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by Tanya Kovarsky, mom to Max , addicted to blogging, Apple products, long-distance running and Converse shoes. Freelance writer, with 11yrs experience who does editing, writing and training. Read her blog

I am the first to applaud social networks like Twitter, Facebook and blogs as wonderful forums for sharing mommy angst, agony, pride, questions and research. It’s a place where I get to share pics of my kid, high five moms, lament toddler tantrums and ask for advice on the best eye concealer (you know, to cover evidence of sleep deprivation). Heck, once I even ran a fun poll on my blog Dear Max where I asked moms whether I should cut my baby’s hair from long blonde to short and neat.

Most of us can say we’ve made best friends, found virtual hugs – even at 2am in the morning – and gotten valuable advice online. But as in every schoolyard, there is a bully, and on social media, the bullying takes place in several forms. And online, it’s even easier to throw punches or vile words when there is a screen protecting you. Whether it’s moms criticizing others who opt for caesar births or formula feeding, or, horror, sleep control, or mothers getting mean with others because they feel left out, it’s a rough playing field.

Credit: newkidscenter.com

Credit: newkidscenter.com

We want to be hugged, propped up and supported, yet so often we’re judged, slagged off and spoken about passive aggressively in sub tweets and more. And I suspect it’s because we’re a little insecure about our own parenting, or aren’t supported enough in our own right, or want others to like us (I wrote about this extensively on my other parenting blog Rattle and Mum). Or we just don’t know how to play nice. Which is a shame if we are trying to teach our kids manners, respect and good communication.

I don’t think it’s enough to adopt a “do as I say” approach with parenting. If I want my kid to be a decent person and to be able to confront things maturely rather than passive aggressively, I probably need to start somewhere myself. First at home, and then in the big wide world, of which social media is a big part. As for me, I’m trying to develop a thick skin against the nastiness, shutting out the judgement calls, while opening myself up to the dozens of awesome moms who hold me up as a mother, woman and person.

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