Since becoming a mom in a public arena, there’s some information that I have become privy to that I formerly had no idea about. There is an apparent epidemic of “social media foster parenthood” that takes place online between complete strangers and mothers who are actually physically raising their kids everyday. One of the beautiful things about social media is that it has united so many people who would normally not have the opportunity to interact. On social platforms, you can now connect instantaneously to people from across the country or across the globe. It’s a beautiful thing, but please believe it’s a blessing and a curse.
One of the detrimental things about social media is that it gives people a false sense of safety and protection with voicing negative opinions and feedback that they would normally keep to THEMSELVES if they were not protected by digital anonymity. Social media makes it very convenient for these people to hide behind computer screens, throw rocks and stones, and expect to have no real life repercussions. There is an EPIDEMIC of empowered and bold social “trolls” whose sole purpose is to point, judge and criticize with no intention of adding actual VALUE to conversations online. They literally just want to have something to say.
I had an unfortunate experience with someone like this over the weekend. A former Instagram follower (who has now been blocked #sorrynotsorry) felt it was appropriate to question my parenting skills and my judgment as a mother by pointing out that she felt my daughter’s hairstyle was too mature for her age. See Exhibit A below:
Mind you, this was AFTER she asked a very inappropriate question about my future plans to have children, so I already sensed this conversation was going left and I had stopped engaging with her at the point of her last communication to me. But THIS LAST ONE, I couldn’t let slide.
So here we are. In the fall of 2017, in the midst of a “social media foster parenthood” epidemic that has taken over the internet and has unfortunately been the cause of many an unsuspecting edge to be snatched. Because, be clear, I proceeded to snatch her edges after seeing this DM. And not in a mean or nasty way, but in a way that I HOPE prevents this woman from ever leaving an unwarranted comment like this on anyone else’s page. So given this unfortunate experience, I felt the need to create this blog post to share with you all the top 5 Reasons You Should Never Tell A Mommy How To Raise Her Kids On Social Media:
Social media is deceiving. You get a quick glimpse at someone’s life from their own beautifully filtered lens and suddenly you have this false sense of intimacy with them. You feel like you know them. In your head, you guys are besties. The 5% of their lives that they choose to show you is enough for you to think you know everything about them. Only to find out by some gossip thread or news report a year later that they are not in fact your BFF, but they are a serial killer or a credit card scammer now on their way to lockdown for unspeakable crimes. WAKE UP FOLKS. Things in your social media mirror are not as close as they appear. In fact, they are much farther away. You don’t know them. You don’t know their motivations, their back stories, their history. Often you don’t even know their in-person demeanor because you’ve never met them. I have met countless “social media stars” who are actually the exact opposite of their social media personalities in person. They have created FAKE internet personas. I kid you not. Bottom line – because you don’t know these people, your commentary is coming from a place of extreme bias and not objectivity. Solely because you don’t have all the facts.
2. It’s actually NONE of your damn business.
This one is self explanatory. It is not YOUR responsibility to police or manage a child that does not belong to you, from behind a mobile or desktop screen. God blessed someone with that child. It’s THEIR business to parent. Not yours.
3. You’re not paying that child’s bills.
To reiterate #2, the child is not your responsibility. Even grandmas and grandpas (as much as we love them), only get partial consideration when it comes to weigh-ins on how to raise the children. The ultimate decision lies in the hands of the two people who co-created this human being (or their legal guardians!) You, as an observer on social media, are not paying their school tuition, you’re not putting food on their table OR making sure their little butts don’t stink every morning. Therefore, my friends, your opinion doesn’t truly matter. You speaking up is just that. It’s you speaking. There’s no guarantee that any action will come of it, any responsibility taken or any true change in the rearing of the child will happen as a result of you saying anything. In fact, you’ll be so wrapped up in somebody else’s business next week, you won’t even REMEMBER the unwarranted advice you left for that parent. Just leave it alone. Keep scrolling.
4. Different strokes for different folks.
There is NO “right” or “wrong” in the world of parenthood. I’m a believer in that. There’s just you and me. We raise our kids different because we are different PEOPLE. We were raised differently. We have different life experiences. And that’s all the way OK. There is no guarantee that one child turns out better than the other, UNLESS you are factoring in behavior that puts a child in direct harm or danger – like physical abuse or gross negligence when it comes to safety. And even that can’t be appropriately captured in one image on Instagram or in a 15 second video on Facebook (see #1 – you’re getting 5% of 100). You will never know the full story unless you are there. When in doubt, refer to #2 above (it’s none of your damn business)
5. That’s what group chats are for.
Have an opinion? Think someone else with a similar mindset to yours will agree? Start you a group chat and go HAM. No harm no foul. I have plenty of group chats going with my besties – whether they’re my college buddies or my “new mommy” buddies. Social media has given us so many reasons to connect daily with our friends and family because there’s always something interesting happening. A funny meme, a little dog in full drag, a singing infant. The list goes ON! Have all the fun commenting and getting feedback on these things with your own circle. But by all means, do NOT subject some unsuspecting mother who is literally just trying to keep her kids alive and keep her edges laid to save her life, to your negative opinions about her parenting. It’s NOT necessary. And you may end up in her “block party” aka unable to contact her or see her content ever again because of your trigger fingers.
I have always tried, in this digital world, to live by the mantra “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That’s why I never post negative reviews of products or services on any of my channels. That’s why I hardly talk about things that make me angry, but instead try to focus on educating and inspiring with positivity. I encourage you all to do the same. Before you fix your fingers to type a comment on someone’s page, ask yourself “Am I adding value here? Is this positive? Is this going to bring love and light to the person who I’m interacting with.” If the answer is “no” to any of those questions, please reconsider. And take care, especially, if you’re about to leave that comment on the page of a mom. We already have enough of our own “‘mommy guilt” to deal with. We don’t need any of yours.
Thoughts? I’d love to hear your opinions (respectfully). Sound off below.