Mothers and the internet.
I’m pretty sure there are 3 main types of mothers on the internet. Mothers who want advice or support, mothers who are lonely or bored, and mothers who have a mission. These can all really blend into each other as well.
I’ve just been wondering if there were such a thing as a non-judgmental mother on the internet. Then I realized, of course there are, but they aren’t the ones who you’ll notice. They aren’t going to be giving abrasive advice. Chances are they aren’t going to say very much of anything to those asking for advice. They might be reading, cocking an eyebrow at the advice and diatribes you’ve gotten and meandering on.
Loads of mothers want advice or support. From anything to being a new parent, to dealing with serious medical issues. It’s normal to want experiences, advice and support. And of course being faced with a difficult problem can make you feel isolated, leading to loneliness and so on.
Mothers on a mission. Oh so many types. These can range from the converts- I didn’t know better, but now I do and I’m going to instruct you all, to those who are clandestinely insecure, but proclaim their actions to the world to get attention and reinforcement and put others down to bring themselves up. Phrases you might hear- ‘I do it because I care about babies’, ‘I’m just stating facts’, and so on. Pretty much these people fall on the no-tact side of arguments. Having been there and done that apparently lends license to talk down to people with little regard for others situations.
Now lots of mothers are lonely. It goes with the territory. It’s not uncommon to be baking a baby and have friends drop away. Your priorities change, your life changes and suddenly you are in a lonely place. It’s a peril of our culture. Seems loneliness can figure in all of these. From the mother who is the first of her friends to have children and finds herself increasingly isolated from her pre-baby life, to the one who makes a mother-based career change and struggles with getting out and meeting new people, loneliness is rampant. Or hell, maybe they are just mildly bored and looking for some mental stimulation.
What else is there to be said about this really? I think this is one of those things where knowing is half the battle.
People use facts aggressively and retreat behind the ‘I’m just stating facts, not making judgements’ barrier. As a counter to that people often perceive a lack of confluence or agreement with their methods as condemnation. Basically it’s insecurity that feels hurtful when someone does something differently. Many magazines, books and online resources only serve to pit mothers against each other and convince the mildly insecure that they do indeed have something to be insecure about. If online life as a mother is so fraught with pitfalls and group-think (the topics of which is entirely dependent on the community), no wonder real life seems intimidating and ends up feeling isolating. Something important to keep in mind is what do you care if someone you don’t know on the internet disagrees with you? Are they going to come over to your house and do it differently for you? No? Well then. As a veteran of some mommy-war skirmishes I can say it’s the isolation from real people that does you in. Real people can be, but are hardly ever, as ridiculously outspoken as those you’re likely to encounter online.
Posted by Becky on May 1, 2012