How the On-Line Motherhood Support Community is Committing Mass Suicide
We love nothing more than to say we have this wonderful, global community of women designed to support each other in a way that many people in our daily lives have not. And yet, we shit on this very community every single day. Many times a day. All day. I am just about at my wits end with the woman on woman hating on the internet. Yes, I am talking about you. And I am talking about me. Every single one of us needs to take responsibility.
We type nasty comments to each other about the carriers that we choose to use, for our choice of baby clothes, for using the hospital nursery, for our choice of toys for our children and even for choosing to age our child in months versus years. This is just a few of the ways we shit on our community every day. This list is endless. The amount of topics that inevitably draw nasty and hateful comments is staggering and would be impossible to list here. And I am largely exposed to the gentle parenting community. Ironic, right? Mothers who claim to be on a gentle path turn into the most ungentle people.
It’s not trolls. It’s us. It’s the very mothers who claim to be a part of this community; who claim to support other mothers.
And we hide behind our keyboards and our hateful words and claim to be “just stating our opinion.”
Newsflash: No one asked for your opinion. And just because you have one doesn’t mean you should spew it out at every opportunity. You are free not to comment. Actually, you are encouraged not to comment unless you have something supportive or complimentary to say. Because, you know, we claim to support each other.
And don’t give me the whole caped-crusader bit, “I am an internet activist and I am passionate about this subject.” You know what? You are actually pushing people away when you bash people over the head with your views. It’s not the way to successfully get your point across.
The reality is we are all different. Even those of us that claim to be exactly the same. Just give it some time and you will learn that there are significant differences in all of us and how we parent. And that’s a good thing. Also, you have no idea what goes in the life of another person. Especially those that you have an internet relationship with. And certainly those that you don’t know at all!
It seems we are all extremists on the internet. “That woman is a bad mom because her kid plays with a tablet. That kid must be so neglected with no toys.” “That woman isn’t using an ergonomically correct carrier. Poor thing, that baby is going to be severely crippled!” “That baby is in the nursery. Just give up now, you have ruined your child.” Stop it. Just. Stop. It. The poor kid with the tablet probably also has toys and is allowed outside. The baby in the carrier is not going to die. The mother who chose to use the nursery can be just as AP as you. They’ve made different decisions than you and you need to get over it. We all love our children equally.
Oh, and also, mind your own business!
Your extremes, opinions and hate are killing this community. This community that you claim to care about, that you claim supports you.
I highly suggest trying to find your mama tribe because this one on the internet is dying. We are killing it. Unless we all woman up and take responsibility for ourselves this will be no place that any mother is going to want to be a part of.
Have we lost all compassion for each other? Or maybe we never had it.
The bottom line is that we have been given this gift. This gift of the internet that connects us in ways impossible before it existed. And we are going to lose it. We are going to kill it.
Challenge: I challenge you to comment only when you have something supportive or useful (if someone has asked for it) to say. When you see someone you disagree with try embracing that person. Try inviting them into the community knowing that somewhere down the line they will be exposed to the same information that you have.
Maybe the differences are too extreme to be able to be friends, maybe you’re disgusted by a person’s choices: even more reason to embrace someone because if someone is giving you that strong of a reaction then it is more about you than it is about them. Try embracing them, try embracing yourself. Or at the very least try leaving it alone.
Kindness Begets Kindness. It’s the only thing that ever has.
Abby Theuring, MSW