Enough already.

I know it shouldn’t bother me, but it does. When people use the internet as a weapon, it freakin chaps my ass, man. While almost all of the reactions to our Campaign for Judgment Free Motherhood were positive, some of the comments people made from behind the security of made-up usernames were just… mean.

Mean for the sake of being mean. And trust me, I’m not being a crybaby and I’m not saying people aren’t entitled to their own opinions because, HELLO, the whole point of this campaign is to LIVE AND LET LIVE, AMIRIGHT?

But this is bullying and bullying? I judge. I will judge the hell out of bullying. Guess what? It’s wrong and don’t do and just STOP IT NOW. Making snide, personal remarks about people – real people, people with families and feelings, people who make extra time to share their stories so that the rest of us may feel a bit less alone in this terrifyingly amazing journey of motherhood – does nothing but perpetuate the very thing we’re trying to end. It’s an attack and I do take it personally, because I love these women. I love how brave they are. I love how honest they are, how vulnerable, how generous, how accepting they are of not only me, but all of you.

Listen, these women have let me go on and on about my Audrey Audreying Around for months and months and continue to offer me nothing but support and a shoulder to fall asleep on.

They, along with all of you, are warriors. On the front lines every day, willing to take these cowardly and anonymous attacks because, even with those? It’s worth it. Getting the message out that it DOES NOT MATTER if you have one or ten kids, bottle or breastfeed, circumcise or don’t, cosleep, CIO, homeschool, are married, divorced, single, gay, straight, vaccinate late or give birth on your living room FLOOR, so long as we’re all focused on the same goal: to raise decent human beings.

And when I’m pacing the floor with my screaming, non-sleeping, binky-loving two-year-old at 3am? That means everything to me. So while they might let the nasty words of few roll off their backs because they know the rest of us get it, I am pissed. Maybe if I get a little sleep, it’ll matter less to me tomorrow, but today? I’m pissed.

So I encourage you. All of you. To take a second to think before you post a comment anywhere – Facebook, Twitter, a blog – and remember that there are respectful ways to disagree. You’re more likely to get your point across (if there is one other than being hurtful) by being kind than by being a jerk.

24 thoughts on “Enough already.

  1. I was talking with my best friends about our brothers. All three of these guys were bullies growing up. Same guy, different face. And now that we are adults, all three are worthless drunks living off of their moms. None have every really had a career or supported their children. We figured it was the simple fact that they’ve never bothered to work on themselves. While in school they never bothered to learn the material. They were only interested in bothering someone else. What happens when they get out of school and no longer have a captive audience, they begin to struggle. They usually don’t go for higher education. Go into low end work that doesn’t last. Quite frankly all they seem to be interested in learning is how to be an asshole. The world is full of assholes, not a big job market for more. Now they live with mom, because no one else can tolerate them. In a nut shell, the internet has given them a new captive audience to bully. They can’t help themselves. It’s all they’ve ever learned to do.
    Besides it’s so much easier to judge you than to look at myself. Less painful too.

  2. I think Michelle brings up an interesting point! I myself am not as compassionate always and do faulted under judgement. The issue arises with what is considered important or not important to judge. Some people could see circumcision as abuse like female circumcision (not saying I do) or that I let my child CIO caused brain damage? Where is the line?

    I have not been able to always reach the idea of full compassion but do agree that many people who are angry, viscous or evil none times out of ten need a hug the most.

    Thank you Michelle for showing me that u need to continue to try to not judge while I am telling others to not judge me 🙂 not easy but definitely thought provoking!

  3. I’ve found that people have lost their manners behind the shield of the internet. Like you said, it’s easy to say whatever you want when you can’t be held accountable for it. Awesome post Steph!

  4. Awww…steph. Perfect! You are right on the money. While I embrace acceptance and understanding, you better believe there are going to be occasions where I judge. For example, if someone intentionally brings peanut butter into my preschoolers classroom, I’m going to judge the shit out of that person, and more globally, if anyone ever does anything irresponsible toward my children or puts them in danger, it is my responsibility as a parent to judge that person. When we were at the NFL last week one of the overriding themes was that it is a parent’s responsibility to judge, question, investigate, and make certain that your children are safe. I believe that judgement is necessary in extreme situations. The biggest issue that I have with the ridiculous comments that were made toward the campaign are that they lacked any actual thought, dialogue or room for debate. They were completely unfounded. I think that positive things can bloom from differences if people are willing to participate in an open dialogue and are not cemented to the notion that their opinion is the right one.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Sarah, with you or with Stephanie. I commit to not judge other mothers/women (or really anyone) for stuff that doesn’t matter. I don’t care if you do or don’t breastfeed, circumcise, work in or out of the home, feed your kids organic or not, or any of these others kinds of things. That’s the kind of stuff that gets us fighting against each other instead of fighting for the stuff that really DOES matter. It DOES matter if people are bullies, online or in person. Calling them out as bullies does not mean that I wish them ill or don’t feel compassion for them, it just means that their behavior is wrong and it needs to stop. I judge people who are bullies because it DOES matter and it DOES hurt others, that’s the point of bullying.

