If you spend any amount of time on the internet these days, you will no doubt run into some kind of ‘mommy judging’. One mom making passive aggressive comments to another mom about how she is letting her kid play, sit, stand, eat, be…
The other day I had the privilege of someone extended their ‘concern’ over something they saw on my Instagram feed. Now, if you know me in real life you’d know I’m kind of a firecracker. I am open-minded, give my opinion (usually when asked) and have no problem putting someone in their place. The internet’s a different story. It’s a big world, with bullies hiding behind keyboards and iPhones, and if comes down to a war of words, I’ll lose… every time. Plus, it’s just not worth the time.
But it urked me. What got under my skin wasn’t her ‘concern’ for my daughter. What got to me was the passive aggressive comments she felt so inclined to add, suggesting that I was being a lazy parent and was putting my daughter in harm’s way.
I realize making your IG feed public encourages people to comment, and sometimes those remarks aren’t the nicest thing in the world, but as someone put it the other day, when you share your life – in pictures or in words – it’s like inviting them into your home. It’s an invitation, and they are the guest. Obviously some people wouldn’t agree.
Not only that, but Instagrams and any pictures for that matter, document literally fractions of a second of our lives. How naive to make broad statements on a snapshot of what you think you are seeing.
I would have actually appreciated a concerned comment, because let’s face it – I don’t know everything about raising babies and probably never will. I feel like I am the student, and my kids are the teachers most days. For example, Joseph was seven or eight months before I knew you aren’t supposed to be giving babies honey until well into the toddler years. Not that I ever did but I definitely felt a sense of relief when someone just happened to share that with me.
But the self-righteous comments, well they make me want to hurl. Because to a mother that KNOWS what it’s like first hand to lose your child to circumstances beyond your control, you can rest assured that she is doing everything in her power to keep from losing the children she has left to something she could possibly prevent.
When you tell a loss mom how she needs to be more careful doing XYZ… trust me, she knows.
When you tell a loss mom you wouldn’t want him to get hurt, or worse, doing this or that… trust me, she knows.
When you imply that she isn’t spending enough time with her kids because she needs to make an income… trust me, she knows.
When you tell a loss mom that time flies, and one day you will wish they were this little again… trust me she knows. She will always be wishing the child she lost got to be all these amazing ages.
When you patronize a loss mom by sharing how unimagineable it would be to lose her child over something in her parenting skills you happen to disagree with… trust me, she knows. She lives the unimagineable everyday.
Mommy judging is pitiful when it’s not dealing with bereaved parents, but it is downright insulting to the parent that has lost a child. Can’t we all use a little more encouragement anyway? Raising babies is hard work as it is. Raising babies after losing a child is even harder.
Be gentle with your words. Spread love. You never know what the person on the other side has been through.
Franchesca Cox is the founder of Still Standing Magazine. She is currently seeking her Master’s in Occupational Therapy, a yogi and author of Celebrating Pregnancy Again and Facets of Grief, a creative workbook for grieving mothers. Learn more about her heartwork on her website.