Today’s news:

Smartmom moves on! Beloved columnist ends her run

for The Brooklyn Paper

A few months ago, Dumb Editor told Smartmom that he wanted a younger columnist with younger offspring for The Brooklyn Paper’s award-nominated parenting column. Smartmom felt like she was being stabbed.

“You’re killing Smartmom?” she asked.

“Don’t say it like that,” he replied, and blathered on about demographics, advertising, parents and that damn couch that Smartmom spent 12 columns on last year year.

Smartmom went through a variety of feelings about Dumb Editor’s decision to dump her.

First she was in denial. She reckoned it would take months, even years, for Dumb Editor to find a suitable replacement. She didn’t tell anyone because she really didn’t think it was going to happen. Obviously, Dumb Editor would see the light of day and change his mind.

Soon after, Smartmom got angry. Really angry. In her mind Dumb Editor became Mean Editor. She couldn’t think about him without sneering. She composed angry letters in her mind attacking him for his shortsightedness. How could he kill poor innocent Smartmom? What a jerk!

Smartmom decided that Mean Editor was ageist, that he was discriminating against Smartmom for being a 51-year-old mom with a pair of teenagers, one college-bound this summer. What was so wrong with writing about a 13-year-old and a 19-year-old? Don’t teens need to be parented, too? Were babies the only kind of children worth writing about? Surely there was already enough on Park Slope Parents and Babble about breastfeeding and Bugaboos.

Then the self-hatred kicked in. Dumb Editor’s “rejection” really did a number on Smartmom’s self-esteem. For a short period of time, she had writer’s block and even trouble coming up with ideas for new columns. She started to doubt herself as a writer. Was she really irrelevant and over the hill? Was she really out of tune with her Brooklyn readership?

As time passed, Smartmom slowly began to accept the inevitable. She even began to feel better. The support of her friends and family was significant in this regard.

Many of her friends and neighbors were shocked that Smartmom was being “killed off.” They were incredulous that Mean Editor would do such a thing and that they wouldn’t be reading about the trials and tribulations of her life while sipping coffee at Connecticut Muffin.

Smartmom was soothed by their kind words and she began to adjust. She decided that she would leave the Brooklyn stage with grace and dignity. It wouldn’t do to curse out Mean Editor and leave The Brooklyn Paper by emergency slide like that Jet Blue flight attendant.

Plus, didn’t Dumb Editor offer her an entirely new neighborhood column? Yes, somewhere in the mists of her bitterness, she remembers him mentioning that, as he grabbed the last bite of the brownie they were supposedly sharing.

The Oh So Feisty One was greatly relieved to hear about the imminent demise of Smartmom. It’s no secret that she absolutely hated being the subject of a column in a widely circulated, popular newspaper read by her friends and the parents of her friends. An intensely private person, she was happy to hear that her life would no longer be the subject of public conversation.

However, when she told Teen Spirit that Dumb Editor thought the column should end when he left for college, he was aghast.

“But what about OSFO? You can still write about her,” he said.

This surprised Smartmom. She knew that Teen Spirit found the articles about himself irritating and that he’d stopped reading the column ages ago. Still, he thought it unfair that OSFO would now be out of the limelight that she herself hated.

Hepcat wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Smartmom’s termination. He rather liked being stopped on the street every now and again.

“Are you Hepcat?” people would say.

“I am the person on whom Hepcat is loosely based,” he would tell them.

The columns were also an easy way to check in with Smartmom about what she was thinking and feeling — a whole lot easier than actually having a conversation with Smartmom because sometimes those talks would result in arguments or long whining sessions. Now, he would have to talk to Smartmom and that might be a tad inconvenient.

Strangely, Smartmom not only accepted the idea that the column was coming to an end, but she even began to like the idea. It would certainly make things easier between her and OSFO, who would no longer have to fear that Smartmom would write about something she didn’t want other people to know about.

Smartmom also realized it was time to move on to new things. She’d been writing the column for almost six years, and she’d probably said all she needed to say about being a smart mom in Brooklyn.

Still with just three columns to go, Smartmom is feeling a tad nostalgic. She remembers the day six years ago when Mean Editor wined and dined her at the Tea Lounge, trying to lure her to his newspaper. Smartmom remembers that he even bought her a cup of coffee (not a latte, mind you) and told her how much he liked her writing.

Well, we know how that story ends — and what a double whammy for Smartmom. Teen Spirit is going off to college, and Smartmom is being axed from The Brooklyn Paper.

What’s a smart mom to do?

