I’m a writer by trade and a mom blogger to boot, so when it comes to trolling, I admit that I kind of signed up for this. Still, I can’t help but feel like the comments section is the place where humanity is unraveling — one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, if you will.
As if political ranting and celebrity gossip weren’t enough, moms have developed their own special brand of judgmental commenting. It’s the worst, and if we’re being honest, it’s why we can’t have nice things. The sanctimonious sh*t needs to stop. When you stop to think about it, it paints a pretty ugly picture of us.
We invalidate each other’s experiences.
I think moms would do well to adopt a “both/and” as opposed to “either/or” stance. Some moms are so wrapped up in being right that they forget that multiple truths can exist. It’s OK if your experience was different from mine, but it doesn’t make mine any less valid.
Acceptable Comment: This was not my experience.
Unacceptable Comment: This was not my experience, so you must be weak/selfish/unreasonable/stupid.
We resort to name-calling.
I have been called “whiny,” “pathetic,” and *audible gasp* “worse than a millennial” by perfect strangers. All because I said I wasn’t parenting like it was the ‘80s. I’m pretty, pretty sure you can disagree with someone without calling them a “dumb bitch.”
We engage in shaming.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Kim Kardashian posting a photo of your front-facing child in a car seat or the woman who Photoshopped a piercing onto her baby’s cheek, other moms will tear you apart. I’m sorry, but it’s not constructive criticism when you make another mom a pariah for formula-feeding, sleep training, or any other parenting decision.
We don the social media cloak of anonymity.
Newsflash: we aren’t Harry Potter, and we don’t have an invisibility cloak. For some reason, we think feel fine typing vitriol from the safety of our computers. It allows us to say things to people that we wouldn’t dare utter in person.
We get all high and mighty.
“I never fought with my partner during pregnancy because I have self-control.” “I would never cry it out with my baby.” “Low supply isn’t real. You’re just not trying hard enough.”
Social media allows us to project our perfect persona. But God forbid another woman expose a vulnerability, whether to process emotions herself, educate the masses, or help others like her feel not so alone. Thanks, but I don’t need you to pray for my children because I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s fine if you don’t want to air your dirty laundry, but don’t pretend you don’t have it. Be careful with those rocks you’re throwing in that glass house of yours.
We fail to grasp sarcasm.
Satire is a delightful literary device. Unfortunately, it’s often lost on people. If you read with a critical eye, you’ll realize that I’m not actually going to keep my daughter in a car seat until prom.
We don’t actually read the article.
Ahem. Turns out the comments are a terrible place to look for clues about what an article is really about. I get it — publications use inflammatory titles to catch the reader’s attention, but we do the author a disservice when we comment without reading the piece in its entirety. We’re walking reaction gifs.
Like any article, I know this will resonate with some and infuriate others. I’ve come to realize that the moment my work goes live, it ceases to be my own. So have at it, comments section. I won’t be reading them anyway.
Kimmie Fink is a stay-at-home mom, staff writer at Romper, and consultant, Nationally Certified Facilitator, and blogger for Welcoming Schools, a project of the Human Rights Campaign. Her work has also been featured on Scary Mommy, NextGen MilSpouse, and Sammiches and Psych Meds. Kimmie blogs on issues of diversity and equity for elementary educators and parents of young children. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.