The catty girls in the cafeteria may not change much at all when they grow up–sometimes they evolve into those malicious moms that post outrageous comments about parenting online. Yeah, we all know them. Those nasty, know-it-all virtual finger-pointers whose judgmental slurs are giddily delivered as a verbal bitch slap to their intended target–other moms.
Good Morning America’s Juju Chang gathered together a trio of experts to pick their brain on this issue: Romi Lassally of TruuMomConfessions.com, Beth Feldman of RoleMommy.com and psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor.
All three pros were quick to acknowledge that while there are plenty of blog posts and comments that are positive, anonymity can bring out the worst in people. Anti-bottle feeding proponents may not be as apt to sound off if the offender is perched nearby, Similac in hand. But if the veil of anonymity is lowered? Observations can get nasty–really nasty. Lassally points out that of the over one million confessions posted on TruuMomConfessions, about 20% can’t be published because the writers get so vicious, they become “downright dirty”.
The reason for such behavior is another story. It’s no secret that moms today are under a lot of pressure and no doubt everyone has a bad day, but Taylor feels that a percentage of people are “just flat-out negative nasty moms”. Bearing children doesn’t automatically make you a nice person. Top that off with a mob mentality that can be just as alluring as it was in middle school. Once one opinionated loudmouth posts a negative comment, odds have it that it will be followed by another and another until the whole conversation snowballs into one big mom-on-mom bully fest.
And make no mistake, it is bullying. According to Taylor, any time force is involved physically or verbally and the intent is to make someone hurt, then yup, make no mistake, it’s the B word.
Lassally feels that the viciousness stems from judgment…and insecurity. Haughty, unreasonable comments–especially on hot button issues like breast-feeding, co-sleeping and spanking–may result from a fear that they’re not doing it right.
“We think if someone’s doing it differently…maybe we’re doing it wrong.”
So if you find yourself quick to dash off negative barbs to people you don’t know, a little self-analysis might be in order. Taylor believes that we are what we are. “We take our offline personalities online.”
And if you’re the victim of a mean mom? Heed Beth Feldman’s advice:
“Take it with a grain of salt or ignore it. Because if you let it eat at you, it’s just going to make you miserable.”
Here’s Juju’s interview: