My colleague Danielle had a lousy dinner out with her husband recently.
The service was terrible, the food was bad, and worst of all, her kids were a disaster. They crawled under tables, threw food on the floor and attracted the hostile attention of onlookers. Onlookers who, like they so often do, did nothing to help but just glared at Danielle like it was her fault her kids are acting like all young children do.
I have so been there. Danielle, first off I’d like to share with you some of the best parenting advice I have ever gotten. The magic secret to taking a baby or young child to a restaurant is simple: don’t.
Restaurants are, for the most part, terrible environments for kids. They’re expected to do a whole lot of things little kids don’t do well, under a lot of social pressure, while mom and dad are distracted by trying to enjoy their own meal. My husband and I have been much happier since we started ordering take-out and enjoying date nights at home after the kids go to bed.
But this post isn’t really about that. It’s about the comments Danielle got when she blogged about it.
Total strangers felt perfectly comfortable telling her to get her tubes tied because she was frustrated by her kids’ antics at dinner. For real? Back off, people.
It seems like the Internet has been in a mood lately. This month I’ve gotten a record number of nasty comments telling me I should a) quit my day job and b) be relieved of custody of my kids. I don’t think my blogging has suddenly gotten a lot worse. This is happening to other bloggers, too. I think people are just in an angry headspace.
Which is a shame. If we all lightened up on each other, we’d have better blogs. People would feel more comfortable sharing the messy, intimate details of our lives with each other. We’d have more chances to read about our fellow parents’ experiences and know we’re not alone. I loved reading Danielle’s story and identifying with the frustration of a mom whose preschooler just will not do as he’s told.
It begs a question every parent with a blog (or a Facebook account) has to answer though. How honest are you going to be about your kids? None of us have perfect little angels. Our kids drive us nuts sometimes. Will you share those dark moments, or will you keep it private?
The more we share, the more we can support each other. At the same time, there’s a line none of us want to cross between venting about the frustration of parenting and actually bashing on our kids. I don’t think Danielle crossed it with her post, but some commenters did.
For myself, I try never to write anything I wouldn’t want my kids to read. I never want to make a post that encourages readers to side with me against the kids. My kids are awesome, and I’m perfectly imperfect.As I was just saying in my own post about yelling at my kids.
The real problem here seems to be the intolerance and harsh judgment of commenters. I know, I know, it’s the Internet, don’t read the comments. But blogging is all about conversation with readers. Just like bloggers owe it to ourselves and our readers to treat everyone with respect, commenters would do well to do the same.