Mel Watts is an Australian mom blogger who tells things exactly like they are on her blog, The Modern Mumma. Whether she’s revealing what a body looks like after baby or exposing the truth of how a marriage changes after kids, we admire the hilarious and totally candid nature that Mel takes with her approach to motherhood and marriage. But not everyone feels the same way.
After one of her recent Facebook posts about having a quickie with her husband went viral, Mel encountered a rash of criticism and nastiness from online trolls — most of which were moms themselves — which led her to a shocking revelation: When it comes to bullying, it’s really moms that are the problem, not kids.
“For a very long time I have seen huge amounts of money and resources going in to teach our children about bullying. I think the actual problem isn’t our children. It’s the parents,” she says during an emotional video titled, “Going viral isn’t all that. Keyboard warriors & keyboard trolls you won,” posted on her Youtube channel Mel & Nolan.
After reading “hundreds of horrible things” about herself — from one user accusing her of humiliating her husband and another claiming that she was raped because she was having sex with her husband when she wasn’t in the mood — she can’t understand why people are so damn mean.
“I’m a good wife, and I’m a really good mother. And most of all, I’m a really good friend. I would do anything for people,” she says. “And I don’t understand how people can say this kind of stuff and be so nasty to people they don’t even know.”
Though I am aware that bullying does take place between children, I agree with Mel that mom-on-mom bullying is completely out of control. And no one understands the extent of it quite like mom bloggers and writers, whose job is to open up about the good, as well as the bad and ugly, trivialities of motherhood.
A few months back I wrote an article titled “I’m an Alcoholic and Drug Addict, and I’m Not Going to Hide It from My Kids.” In it, I was open and honest about my past struggles with alcoholism, discussing how I want my children to understand my past mistakes so that I can celebrate my double-digit sobriety with them. For whatever reason, it made some people really, really mad. I was told by strangers “I failed” my children, that “God shouldn’t let” people like me have them in the first place, and CPS should “take them away.” People tweeted to me that I was “disgusting,” “despicable,” and a “joke of a person.”
While I have to assume that many of those ignorant trolls didn’t even take the time to read the article before commenting on social media, and were merely reacting to a headline they didn’t understand (in recovery, no matter how long we are sober, we still refer to ourselves as alcoholics and drug addicts and never say that we have “recovered”), the comments nonetheless stung like a yellow jacket.
I have been slammed for several stories, ranging from comedic pieces about stupid things my husband and I argue about (we should get divorced, because other couples NEVER disagree on things) to my experience of falling in love with my current husband while I was single and pregnant (I was just looking for a meal ticket, because I’m a lazy gold-digger, don’t you know?).
Like Mel, I noticed that most of the comments were not from men or single women, but from other moms. I like to call them the “parenting police,” because they seem so concerned with “arresting” and putting other moms in their place for these so-called parenting “violations.” They’re also out in full-force in various online mom groups, where the number of rules administrators are forced to post parallel that of a maximum security prison.
So I wonder, why are kids so nasty these days? Hmm, maybe they are getting it … from their moms?!
Mel, those trolls clearly haven’t won, because you are calling them out. As long as you continue to write your beautiful, truthful, and honest words about being a perfectly imperfect parent that SO MANY women around the world need to read, they are losing big time. They are sitting in front of their computer, miserable and repressed, taking out their aggression about their miserable lives on you instead of being brave enough to deal with their own crap. I am pretty confident that the number of women you are helping far surpasses those you are offending.
I guess it boils down to this: there have always been bullies and there always will be. But as mothers, we have to keep on doing our thing, no matter what nasty things others have to say.
That’s how we can teach our children that bullies never win.More On