For almost 3 years, I’ve been a mom to a little girl. I had a few close calls. Not in that way, but yea, maybe in that way, too. There was the time a girlfriend dropped off a 2wk old baby to me and never came back when I was 21. There’s the time in 1999, I met a pregnant girl in the unemployment line and 24 hours later, I was delivering her baby at St Vincent’s hospital in NYC. I had the pleasure of watching a single dad and a single mom raise each of those kids and figure it out through trial and error. Sure, they made some missteps along the way, but both of those girls are still alive and breathing. I’d even go as far to say, those girls, now young women, are doing well.
Because it’s now 2013, I did what a lot of parents do, I joined online parenting groups. Correction. I joined online MOM groups, because dads certainly don’t need to crowd source raising children like moms do. In that two years, it’s amazed me how women have completely rejected the idea of listening to their gut and getting to know their kids in favour of asking a bunch of strangers who have never met you or your child at all and most importantly, are not professionals.
I do internet for a living. I love you, internet. You feed my family. But the internet has given mere mortals the power to dole out information to the general populations in attempt to pass off personal experience as proven scientific theory. Quite often, it’s been a frustrating but interesting ride, this online motherhood thing. I write off belonging to these groups as a virtual “it takes a village to raise a child” but when cultures and parenting styles clash, it doesn’t take much to make the trolls rear their ugly heads. THE SHADE of these groups. THE DRAMA. If someone is doing it different than you, you’re just wrong. The end. Pro-Tip: Every mom should be an expert in her own children, and not try to project her expertise on a child that is not hers. Can that just be a rule?
Can another rule be, if your child is an asshole, please don’t try to give me any parenting tips? #kthxbai
It really baffles me how moms opt to forego advice from doctors and elaborate scientific research and choose instead to put the life of their child in the hands of these communities who neither have the time (as mothers,) nor the background to digest and analyse the complex studies. Or defer to a few fear-based YouTube videos or even worse, celebrities. (I’m talking to you Jenny McCarthy.)
Lastly, these groups as therapy. So much complaining. So much, my “DH didn’t do this.” “My MIL did that.” “Some stranger questioned this about my parenting.” COMMISERATE WITH ME. I stand by and watch women enable each other and say “YOU GO GIRL! FUCK ALL OF THEM. US AGAINST THEM!” Instead of saying, “How about this? Give yourself a break. This is your kid, you’re doing it the way you want to. What someone else says doesn’t really matter. And when someone says something dumb to you. Laugh. It’s worked for me.”
So, moms. Ease up on the key board and the internet. Raise your kids the way our parents raised us. Without over-analysing every little thing and start listening to our kids and our doctors. Get off Youtube and go to a park. It’s a lot more fun to play with our kids IRL than chat with a bunch of moms online. Promise.