On Monday night, I watched the Bachelorette’s Men Tell All episode. (I also totally realize you may have officially lowered your opinion of me now that you know that I watch said show.) Anyway, it’s always one of my favorite episodes because you get to see the contestants get “real” about their season, ask questions, and hopefully get some closure. Monday’s episode took an interesting turn that I have never seen before, and it really struck a chord with me.
Midway through the show, the bachelorette Kaitlyn was brought out. Now, I will be honest and say she has made some decisions I personally wouldn’t make, but that’s her prerogative and she seems like a very nice (and pretty funny) person. Chris Harrison started talking to her about some of the decisions she has made on the show, and then the topic turned to how hateful some of the viewers have been. My ears immediately perked up when the began talking about remarks made to Kaitlyn on social media, and my heart immediately went out to her.
There were people tweeting to her calling her a whore, cursing at her, and telling her she needs to die. To DIE people! How AWFUL is that? I immediately got a pit in my stomach as I watched tears well up in this poor girls eyes. Kaitlyn went on to say that she has gotten death threats, and one of the most hateful of the messages read out came from a mother. Kaitlyn was so shocked, and didn’t understand why someone would spread such hate that has a child….how is this mother any better for teaching her child how to hate with the way she was talking to Kaitlyn?
Oh my friends, this hits so, SO close to home for me. I have been blogging over five and a half years now, and have gotten my fair share of hateful comments, emails, tweets, and the like. I absolutely do not expect everyone to like me, read my blog, or agree with me, (it would be WEIRD if you did!) but I DO expect people (especially MOTHER’S for crying out loud!) to show some respect, kindness, and compassion. Saying something hurtful then disguising it as “I have a right to my opinion” isn’t nice either. Just because you CAN say something, doesn’t always mean you should.
It seems like the majority of the hate I have gotten has come since having my baby, and is directed at my parenting style. Why? I am honestly wanting to know why? For some unknown to me reason, mothers have this way of directly or passive aggressively making other moms feel bad about their parenting decisions, and it’s really not cool.
Unfortunately, I feel like most of the hate comes from insecurity, jealousy, and anger in a mother’s own lives, and I really and truly just want to give you a big hug. I will admit, my initial reaction is often anger. What did I personally do to you to deserve this? Why are you wasting precious time you could be spending with your own kids, writing me hate mail? Do you honestly CARE about what I do and don’t do with my child, or does it just make you feel better about yourself to make me feel bad?
But once I get over that initial anger, I truly feel sorry for you. Sorry that you have so much anger in your life that you need to blow off steam on someone, and obviously don’t have that outlet. Sorry that your three kids being home with you all day drives you insane but you feel too guilty to admit you really need a break from them. Sorry that you wish you could afford to stay home with your kids and you feel guilty because you don’t get to spend enough time with them. Sorry that you don’t have any family nearby so you never get to go on date nights or vacations. Mostly, I am sorry that you feel so alone with no one to discuss this with in a healthy (aka not bashing people online) way.
I wish I could just talk to you over coffee, and find out what I could do to help. I want to find out why it bothers you so much that I formula fed my baby after a month of unsuccessful breastfeeding. I want to find out why the fact that I travel for work and leisure and leave her with her very capable grandparents for a few days makes you so angry that you leave passive aggressive comments about it on my blog. I want to find out what I have personally done to make you lash out, and get to the root of the problem.
I so, so wish that moms would be more encouraging and compassionate. We know how HARD raising kids can be, so instead of pointing the finger and declaring that what someone else did as “wrong” why not be sympathetic? Aren’t we all trying to strive toward a common goal? To raise these tiny humans to be happy, healthy, and the best that they can be? I don’t know what is going on in your life behind closed doors just as you don’t know what is going on in mine. I am working really hard to never try to measure someone else’s pain. Just because I find a tough situation “not that bad”, doesn’t mean it’s easy for someone else to deal with. None of us really know what others are going through.
I know it’s so easy to read a blog or an Instagram profile and feel like someone else has it “easy”, or is “lucky”, but just remember, you may not know the whole story. You may not know that a mom who formula feeds her baby would love to breastfeed but can’t due to a medical issue. You may not know that a mom who puts her kids in full time daycare needed to do so because she struggles with postpartum depression. You may not know that frequently traveling out of town is part of the job, and bills have to be paid.
