I have noticed on social media lately there’s been a lot of ‘Mummy Shaming’. This shaming isn’t exclusive to popular motherhood accounts or bloggers; it seems shaming is become a popular way of interacting with any account on social media, whether you have a big following or not. Positive and encouraging comments on someones posts or photos is becoming rare. There seems to be an increasing number of ‘trolls’ typing nasty things on people’s accounts. Some may believe that negative comments are part and parcel of sharing your life on a social platform, or if you decide to openly publicise something about yourself, you are indeed opening yourself up to both positive and negative comments. I have read comments from people who type negative material stating they are allowed to have an opinion and are openly displaying that in a public scenario. They ARE entitled to have their opinion, however to who and how is this negative ridicule beneficial?
Shaming and bullying does not benefit anyone. It only serves as a poor reflection of the person on the other side of the keyboard, not the person in the firing line. The person on the receiving end of the ridicule isn’t a better person for reading it, it doesn’t give them a thicker skin or teach them a lesson. Negative comments or trolling doesn’t benefit either party; it’s just down right nasty and unnecessary. Ridicule only highlights the flaws and problem of the person doing the typing. I’m sure if the boot was on the other foot, these ‘trolls’ would feel horrible reading the same comments directed at their lives or families.
Now, I am sure at some point I have spoken negatively about another mother for the way she parents – I will be the first to put my hand up and say I am guilty for this in the past. I used to scroll through social media and judge other mothers, solely based on the square photo on my phone screen, somehow thinking this one photo allowed me to know everything about that particular person. I also used to judge mothers before I even had children – like I was such an expert on parenting and knew what was best for their family. I had to ask myself – how did this negativity benefit my life? I didn’t feel better about myself for comparing my life with someone I didn’t know. It didn’t make me a better person for judging someone else. It also didn’t stop the person I was judging from posting the content they wanted – ultimately it’s their account and they can post what they please. I CHOSE to follow this person.
I have learnt to celebrate our differences as mothers and parents. Different family dynamics, cultures and personal upbringing contribute to the way parents want to raise their children. I cannot sit here and declare my way of parenting is the best way for everyone, yet I can say with all certainty that the way my husband and I parent our children is the best or our family. So if I begin to see myself judging another parent, I follow this mantra- If their child(ren) is happy, healthy and thriving, they’re a good parent. If they parent their child(ren) with love and respect, they’re a good parent. If they nurture their child(ren) in a safe and secure environment, they’re a good parent.
Unfortunately, even if you are a good mother, you cannot please everyone – people will find something they do not agree with, which is just human nature. You cannot live your life or parent to please everyone you come across. That would just be stressful and an expectation you would never meet.
So I ask you to do something after you finish reading this blog post. If you are on social media and see something you do not agree with, keep scrolling or unfollow. Keep the negative comments to yourself and only follow content which inspires you, motivates you or makes you happy. I also ask you to unfollow me if you do not like what I post or the content in my blog. If what I write offends you or isn’t something you don’t want to see, please feel free to remove me from your feed. I unfollow or scroll past things I do not like, too. I have friends and family who have unfollowed me since I started this blog, which I am seeing as more of a positive than a negative now. I would much rather someone not follow me than say negative things towards me. I want to be followed by people who are interested in myself and my family and enjoy what they read on my blog. I began Raising Wildlings for this exact reason – to meet and engage with other like-minded mothers who want to support one another through the joys and challenges of parenthood. I follow accounts which I enjoy and am interested in. When I look through my feed I don’t want to feel angry, frustrated or bored by what I see – I want to engage with the people who engage with me.
The phase I was taught as a child still resonates with me today – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. If you do not like something on social media, you have the choice to scroll past or remove that person from your feed. Being a keyboard warrior does not benefit you or the person in the firing line, it just frankly makes you look bad. Let’s keep our social media platforms full of support, understanding and good vibes only. Swap the eye roll emojis or toxic words for the unfollow button. Understand that you do not know what is happening in this person’s life, apart from what they post. We all like to post the best things about ourselves, and are reluctant to post about our battles or more personal issues. Understand that the mother(s) you are following is/are posting what they WANT you to see – there’s a lot that they don’t wish to share with you too.
Keep you heads held high ladies, you’re doing a great job!
Jaimie Orchard xx