On top of the insensitive comments from strangers and friends, I also brought a good amount of insecurity to the table. The society-conditioned voice in my head warned that I’d never be enough — I’d never be successful or happy or a good mom — if I deviated from the path of a typical educated 20-something.
And it crippled me.
I see the crippling effects on other women, as well. I see it in the emails I get from frantic, newly pregnant 20-year-olds who are terrified to tell their partners and family. I see it in the comments on EarlyMama.com — in the stories of isolation and cruel words. And more than that, I see it in the stereotypes that suffocate modern mothers, no matter the age or circumstance. We’re all judged for one thing or another. Each and every one of us.
Isn’t that insane? The older I get, the more I understand that my age was just an easy target for side-eye shade and gossip. And the Internet is a mecca of mean-spirited judgments — whether you breastfeed in public, bottle-feed an infant, use disposable diapers or cloth diapers or ANYTHING. There’s always someone, somewhere, willing to tell you that you’re wrong.
So now’s ’bout time to tell those people to stuff it.
It’s easy to sit behind a screen and tear someone down just to make yourself feel better. It’s EASY. It’s been done. By now, we know that “trolls” (those people who click-clack away at their keyboards, spewing hate) are the lowest Internet life form. By now, we can see through the mindless attacks and choose not to read it/believe it/care about it. But that doesn’t make the comments sting any less, potentially affecting every aspect of our lives — including our children. Insecurity and shame does nothing but cause more damage.
More than that, it’s time to use the Internet for all the good it possesses. Never has the world known such instant communication — an instant spreading of information and messages. Now that we’re all accustomed to this new virtual society, us Internet Content Makers have a responsibility to use this tool in a positive, helpful way.
And that’s exactly what the women behind CTWorkingMoms.com are doing. You might remember them from their “End the Mommy Wars” campaign that I featured here on Babble, but now they’re reaching even higher by teaming up with TheBump.com for an official Moms 4 Moms Day. (Seriously official! The Connecticut governor declared March 4, today, as Moms 4 Moms Day!)
Today is a day to celebrate mothers in every circumstance and situation. Several outlets — including @TheBump, @CTWorkingMoms, and @EarlyMama — will be sharing photos and messages with the hashtag #moms4moms, so keep an eye out for that.
And join in! Snap a photo of yourself holding a sign with a supportive message for other moms. (You can download free templates and signs, as well.) Share your photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to spread the message!
Help support moms today (and every day). Love more, judge less. In the end, it’ll help us all be better parents and people.