Everyone is going through their own stuff y’all. Trials will always come, and I thank the Lord that He is there with me every step of the way because I can’t do it on my own. I pray that every hard time that comes will turn into a learning experience and an opportunity for me to grow and be better. I have made many many mistakes in my life, some even involve being rude to people online, and I will totally own it. The key is in the learning. I have grown up and hopefully am making better, kinder decisions every day.
If you don’t like my blog, that’s fine, and I am ok with that! No one is forcing you to read it (I hope!) I really don’t want you wasting your time reading something that you don’t like, what fun is that? I know what I have to say is not for everyone, and that’s ok, too. I do want one thing though, I want us to all step back, and take a deep breathe. Before you hit the “submit” button on a Facebook status, blog comment, or tweet, just think about what you are writing. Re-read it. Can anything you are saying come across wrong, rude, mean, or passive aggressive? Is your comment going to genuinely HELP the person or tear them down? Is what you are about to say something that you would want a stranger saying to your child online? (that one gets me to stop and think every time!) Just be careful. be kind.
If we all took the hate and anger and disagreements we have with people, and instead of commenting online about it would say something nice or beneficial, this world would be a better place and we could hopefully get a handle on cyber bullying.
In closing and thinking back to the show, I hope that Bachelorette Kaitlyn realizes she has worth and value aside from what the people on social media said about her, and I hope YOU realize that you have value, too. If you ever need to chat, vent or cry, my door is open fellow mom, blogger, woman, or reader. I’m here, and I won’t judge. Life is hard, and we all need a cheerleader sometimes.
The mommy wars are sickening. Thankfully in my person non-online life, I’d say at least 90% of the moms I know are respectful and compassionate. It takes a village, and it’d be awesome if the villagers supported each other even when they didn’t agree with one another.
Bridie Rist says
I think the “cloak” of social media brings this out in more people. Yes, there are some who would be that rude to your face. But most would not be brave enough. Behind the safety of a username people feel free to share their opinion, and feel that they have that “right.” Let me tell you it is even scarier knowing that my child (he’ll always be my baby buy apparently I’m not allowed to call him that anymore) is soon going to enter this social media world. If you think moms are mean, be glad you don’t have many teenagers reading your blog. Thanks for this post…I’m going to have another dicussion with my son about bullying and self-worth. I wish that the bully’s parents would have a similar talk.
I really hate it for these kids that have to deal with it, and the “big kids” (adults) who don’t ever learn and who continue to do it. What are they teaching their children? To be hateful and mean?
Joy Hargraves says
Melanie A says
So very well said!
Amen. Life is short and we each have our own hard. We should just support each other.
The mommy wars are real and heartbreaking. We’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we have available. And that “best” is different for everyone. EK seems to be thriving, so you’re doing something right. It’s easy for someone who doesn’t put themselves out there publicly (such as me) to say “ignore it”, but I’d imagine that’s pretty hard to do when these words come straight to your inbox. But I promise you have no judgment from me, and I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. Big internet hugs, mama. You’re doing just fine! 🙂
Thanks so much! Some days it does sting, then my friends and family remind me that it is just a very small vocal minority and are just sad hateful people. I do wish they would find help though so they wouldn’t be so angry.
Sally Vetorino says
Couldn’t agree more!!!! Everyone has to do what it best for them and their family! End of story, no need to judge. And what is good for me may not work for someone else. I have 3 girls, 16,10, and 8. So yup, i get it, not to the extent of it coming to my email, which it just cowardly. I have to take a break I love my kids, more then anything but I look forward to my weekend a way once a year. So you are doing great, I found your blog by chance a couple years ago and I love it!
Thanks so much for reading! Wow 3 girls! You are so right, people may do things different than me but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.
My mouth was literally hanging open when Chris read those tweets! People can be so hateful and rude!
I know ;(
It’s disheartening to see all this in society these days. Between social media and politics, it’s difficult to find a rational conversation.
True story. There are some days I just get off of social media all together.
Thanks for such a thoughtful post. We all just do the best we can and no one should feel like they can really judge someone else without living in their shoes. Don’t read comments on GOMI or other hateful sites – I stumbled upon that accidentally while searching the Internet and wow, those people love to just tear others down. I have enjoyed reading your posts about monmyhood and hope you continue despite the mean comments every now and then. I also just signed up for my first Disney race (Princess half) based in part upon your great reviews so thanks!!
I stopped reading those sites years ago, I refuse to waste my precious time on that garbage. So much more to life!
You are going to have a blast at Princess!
Kaitlin C says
Well said Heather!
The Internet can be a dark and awful place, I’m sorry that people behave the way they do towards you (or anyone who chooses to share their story online).