      1. Yes, exactly this. I have no respect for someone who makes a ridiculous, cruel comment without putting some reasoning and analysis into the thought process behind it. Those comments constitute bullying, and it is perfectly ok to judge the bullies, as opposed to judging honest and sincerely held views based on differing world views and experiences.

      2. Can we please agree that it is OK for us to have different takes on this? I put myself out there knowing that my feelings are probably not going to be the most popular but we are each entitled to our own opinions. I didn’t mean to make anyone mad (it seems like some of your tones are that you are mad) and honestly it upset me to wake up this morning and feel like my point of view was being torn apart by my friends. I believe in universal compassion and for me that means I am choosing to try and not judge others, even those who hurt me etc. I’m not saying anyone else has to do that and I’m not saying others shouldn’t be held accountable for bad behavior. Just as I respect all of you, please offer me the same.

      3. I don’t feel like people are angry with you, but if they’re angry about the situation, I think that’s a fair emotion to have.

        To echo the entire motivation of our campaign, we all make different choices, right? I admire your ability to strive to be judgement free entirely. xo

      4. Michelle, I’m not mad, if you were referencing my comment above. No one is mad at you! I also don’t think anyone on here is disagreeing with you, though maybe I’m reading things differently. Hugs to you, mama.

  5. Steph I really appreciate your post and agree with most of it. I want to add though, that for me, judgement-free motherhood means not judging judgy moms too. Personally I think that people who judge others aren’t happy people. Remembering that they too, are human beings who likely have or are experiencing something negative in their own lives that has made them have such a negative view of other people/the world helps me to practice universal compassion. I’ve been on my own journey towards universal compassion for a while now and it is hard. It is challenging to open your heart to people that are mean to you, don’t value you and criticize. But it is worth it and I think is the only way to foster our own sense of inner peace and to end things like the mommy wars. I think every one is deserving of compassion, even if they do things we don’t like/agree with. That’s just my thought on this topic and again, I appreciate you and completely understand your point of view.

    1. Oh and I want to be clear that I’m not saying it’s awesome for people to judge, just that even those who do judge deserve our compassion too. 🙂

      1. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Michelle! While I agree with you on a higher level, I do think that people who are hurtful should not be allowed free reign to spew their venom all over the rest of us. We are doing a good thing here and although I don’t expect applause or even AGREEMENT, I do think it’s shitty when people hide behind a screen with the sole intent of bullying.

        I try to teach my children compassion and I think, for the most part, I set a decent example for them, but I will not ask them to tolerate being bullied or to stand by while others are being bullied.

        I do love the sentiment, though. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Indeed we are. 🙂

      2. Steph, I think you nailed it. The intent of the speaker matters. It’s one thing to have a debate or discussion, even a heated one, where two different moms have diametrically opposed viewpoints, but each can back up her statement from personal experience, fact-based analysis, or some other “here are the reasons why I think I’m right” factor. It can be not-so-nice, but it’s made in good faith. I think some of the comments we are seeing are not made from a place of differing views, but from a place of “I just want to hurt your feelings.” Kind of like the teenager who was calling Vivian nasty names in the Stew’s parking lot in her recent post. That sort of behavior is not offering an opinion or “judging.” It’s being a bully, and it’s wrong.

  6. Thank you and I hope that you all have a few more followers after I passed the Mommy Wars post around to everyone that I know. I talk to people everyday who judge me because I am not what they expect, yet that does not hurt nearly as much as the words about my qualities as a Mother. I am very good at beating myself up about things so really don’t need some cyberbully to do it too, and it hurts more when it is other moms who are doing it. Why would you say such hurtful things to your “sisters” Shame on you and I love your post!!! Steph. Thank you for being angry!!! P.S. I was up way too early this morning with my 18 month old, paci using, night time bottle using baby!!!! Here Here Sister!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Heather! And solidarity, sister! Here’s to hoping we get some good sleep tonight!

      1. Hoping to sleep well, but it is not going to stop me from going out with the ladies I work with!!! 4 Moms each with 2 kids, one mom to be with her first, and one single lady who is hoping that we don’t talk about child labor too much!!!!

  7. Steph, you have such a way with words. I love it! You seriously rock!
    Completely unrelated, but your profile pic of Audrey (?) made me smile. Crista was just here yesterday to take pics of Taylor and that hat is super special to me. Both Bree and Taylor wore it during their newborn shoot.
    Keep doing what you are doing, you and the other Mama’s on here are truly an inspiration!

  8. It makes me crazy to think that there are moms that judge other moms! We all went through a similar experience, we’re all trying to survive and thrive, and we don’t need the guilt of other mom’s added to what we already feel! All moms should try and support each other because we all love our kids, no matter what. Great article, and I couldn’t agree more!

  9. Well said. I couldn’t believe some of the comments people made about this and thought they were proving your point. Keep up the good work and take this as a chance to show others you are not hurt by what they have to say, but know you are doing what’s best for you are your family.

Share Some Comment Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s