The S-Mum, Maria, discusses the unfair criticism that parenting bloggers face.
On Wednesday, I wrote a blog post on how an imaginary spider and a pair of knickers caused a post apocalyptic meltdown in my house before 7am. Read it here.
I went to work in tears, spent the day in an absolute state and only settled when Mini-Me was tucked up after a very calm and snuggly bedtime. Most of the stress came from the fact that although yes, SHE had started it, I knew in my heart and soul that the biggest reason for the stand-off… was me.
I wasn’t going to post, but as my readers know, I’m not one for pretending this parenting lark is easy. I’m not Mary of the Poppins. Nor am I Nanny Mc Phee. In fact, most days, the S is S-Mum stands for ANYTHING EXCEPT Super. But post it I did and I’m glad I did.
It never ceases to amaze me how supportive and kind other Mammies can be. (And Daddies actually.) Within an hour of posting it, a dozen Mums and 3 Dads had commented their empathy and another dozen had private messaged me to say that they too had crappy days; that they had also been dealing with similar behaviour in their homes.
One Mammy, whose kids are now adults, messaged me to tell me that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and that every mum goes through bad mornings and bad days. Her message made me cry. I went to bed feeling particularly crappy and emotionally exhausted, but Thursday was another day and thankfully, a LOT better.
For every reader who empathised with my struggle, I’m sure that there were a few who tutted their sanctimammious tuts at my post; at my honesty and at my admission that I’d fooked up that morning. That’s par for the course as a blogger. If my #mammyfailure made them feel smug and self-righteous. Good. But the readers I care to impress are the ones who think “Thank God it’s not just me.”
Last night, a very followed and applauded Mum blogger in the UK and her equally popular Blogger Husband, posted on Instagram a photograph of themselves out on a date night. The post initially seemed quite run of the mill, but as you read, it became clear that it was an #ad.
The responses to the post were instant. They set the interweb on fire and within a few minutes, had hundreds of comments; most of them negative and disgusted, many of them aggressive and hateful.
Why? Because what initially looked like a typical “Yay! We’re out!” post, was actually an advert for the Babysitting App they had used that evening. “The Uber of babysitters” is how it is described. It’s an app that provides qualified babysitters, all of whom are apparently first-aid and childcare trained and have had thorough background checks done on them.
It’s quite popular in cities, where many parents find themselves without the “Village” required to raise a child. Indeed many of the comments were from people saying that they must check them out.
But within minutes, the abuse of the couple began. Lots of people simply stated their suspicion of the app, or the fact that they personally wouldn’t want to leave their children with a stranger. Some went so far as to point out the fact that if the children awoke, they’d be faced with a stranger, (my first thought too.)
But others took it quite personally and went so far as to reprimand and scold them for their “irresponsibility”, “Disgusting content” and “poor parenting”. Some criticised them for leaving their children with a stranger for an Ad opportunity. Basically, they and their parenting got annihilated by the hundreds of Sanctimammies who felt it their duty to share their disapproval.
Now, while I personally wouldn’t use such a service, I don’t feel the need to tell these people that I have a different view. I am however, also lucky enough to live near family and to have wonderful friends who are part enough of our girls’ lives to mind them if we need them to.
But do you know what? Not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has a support system on their doorsteps. Not everyone has a buddy who can pop over for an hour. And as usual, not everyone parents the same as me, or as you.
And we are so quick to judge. It made me sad to read. I can only imagine how dreadful this couple must have felt if they read some of these comments. While I find it a strange concept to leave your kids with a stranger, I only find it strange because I don’t need to do it. It’s obviously something that there is a demand for. Why would it even exist as a business otherwise?
There is a conception that if you put details of your life online, then you deserve any criticism that comes to you. Well actually, this is nonsense. No one deserves the level of abuse that this couple received last night. Of course, people have the right to say what they want and to criticise and to disagree, but when this turns into disapproving abuse and aggressive attacks, then no.
People do NOT have the right to do that.
If you don’t like what someone writes, or what they share or what they say, unfollow, delete or ignore.
There’s no excuse for hateful comments and there’s no need for them. We should be lifting each other up, not putting each other down. As parents, we beat ourselves up enough don’t we? I know I do.
And someone else sticking the boot in is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.