A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

I Love My Baby More Than You Love Your Baby:

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.

A Badass Breastfeeder Mama Tribe

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. I challenge you to go a step further and prove your love for this community.; take the pledge to Support With Integrity.

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

Comments

  1. Right on abby! I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately as well. Pledge signed. Let’s all just be kind to each other!

  2. Thank you!!! Always such wise words!

    As a working mom, who’s son sleeps in his nursery, practicing AP, this hits very close to home!

  3. Kimberly Underhill says:

    What about circumcision talk?

    • I would think for any and all topics that compassion for the other person is the only way to meet them and that insults and negativity won’t help us reach our goals.

  4. Thank you so much for saying this! The mommy wars have been harder than almost all of the challenges I’ve faced parenting.

  5. Kay Hagan-Haller says:

    so on point as usual. It isn’t just moms, though. Every site people pick on one another. I was reading a recipe and there were more comments about someone’s grammar than the food. Mothers need tremendous support so let’s lift each other up!!!!

  6. Even circumcision talk.

    Be informative if someone is asking questions.
    Understand that your circumstances are not everyone’s circumstances: for any and every topic.

  7. Samantha Smith says:

    Thank you Abby!
    A difference in opinions doesn’t need to end in one party feeling terrible about their decisions.
    We are all good parents! The only bad parents are those that abuse or neglect their children… anything else is a personal decision based on what that particular parent and child needs.

    It seems to be human nature to pick at people and their choices in life…but we should strive to rise above this and be better than that, for the betterment of ourselves, our peers, and our community.

  8. Great thoughts. The title of this article caught my eye and I actually read it because I usually would skip over a parenting article.
    When I was pregnant I loved the support of the community. Hearing women’s stories and feelings and complaints that were similar to mine really helped me to understand what was going on in my own body. All the mommy articles helped me decide what kind of mother I thought I would be.
    A couple weeks into motherhood I came to the very depressing realization that I wasn’t going to be able to breastfeed my child. Even though logically I knew my son would be nourished and healthy from the formula, I felt like the biggest failure, dooming my child to mediocrity because he wasn’t receiving “the best” nutrition. I read scores of women ardently fighting for breastfeeding, calling formula poison, and child abuse. Moms shouting that I would never really bond with my child because he wasn’t attached to my breast.
    It wasn’t too long before I completely disengaged from the community. I already felt so much guilt and sadness that my body didn’t produce milk, I couldn’t subject myself to the awful criticism.
    I now have 2 formula fed babies, both delivered via c-section. The second one a planned c-section. I co-sleep with my daughter, I circumcised my son. I don’t yell at my very active son every time he steps out of line. I let my daughter nap in her car seat. I let both my kids watch tv. I let them eat sugar and drink juice occasionally.

    But I love the heck out of my two babies. I spend time laughing with them, tickling them, playing with them. And they love me! I see it in their smiles. I am a good mom!

  9. I agree totally everyone has their own way to parent they need to get over their selves and realize just cause its not their way doesnt mean its wrong you go mine

  10. Interesting article coming from someone who’s website name is “bad-ass breastfeeder.” You’re not a “breast-feeder” you are a mother who feeds her child.

  11. Great article!

  12. Megg Guthrie says:

    Thank you for this!!!! I needed to come across this post. I’m a new mother of a beautiful 3 month old boy. I wanted to join a online forum for cloth diapering/baby wearing/ breastfeeding/ co-sleepin a few weeks ago.After I posted in the new members area I got several mom who all jumped on me over the fact I circumsed my son( we are messianic christians) they told me I wasn’t a good mom, I shouldn’t even breast feed, and they wouldnt be suprised id he died from SIDS. I had already mangled my son beyond repair according to them. I felt so low I cried for several hours as I held my son. It was at that point I decided to stop trying to make people happy. My son is a happy healthy baby and I am thriving in our relationship….he also bf like a champ and has doubled his birth weight. You can’t make everyone happy…mind your own business and do what’s best for your family.

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