posted in Parenting
As a mom blogger I put my life out there. I share my highs and lows, and my Instagram page is full of photos of me wearing hospital granny panties postpartum, among other personal moments. I receive backlash sometimes. People have told me I deserve it for sharing so much. I disagree. Conversations are one thing, shaming is something entirely different.
What’s interesting is the anger I’ve experienced has only been online. No one has ever said to my face that I’m a bad mother, but they have on the Internet. Sometimes I’ll respond by questioning the tone. Generally the person will retract or back down when confronted.
I enjoy a healthy debate. Yet I’ve been told I’m a horrible person, that my husband should divorce me. One commenter even said she wanted to punch me in my face (that one I did reply to, offering to give her my address and asked what time I should expect her to come over…she didn’t respond).
These types of encounters baffle me. I’m of the camp where if you can’t say anything nice just move on. I still don’t understand why one would suggest my husband leave me because I still breastfeed past the one year mark. Tomato, to-mah-toe, I suppose.
I’m an adult, my husband is also. We can take it. Sure, some comments anger me, a few have upset me. I try to shake it off and move on. But children? That’s a different story. They should be off limits from these encounters, regardless of whether I write about my life as a parent.
I’m my child’s protector. His advocate. Especially so right now because he can’t yet speak up for himself. I do it for him when I feel it’s necessary. At a music class a child took a toy from my son. Normal. My son took it back. Also normal. When the mom took the toy from my son’s hands, said “no!” and actually shook her finger in his face? Not normal. I calmly interjected.
Given that, you’d think I would rage when someone went after me on Instagram and included my child in her wrath. My initial instinct was to return the anger. But I didn’t. Not because I was afraid of a confrontation. I simply didn’t want to continue the cycle.
She commented that my child was “the ugliest f*cking kid” and “f*cking gross.” Pointed out his features with awful descriptions. Sure, she took swings at me and my husband and went so far as to my mock my battle with postpartum depression. But the comments about my child were so cruel. And unwarranted.
Unlike other times I’ve been trolled, I wasn’t hurt. Just angry. Yes, I wanted to fire off a knee-jerk response. But after I thought some more I chose not to. Instead I stopped to think about why this person would feel compelled to leave such a comment.
People don’t lash out for no reason. Hurt people hurt others. She’s obviously gone through something painful and is using me as a punching bag. It’s not okay. But I’m a big girl, I can take it. I just hope she doesn’t ever turn her vitriol toward someone who is in a dark place. A person like this could do real damage. We all could — if we tried — just with our words.
I’m not perfect and I don’t live in a glass house. I admit that I’ve dabbled in bullying and shaming in the past, though the last time was probably high school. It’s regrettable and I strive to stay above it.
Instead of continuing the pointless conversation I ended it. My son never knew what she said. If I responded the cycle of anger would just continue. I wished her well — and then blocked her from my page.
I may not be able to end all bullying or shaming, but I can stop it from including me. By walking away and not engaging. I can’t say I’ll do the same if it happens again. Hopefully I will. And I’ll try.
There’s a big tiger mom inside me. It just didn’t feel like this was the right time to let her roar.
For more mom moments, follow me on Instagram at Witty Otter.
Has anyone ever bullied you or your child online? How did you hadle the situation?
Images by Becky Vieira