Emily — First, Thanks for sharing your experiences. It takes courage to share personal experiences like this — and the people who criticize you will often not understand your openness or why you would (ie: in hopes to let others know they’re not alone, to offer a new perspective, to offer a new idea or solution to a situation, etc).
Second, it always amazes me what people believe they “have” to be able to give their kids. I’ve been on both sides of the equation… and at the end of the day, kids need love attention and nurture. The piles of toys, dozens of clothes or xBoxes are no substitutes for caring adults. You’ve learned this lesson early in your parenting career! ;-) Be grateful. Your kids will be more resourceful, more creative and more independent for it. (At least that’s my own experience.)
Lastly, I am astonished and shocked at what people are willing to say to each other. As I read some of the comments here, the stories I’ve read about how people talk about other parents, etc… Just when I think I can no longer be shocked — I am. The lack of compassion, understanding, empathy, openness is truly sad. As a writer, it’s easy to become discouraged by people who have nothing positive to say or share. Keep writing. Share your voice. Your audience is out there. ;-)