I’ve been writing on the internet for a long time. I see the internet as a great place—I’ve been able to make friends with some amazing people all around the world and it’s provided me with an opportunity to help make an income for my family as I share stories through my freelance writing. So I'm beyond thankful for the internet!
But, like all things, there’s an ugly side to this wonderful invention.
For some, the internet seems to be a place where they can air all of their opinions in the most nasty way possible. Maybe it’s the anonymity of sitting behind a computer screen, but people have said things to me through the comment section of an article that I’m sure they'd never have the nerve to say to my face.
It’s OK, I can handle it. I've always had thick skin and am confident in my choices as a mother, so most of the time the opinions of strangers don’t bother me. But sometimes I come across a real doozy of a snarky comment and I can’t even believe that an actual person typed out those thoughts. I get that we all parent differently and putting my stories out there gives people free range to comment, but some of them are truly ridiculous.
So here we go, here are some of the reasons the internet thinks I’m the worst mom ever!
1. I chose to formula-feed my daughter. I know, I know. This is a BIG deal for some people. Listen, I breastfed my son and I understand all the benefits, but when my daughter was born, I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. And so I weaned her from the breast as soon as possible and gave her formula. I wrote an article about it and wow! One commenter said that “clearly” my son was my favorite child and I must not love my daughter. What a dumb thing to say. My son is not my favorite child, at least not this week. My favorite child is whoever isn’t giving me a hard time at the moment. Whoever is listening and being sweet to me, that’s my favorite kid. The one throwing a tantrum on the floor, that one can go find a new family. (Before I get comments about that, I’m only kidding.) By the way, my daughter is three now and she’s perfect. Hey, at least I fed her something!
And I’m certainly not going to apologize for having a life outside of my children.
2. I sent my kids to preschool. You would think school = prison the way some people reacted to this article. How dare I leave my children in the loving care of qualified professionals while I attempt to get some work done and grocery shop in peace! How dare I give them the opportunity to interact and socialize with other children! How dare I allow someone else to teach them colors and shapes and letters! Someone call the Department of Children and Family Services because I must be a really bad mom to put my kids through that torture.
3. My kids have chores. Seriously. I didn’t see this one coming. I really thought other moms would appreciate my philosophy that everyone who lives in a home must contribute to the keeping of the home. I’m not trying to raise entitled, spoiled children. So yes, when they take their toys out I make them put them all back when they’re done playing. And when they’re done eating they take their plates to the sink. It’s not that crazy. My kids are not like Little Orphan Annie. I do the big chores, but that doesn’t mean they get to sit around with no responsibilities. Their future spouses will thank me for raising adults who know how to clean up after themselves.
4. I sometimes let my kids sleep in my bed. It’s definitely not an every night kind of thing, but every once in a while my son will have a nightmare and want to snuggle with mom and dad in bed. No, my marriage is not ruined. Yes, somehow my husband and I still find ways to have sex. Yes, my son is a mama’s boy…but he’s also four years old. Will he grow up totally messed up for life? Eh, maybe, maybe not. I really don’t think so, though. But if he does, I’ll be sure to pay for his therapy bills. Surely at least that will take me out of the running for worst mom ever, no? The thing is, my son knows he is loved and that we are there for him no matter what is going on or what ungodly hour he wakes us up, so I really don’t see why everyone gets up in arms about this one.
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5. I take time for myself away from my kids. I’m not backing down from this one, folks. I’ve written several times about how moms are not martyrs and there’s nothing selfish about self-care. For some reason other moms have felt it necessary to bash me because I don’t give up every moment of my day to be with my kids. Before I was a mom I was me. I had interests and hobbies and regular hair salon visits. Of course, after having children I’ve had to adjust much of my life and make sacrifices. I don’t regret any of that for a moment, but I’m also not going to lose myself. And I’m certainly not going to apologize for having a life outside of my children. I really doubt going to yoga or getting my hair done qualifies me for the worst mom ever award. If anything I’m sure my kids appreciate that I take the time to de-stress so I can come home refreshed and ready to play.
I think moms of the internet need to take a breath. Live and let live. Agree to disagree. I trust that you know how to be the best mom to your kids and hopefully you can trust that I know how to be the best mom to my kids. Let’s be kind to each other on this crazy journey we’re all on. Remember our kids are watching and I hope they learn from us how to be kind and gracious rather than vicious and mean.