To use the excuse of “you put yourself out there, you should expect to be judged” is such backwards, flawed, damaged thinking… No. I should expect people to behave in a sane, compassionate, open way. Why do we have to be so cynical?
That said, you’re right. I am judging you for watching Bachelor/Bachelorette. Come on. It’s a show where you win a PERSON…
Hugs to you, Bobby and EK.
LOL I literally laughed out loud at your “you win a person” comment. I love that phrasing!
Mindy @ Road Runner Girl says
What an amazing post Heather! Women need to lift each other up…not bring each other down!
Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie says
Can I just like this blog post about a million times please?? You said everything I feel on this topic, but with so much more eloquence! I have never understood how people feel they have the right to say whatever the heck they want just because they are behind the mask of a keyboard.
It’s sad really that some people have such a strong desire to tear others down. They are clearly unhappy with life and it makes me sad for them.
So well said! People will always have their opinions.. It is up to us to overlook the negative ones.
Yup. Banning IP addresses and that spam folder are a beautiful thing!
Larisa Dixon says
Great post and good for you for not hiding from all the negative BS people write. We all need to take a stand and help lift others up. I try to ignore all the negative stuff I see, because frankly its not worth my time and effort to acknowledge it. Im a mom of 3 and have left my kids with my parents for work and vacations since they were born and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. You keep doing what you do. Stay awesome!
Kathryn @ Dancing to Running says
Why can’t more people live by what Thumper’s mom said in Bambi: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
So beautifully said! Your story about your struggles with breastfeeding, and women making remarks about formula feeding really hit home for me. I was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer last year and opted to have a bilateral mastectomy (at 29!). I chose this knowing that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed my children, but I would at least have the opportunity to have children. I began reading more about women who are disparaged for formula feeding, and I’m afraid that I will have to spend a lot of energy reliving this incredibly stressful and emotional time every time I have to explain to some judgmental person why I use formula. Why can’t mothers and women, and people in general, support each other and love each other?
I am so sorry to hear about the decision you had to make, but you are so right, having kids at all is more important than the formula/BF debate! I hope people are kind to you when the time comes, but be prepared for pushback, just in case. 🙂
I will try to be prepared haha! Thank you for creating such a safe, positive, and supportive environment for women. Hopefully we can support you as well 🙂
Thanks so much xoxo
I breastfed my baby, work full time, never get to travel, and my husband works nights. I have never once compared our situations when reading your blog! Some people can’t breastfeed, and even if you choose not to that’s ok! It’s a lot of work! And blogging and traveling is your job! I have felt happy for you that you have such a supportive husband, and such great family and friends. I have also felt jealous that your baby is bigger than mine 🙂 I love your blog and have been reading it for years, and will continue to do so until you quit. You are awesome and doing a great job. Some people really need some honest reflection.
You are so sweet. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate, kudos for juggling so much! Thank you for the encouraging words though, that means a lot. And hubby and k aren’t exactly tiny people so I’m not surprised I have a huge baby haha! Thanks for reading 😉
Btw, the heather above my comment is one of my best friends and she is incredible and inspiring. I’m so glad your words were out there for her, regardless of the flack you may catch. Thank you for putting yourself out there.
That’s exactly why I do it, in hopes what I say makes an impact on someone out there in cyber space 🙂
Rick Stiles says
Thank you, Heather, for putting yourself out there. Unfortunately, that does expose you to reprehensible comments. I wish this didn’t happen. I wish people would engage in constructive respectful dialog or disagree by saying why they would choose a different path while recognizing you have a right to your own decisions. Hate, name calling, etc. are never okay. The only way to influence such people is by continuing to be a good example.
Please keep on being yourself, and blogging about things that interest you. I appreciate your honesty.
I am so glad that you wrote this! I have noticed in some of your posts that you seemed to be writing more about being a normal momma/woman. I wondered if it was because of the comments and things people write to you 🙁 Personally, I love the blogs I follow and my husband laughs at me for talking about posts as if it was a friend I had just gotten off the phone with!!! Choosing to blog means exposing your life to strangers and I think you are brave!
It is easy to see someone’s social media posts and feel like that person has it all together. However, it is important to remember that people select what they share via social media. Even non-bloggers select how they want themselves or their family portrayed on social media and it may not be the whole picture.
You have a beautiful family and it looks like EK is thriving and seems like such a happy baby <3 Virtual hugs to you.
Thanks so much for your sweet comments! It can be a tough balance but I learn something new every day!