Louise Crawford, a Park Slope mom, also operates “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”
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Reader Feedback

Not-a-Fan from Brooklyn Heights says:
I wondered why anyone would write this column. Then I wondered why anyone would read it.
Aug. 17, 2010, 7:03 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
It could have been handled with a paragraph. But three columns? Delusional, eh?
Aug. 17, 2010, 8:40 am
SMARTY from Park Slope says:
Yes, finally. Thanks for making my day with this absolutely wonderful news. Now, please get a good writer with an interesting point of view to fill the spot.
Aug. 17, 2010, 9:21 am
Regular Fellow from PS says:
Buried in this inanity is a small but painful nugget. Gersh offered Crawford a "neighborhood" column. Yikes. Please, not my neighborhood. Gersh, have her cover East New York.
Aug. 17, 2010, 9:44 am
Richard from Williamsburg says:
I look forward to Smartgrandma in just a few years.
Aug. 17, 2010, 12:45 pm
jan from brooklyn says:
i thank you for your columns although i started reading them since the green couch i was always waiting for sunday to read what had happen next thank you for letting us who care into your life..good luck on your new adventure..
Aug. 17, 2010, 1:33 pm
Bob Scott from Brooklyn Heights says:
Everyone (well, not everyone — see "Young Reader" above) is pilling on poor Smartmom.

People HATED her column … and people LOVED her column. It was what it was, and it ran its course well.

As for a neighborhood column, she and Gersh will do what they do, but her Park Slope-centric blog, OTBKB.com, is pretty good.
Aug. 17, 2010, 1:49 pm
BB from Park Slope says:
Whatever it will be, it will be painful, and certainly not reflective of Park Slope and certainly Brooklyn as a whole. Maybe Gersh can find some people who truly reprent the borough as a whole, not just where he lives.
Aug. 17, 2010, 4:38 pm
BB from Park Slope says:
Maybe Gersh will find a couple of columnists who more truly represent Brooklyn, not just the over-analyzed corner in which he lives. Crawford is an extremely poor choice as somwone to represent what the average Brooklyn resident is.
Aug. 17, 2010, 4:42 pm
Bob Scott from Brooklyn Heights says:
I thought the Brooklyn Paper primarily covers Brownstone Brooklyn, Bay Ridge and Williamsburg (and vicinities). So its neighborhood columnist should NOT "represent" a typical Brooklynite, whatever that means.
Aug. 18, 2010, 12:02 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
The Brooklyn Paper needs a fresh voice for so-called Brownstone Brooklyn. Crawford ain't it. She's a tired, whiny voice, easily parodied and ridiculed, like just about anything to do with Park Slope and/or Williamsburg these days. We need someone young, vital, humble and interesting. Not a self-promoting yenta.
Aug. 18, 2010, 10:34 am
PJ from WT says:
Have enjoyed your column S/Mom. Sorry to see you go. Write on!
Aug. 18, 2010, 11:17 am
James from Cobble Hill says:
About time. For almost the past decade, I can remember that if I wanted to feel angry, all I had to do was read the "smart" mom column and it wouldn't take long. The old tired boomer-tripe championed by people like Dr Spock and Mel Levine (which have long been disproved), oozed through the pages in such gratuitous amounts that I have only been able to actually finish a after many breaks. The banality of her opinionated diatribes were surpassed only by the overtones of self centered narcissism. These kind of amateur behavioral scientist parents are what kill a family.
Aug. 19, 2010, 12:04 am
Geeky Smartmom (Geekdrop.com) from Florida says:
Wow this really sucks and I hate to see you go. I actually have become fond of you, reading your story day in and day out. See I also go by the name "Smartmom" but of the geek world so every day you show up in my inbox in the form of Google Alerts....everyday for years. Where ever your ventures take you I do wish you and your family well.

Sorry about all of the haters that have decided to post here. Obviously they have no life but have only posted to read their own babble. I hope that they do not get you down as your writing is amusing and fun to read. You have entertained many of us over the years and for that I thank you.
Aug. 19, 2010, 6:40 am
JG from Tokyo (former brooklynite planning to return in 3 months) says:
I had to go out and get some champaign for this one. The writings should by starting off parents, not OUR parents.
Aug. 19, 2010, 7:55 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Thank God! This column was absolutely the most
pretentious piece of dreck in your paper.
Good riddance!
Aug. 19, 2010, 9:41 am
Brenda from Flatbush says:
I always found Louise's column an amusing read, and she never took herself seriously enough to merit the nastiest comments sent her way. She was never mean-spirited, and was occasionally funny and touching. I suspect the negativity is directed more at the class of folks she came to represent. Most of the reviled Park Slope 'yuppies' are in fact, like her, decent folks, blessed and sometimes befuddled by affluence, trying (probably too hard) to raise happy families and save the world. Annoying sometimes, perhaps, but it could be a lot worse.
Aug. 19, 2010, 5:34 pm
Jeremy from Park Slope says:
So glad, so, so glad.
Aug. 19, 2010, 10:30 pm
HappyReader from Brooklyn says:
Methinks the haters doth protest too loudly.
Aug. 20, 2010, 9:15 am
Keen Observer from Gravesend says:
Not a good couple of years. Madoff, getting old, empty nest syndrome, the bungled Blogfest, now this. Tough cookies.
Aug. 20, 2010, 9:57 am
Baller B from Park Slope says:
Smartmom will not be missed by anyone in my house.
Aug. 20, 2010, 10:41 am
Strollerdriver from Park Slope says:
Well done Gersh! She needed to go.
Aug. 20, 2010, 10:43 am
Ntas from Brooklyn says:
Gersh should fire himself too. The Brooklyn Paper was once a smart combination of local reporting and fun. Now its coverage is just bizarre and embarrassing. The paper has become a parody of itself.

