I have always loved to write. For as long as I can remember, I was writing short stories, long stories, poems etc. So it was only natural that when I became a mom, that love of writing became my way of finding humor in not so humorous days, and of reaching out to my fellow moms. I have never understood why we try so hard to appear perfect as parents, since there really is no such thing. A lot of the material I write about parenting tends to be dripping with sarcasm and not even remotely serious, because honestly if you can’t laugh at yourself as a parent, you aren’t going to make it out with your sanity intact. That’s not just my opinion, that’s Science. Having my writing published was always kind of a bucket list thing for me, so you can imagine my excitement when a friend, working for a parenting website, decided my writing was funny enough to do just that. I was ecstatic!!!! Thousands of people would read articles that I had written. “They will appreciate my honesty” I thought. “They will relate to me” I thought. Wrong. I was in absolute awe of the number of people that read my articles. But then the comments started rolling in.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am totally open to constructive criticism, and of course people are entitled to their opinions, but holy crap! Swearing, threatening, and accusing me of being a terrible mother…I am pretty sure most of the “helpful” comments came from people who hadn’t even read the articles. One woman even accused me of making fun of children with behavioral issues. First of all, I would never, under any circumstances do anything of that nature.Not only because I am a decent human being, but also because I have children of my own with behavioral issues. I reread my article three times and I still have no idea where she got that idea from. Especially since the article was about annoying moms that can be found on-line. Ahem, point made.
I had been reading lots of posts by parent bloggers. Some made me laugh, some made me cry, and some filled my heart with joy. Others I disagreed with, or just didn’t find interesting. I responded the same with all of them. If I loved them, I shared them and if I didn’t, I didn’t. Either way, I put my phone down and simply went on with my life. It never even once occurred to me to read the comments. Not once. Until I had my own comments to deal with. So I decided to start reading the comments found on other writer’s articles. I needed to know, was I just a really crappy writer, or are people just nuts? Oh. My. Goodness. That is not a road you want to go down unless you have several hours to spare and a bottle of wine to sustain you. It’s like a car wreck that you can’t look away from. Like a really twisted social experiment that people don’t realize they are participating in. And the interesting part was that the comments were the same regardless of the content of the article. In fact, the actual topic of the article often had NOTHING to do with the contents. Here are the most common comment threads, regardless of the topic:
1. Vaccinations: Remember before you had kids and the two main topics to avoid at a dinner party were religion and politics? After you have children those things no longer matter. The only topic you absolutely do not want anyone to mention is vaccinations. Unless you want your home to be featured on an episode of COPS, you simply do not bring it up. Period. What I found bizarre was that no matter what an article was about, someone at some point will comment about vaccinations. “How I Got My Child to Sleep in Their Own Bed” BAM! Vaccinations. “The Importance of Color Choice in the Nursery” BAM! Vaccinations. And four hundred comments after that one comment about vaccinations is dropped like a roadside bomb, and no one even knows what the article was about anymore.
2. Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding: Again, why? The topic could be “My Child Has Too Much Homework” and then BAM! Feeding. “The Best Car Seats for Baby” BAM! Feeding. And one more time, the second that comment is made, the sanctimommies come running from all sides and actual content of the article? Who could remember?
3. You are lucky to even have a child: This one kills me. Honestly, I cannot even fathom the pain of infertility and the idea of dealing with miscarriages is just beyond devastating. That being said, parents absolutely need to share the frustrations that come with having children. We need to vent and hear other parents vent and realize we aren’t the only ones with a two-year-old who only eats macaroni. Or that someone else’s child refuses to sleep in their own bed because their imaginary friend is taking up too much room. It is vital that we reach out to our fellow parents. On every single article I read about any sort of frustration or trial of parenting the comments would appear. “You shouldn’t complain. You are lucky to even have a child.” “At least you have a child to feed at dinner time.” Etc, etc. As much as my heart hurts for these people, I have to question why on earth they are torturing themselves by reading articles about the trials of parenting. And if they must torture themselves, don’t jump all over the author. She didn’t tie you to a chair and force you to read it.
So I learned a few things from my little insecurity fueled investigation:
1. People believe themselves to be invincible when in front of their keyboards. The glow of the computer screen is like some sort of bizarre Bat Symbol, calling them into action on their mission to prove that they are the best parents that have ever lived, and the rest of us are idiots.
2. I am not as thick skinned as I thought…
3. Mommy Bloggers are the bravest people on the internet. Seriously. Swearing, death threats, verbal abuse and full on attacks on their parenting skills don’t stop them from writing articles and posting. They are sharing their parenting experiences and personal triumphs and traumas with the most terrifying, judgmental and self-righteous group of people on the planet. Other parents. Writers and bloggers, I have nothing but respect for you all. Keep writing. Keep sharing the truth that is in your hearts. As for me, my trusty typewriter and I may become reacquainted.
This article originally appeared on www.isthatchocolateorpoop.com