn’t find anything. They sent me home with stronger medicine, still thinking it was an inner ear issue. They told me to follow up with my family doctor, but I wasn’t allowed to work or drive while on the medicine or having those symptoms. Nobody wants their kid to be in a room with a teacher who is hopped up on pills and might black out at any second, after all.
I started keeping a journal of all my symptoms. After a lot of Googling and WebMD, I was pretty sure I might have Multiple Sclerosis, but I was also pretty sure I could just be being a hypochondriac. Maybe it was just stress or something?
My family doctor ordered a MRI.
I finally got those results back yesterday.
I do have a lesion in my brain. So, I wasn’t crazy, there really is something wrong. The good news is that it doesn’t look like cancer. The bad news is that they can’t tell what it is yet. My doctor said he would be surprised if it is MS since there is only one lesion, it could just be a bruise that is affecting my balance and vision. Maybe I hit my head super hard? (I haven’t.) But I’m going to have to follow up with a neurologist because it could potentially be something more serious, such as the MS I initially thought.
In the meantime, I ran out of sick time and was not eligible for medical leave because I just started that teaching position in August. I could have applied for an unpaid leave, but that would have left my students without a permanent teacher, and I didn’t think that was fair to them. So I resigned from my teaching position yesterday for medical reasons.
I told you it has been a crazy week.
But isn’t it funny how when one door closes another one opens? Because at the very moment I was turning in my resignation, my blog was hitting its all-time high for page views and I was getting hundreds of emails from women saying, “Yes! Thank you for this. Someone needs to take up this cause for our daughters.”
So…I guess that’s going to be me. Because here I am, back to being a full-time mom and blogger.
If you are here because you are one of the parents looking for more modest clothing options for your daughters, I have started a Pinterest board where I am collecting the suggestions that have been sent to me by other parents. Be sure to follow this board and I will be doing follow-up posts featuring companies that are already offering what we have been asking for.
I’m so glad all of you are here to take this crazy ride with me!
I would love for us to start using the hashtag #ModestMavens when discussing this issue on social media so that I can keep track of our conversations and your suggestions!