Move on, Smartmom, and take Gersh with you, please.
Aug. 21, 2010, 4:41 am
Wonderama from Park Slope says:
Don't let the door hit you in the keester on the way out. Need someone relevant who writes in the familiar, first person, and wouldn't be an embarrassment to Brooklyn or writers the city over.
Aug. 22, 2010, 5:30 pm
snowman from prospect heights says:
....(self) "beloved columnist ends her run"...
Aug. 22, 2010, 7:38 pm
Rakemucker from Cobble Hill says:
Our long neighborhood nightmare is over for the time being. Don't worry, like Marty or gas from a White Castle burger, it'll keep repeating and repeating. It's painful to see fifty-somethings try to be hipsters ... I saw Grandma and Grandpa walking into a club the other night frequented by other trustfunders. Guess the younger ones can then visualize what they'll not be in 20 years ....
Aug. 23, 2010, 9:26 am
Larry from Park Slope says:
"What's a smart mom to do?" If anyone is crazy enough to hire you, try writing about yourself in the first person, and drop the cutesy names: "Hepcat." He should have divorced you for that. "Mean Editor" may be a talentless a----, but he's doing the right thing.
Aug. 23, 2010, 10:35 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
I truly hope Gersh can teach Louise how to report. Reporting is not saying on your blog, "I walked by a storefront on 7th Ave., and they were doing work. Does anyone know what's going in here? Actually, does anyone remember what was there in the first place because I've already forgotten?"

Reporting means taking the time to ask the right questions, cultivate sources and find out the answer for yourself. Plenty of bloggers would make great neighborhood reporters/columnists for Gersh. Louise ain't one of them.
Aug. 24, 2010, 1:10 am
Susan from Park Slope says:
I have loved the column from the moment it debuted and will miss it terribly. Louise is a talented, smart and funny writer -- and one who writes honestly. I'll never forget the column about she and Hepcat having sex (and having her mother-in-law visit the week it was printed!). I always admired Gersh for giving her a voice in the paper. And I certainly understand his decision to move on. Change is change and this is New York, the place that always changes. So nothing personal, Louise, and you will be missed. Thank God for OTBKB.
Aug. 24, 2010, 12:40 pm
Christie from Park Slope, late 20s says:
One of my fond, recent Park Slope memories is of discovering "Smartmom," and laughing so hard I nearly spewed my coffee through my nose while I was sipping it at the Purity diner. Her awkward honesty reminded me of the fictional columnist "Jean" in the Onion. http://www.theonion.com/articles/mothering-frights,17383/

Is she out of touch and over the hill? Absolutely. But she's not exactly writing for the New York Times. I don't demand much from a neighborhood paper -- reporting on real estate activities, new businesses and crime. She was just icing on the cake. A real slice of culture in my neighborhood. I heartily mock that culture. But I enjoy its presence all the same. I will miss her.
Aug. 24, 2010, 8:06 pm
Brownstoner from Brooklyn Heights says:
Take it from me (and the nasty comments I've left on the blogs of young single women who are much more like me) all vitriol, but most especially the anonymous kind, is jealousy or self-hatred in one form or another. Smartmom, from the distance of a few miles and a few decades (which your oh-so-dedicated haters who posted above don't seem to have) I love your column. Come to check it almost every Tuesday, in fact. I might cringe sometimes at the self-disclosure, but I admire you for having the courage to let it all hang out. And I applaud the perseverance it must take to cone up with a creative column every week. On the one hand, I can't imagine why all those people above take the time to read, and then write comments about, something they supposedly find so awful. And yet on the other hand, I totally do know, so very well ;). Good luck, smartmom!
Aug. 26, 2010, 2:31 am

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