It has come to my attention while perusing through social media that most of us lack social etiquette and we probably need someone to remind us how to act, what to say, and when. Freedom of speech, though, I know you are thinking it. Don’t I know it, but here is the really deep, important thing: though you can do anything, not every thing is good for you. Though you can say anything, not everything should be uttered because there are things that we keep inside to make the universe a more peaceful place— after all, we are after world peace, here, right? So, I wanted to clue everyone who desires to be better in on a very, very big pointer. If you aren’t striving for internet peace, you don’t have to read any further before flipping your tab back to Facebook.
Are you ready?
When I first became a mom and in the trails leading to motherhood, I remember thinking to myself, “Man, the motherhood gang sure is welcoming! How unified. We definitely need a team of moms to run our country.” Then, a week after I had my sweet baby boy, when I was crying because I wanted to quit breastfeeding and crying because I wanted to keep going, I saw the other side of things and realized how harsh moms, breastfeeding coaches, and people without children could be. Then for about a solid month, I continued to cry because my little boy happened to pee on himself nearly every diaper change, making me feel like the worst mom ever because no matter how quickly I reached for the towel, that stream was quicker. And for those of you wondering where this part fits in the first part, this is it:
Mothers don’t need you to tell them how they are doing it wrong.
Their insides bleed over the littlest whimper out of their baby, and most of their days they are trying to convince themselves they are doing an okay job when deep down they have so many doubts.
But, I know their are a lot of people who are still unconvinced, wondering whether they should take the reigns or not. So, for you, my little principals, I have compiled a neat & tidy list of how, when, and whether you should be offering that parenting tip or advice. Note: when your opinion is asked, please disregard all of these rules because they no longer apply.
1. If you are not a parent yourself, just don’t.
I get that you probably watch Doctor Phil and remember your mom’s stories of what she did for you, but when push comes to shove the only person who is allowed to be childless and tell me how to be a better parent is the pediatrician.
2. Nannying also doesn’t qualify you to give parenting advice.
Unless you are a live in nanny or you want to be mine, I don’t want to think of you in the midnight hour sleeping peacefully in your twin bed with your quick pointers for me on why my child isn’t sleeping through the night.
3. Are you being truly helpful or a bully?
You want to know the difference? This is it: have you ever spoken kind words to this person you are trying to advise, or paid them a compliment over a specific area of their parenting?
It sounds dumb, but its so true. In general, do you want someone who has never said anything nice to you messaging you something to criticize you?
So there they are, only three so it shouldn’t be too hard to apply to our social media etiquette. But if it is a little too challenging and you slip up, don’t be offended when that person you have made feel like a bad mom deletes your friendship, because she is only after a little bit of peace.
I hope we can all learn from this, and if we have come to be offended by this article or felt guilty in connection with things we may have said or done in the past, I hope we learn how to say we are sorry to the people we have hurt so they might know the power of our words matter to us. That we might see how hard they are trying, and they might look into our hearts and see the same. That’s what I hope for us. May we all be the triers, even when its hard.
It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.