OK mammas, let’s talk about bullying. But today I am not talking about bullying in our schools. I believe the problem lies much deeper than this. Let’s talk about mom bullying — mean moms. First off, I am the type of person more likely to be bullied than the bully. Why?! Well for several reasons. To start, honestly, I am just not that “cool kid,” and I never have been. I am more of an awkward dork that feels more comfortable being very open about my own faults. I kind of always felt like the quicker I was to point these out, maybe the less likely others would. Second, I am just not that witty, and third, I feel awful when I have hurt someone.
Now in the spirit of being honest about my own faults, I will admit I have definitely hurt people’s feelings before. I have put my foot inadvertently in my mouth more times than I can count; I have contributed to painful gossip, and I have both intentionally and unintentionally left someone out before. There are most definitely parts about myself that can be mean-spirited, jealous, and shallow. These are my least favorite parts. Therefore, I live a life where I attempt to live by the golden rule (albeit very imperfectly) and try to assume the best in others, even when I am scared to.
Lately, my heart has been aching. It aches when I get on Facebook and see the mean spirited political discourse. It twinges when I read hateful comments on blogs. It hurts when I know someone is being intentionally left out. It pains me when I see online mamma groups created for support turn into a zone of judgment. Basically, we just need to all do a whole lot better. If not for ourselves, at least for our children. We KNOW they will follow in our footsteps. They are already soaking up every ounce of us and are drenched in our tendencies, personalities, and moral compass.
Am I saying we cannot disagree with each other, whether it is in regards to parenting, politics, or general life opinions? Of course not! It is so important that everyone has a voice and that we are honest in our dissent. This is how we grow through each other. This is how change happens and we evolve. However, it feels there is something very different happening right now. We seem to have forgotten our way a bit. Hiding behind a keyboard and through group gossip, we are attacking each other in a very personal way. Not only is this completely ineffective, but it is just plain mean. Real empathy and change happens when we begin to open our hearts and minds up a bit and really listen to each other.
Mammas, is it too much to ask that we start right here, right now, and set an example for this world that seems to be growing more and more polarized on a daily basis? Whether we are talking about sleeping methods, work choices, feeding our babies, and discipline… Or whether we are discussing American politics… Can we remember our children are watching us? Can we remember that to disagree with a policy or a parenting method is very different than hurting or hating the person that holds that belief?
I appeal to you Mammas because most of us really are good people, that are trying to do the best we can… For the world, for ourselves, and for our children. I TRULY believe, even in today’s world, that for every one person acting like a *jerk (would love to use a different word here), there are ten people fighting the good fight, standing up for someone, and being a kind person. We all falter sometimes. We are so imperfect. Let’s focus on being even more mindful of how we communicate with one another and to one another, and always remember there is a human behind the other side of that keyboard and on the other end of that gossip. Bring each other up. It just feels better at the end of the day.