So. That last post I wrote here? That was really freeing to put together and publish. It’s not like it was full of Deep Shameful Seekrits or anything — I’m sure I’ve mentioned supplementing and Ferber along with breastfeeding and co-sleeping, but still.
The Internet is weird.
I posted a photo of Ike in his Baby Jail on Instagram a few weeks ago, and another mom lamented that oh! She had the same thing! And loved it! But had stopped posting pictures of it online after getting scolded on Facebook by the dreaded Sanctimommies.
And at first I was like, WHAT? Seriously? We’re getting bitchy about play yards now? About having a safe spot to put our crawlers/cruisers/walkers while we go to the bathroom or get our other kids dressed or I DON’T KNOW GOD FORBID CHECK FACEBOOK?
And then, two seconds later, I was like, yeah. I’m not surprised. Of course we’re bitchy about play yards now.
I remember taking a picture of something once (for my blog) and then noticing that a container of Similac was in the frame, and I was like, ugh, I don’t feel like getting comments about that. So I pushed it six inches to the left and re-took the shot. And then I felt kind of fake. Like was I ashamed of the formula? The thing I depended on to fully nourish my baby? Like I felt the need to pretend that I bounced back from low supply problems with my first child and never, ever experienced them ever again and so can you!!! you just need to try!!!1! Was I not “mom enough” to come out and admit that I haaaaaate pumping and am soooooo much happier since letting go of my maniacal need to MAKE ALL THE MILK?
(Dear Self: Nobody cares about your boobs that much. They mostly just want you to knock it off with the Carrie Bradshaw rhetoricals already.)
I’ve never parented without the Internet, which is a strange thought. I’d been brazenly and shamelessly blogging my life and times for two years before even having a baby, and been reading other people’s blogs about their lives and times and parenting experiences for even longer. On the one hand: AWESOME. The support! The connections! The virtual village of shared experience and wisdom and advice!
On the other hand: I’ve always — ALWAYS — been acutely aware of a cloud of judgment hanging over everything I do. Unwanted assvice from every side. What!? You had a c-section? Probably because you took the epidural. Breastfeeding isn’t going well? Probably because you’re not doing <insert random obvious thing that of course I tried>. You’re starting solids WHEN? You’re taking the baby WHERE? Dressed like HOW?
And on and on it goes, both the well-intentioned and the purposely hurtful. How much simpler must it have been to not have the outside world peeking in, leaking around the edges, in the form of blogs and Facebook feeds and links to “parenting experts” on Twitter and comment sections and just somehow knowing the deeply-held opinions of hundreds of thousands of strangers across the world? Somehow knowing that someone, somewhere, is utterly convinced that you are DOIN IT WRONG.
Whatever, I say to myself, when it happens, and when I feel it shaking my confidence. To thine own self (and children) be true. People can disagree and think what they want. They don’t really know me and my family, even if they think they do. That person missed the sarcasm, misinterpreted my words, read a post where I expressed myself badly. If they met me, we’d probably get along. They’d see that we’re not all that different.
And then I move the container of formula six inches to the left because ugh, I really don’t feel like getting comments about that.
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