Writing for all of the world to see these past two months – Wait? It’s not all of the world? I’m being hyperbolic and there’s really only about 250 people reading my shit on a good day? OK, writing for ANYONE to read these past two months – I’ve opened myself up for judgment and ridicule. Most people have been really supportive but others? Not so much.
Let’s face it – I’ve been putting my foot in my mouth my whole life. I once [inadvertently] made fun of a coworker acquaintance type to his face for being one of those freaks that get married at The Renaissance Festival in period attire. Did I mean it? Absolutely. Would I have ridiculed a guy I only knew casually for what he described as “one of the best days of his life?” Probably not; I’m not an asshole.
Then there was that time I made a newbie blogger blunder and accidentally said that some women on the Mom Tinder app looked like they may have been born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Of course, I faced a shit storm from the type of people who change their Facebook profile pic every week to accompany the new cause, whatever that may be. Sure, maybe it was a bad joke but the way some of the comments made it seem – I was openly mocking babies that were born shaking and seizing, which … wasn’t the case. Then a few weeks ago I wrote about how it’s downright necessary to have booze at a kid’s birthday party (which I still believe) and I faced another tsunami of sanctimonious parents. One guy I went to high school with told me I was a shitty parent to drink around my kid and her friends and that I was setting a poor example and endangering the kids. He went on to say that I had “severe problems with alcohol” and he hoped that they didn’t end up affecting my daughter.
Truth be told, the kids were in way more danger from the hot dogs I consumed that day than anything I drank; trust me. I spent the next morning farting like a Trojan, complete with blue icing on my ass. And the fact is that I rarely drink because I’m too fucking old for the hangovers. I’ve reached an age where I need to start googling those mobile-IV companies who will come and pump you full of vitamins and fluids, bringing you back to life. But I’m a bitch on a budget.
And since when is having a few beers at a kid’s birthday party incendiary? Have we become that judgmental, as parents? And wait – is Dad Judgment the newest trend? Did someone really just mansplain how I could be a better mom?
Look, I’ve got a very thick skin. There is little that people could say to me that bothers me in terms of criticism but the unexpected judgment initially hit me like a ton of bricks. If someone who actually knows me (although we haven’t hung out in many years… for good reason, obviously) could pass such broad stroke sweeping judgment on me based on one blog post, what might someone who doesn’t even know me say about me?
After mulling it over, I have a response for these types of people.
People like you are the reason that most of the world fails to express any sort of opinion whatsoever. You’re the reason an entire team of coworkers stays silent in meetings even when every person in the room knows what’s going on is bullshit. You’re the reason everyone is afraid of being fired for what they say online. You’re the reason people aren’t their authentic selves – because they’re worried about becoming ostracized by their friends or family or other parents whose kid takes Tai Kwon Do at the same place as theirs.
The same asshole who accused me of alcoholism commented on a friend’s blog post (which you should totally read) about exorbitant Easter baskets and the general over-gifting of our kids and tried to tear him apart for what he wrote because he didn’t share his beliefs. But instead of just disagreeing like a normal fucking human being who is in his late thirties, this asshat insisted on insulting him as a person and a parent and most puzzling of all, he told him he was shitty at his job.
Ah, yes, a brave behind-the-keyboard warrior, ready to take on anyone online who thinks differently than him but who would be quaking in his 5-year-old Chucks if this were to be happening in person. The cyber-renegade who, armed with TWO FULL YEARS of parenting experience, passes judgment on others for doing things differently than he. Yeah, he’s a regular fucking superhero.
You know, I never came across a bully in real life. I doubt anyone would want to meet me in a dark alley, even though I wouldn’t know the first thing about fighting. (I’m really a delicate fucking flower.) I tried that little social experiment at work last year where you, as a woman, continue to walk forward and not move out of a man’s way. But unlike most women’s results, every single man moved out of my way. It turns out that nothing scares a man more than a fat girl heading his way. And I kind of like that.
But online – the climate is ripe with criticism and judgment. It’s the one socially acceptable place you can still be a bully. After all, you’d never make the cut in real life. You were a loser in high school and never quite got over your issues from twenty fucking years ago. When you were sixteen, someone told you that you were ugly or poor or fat and you feel like you need to spend the rest of your life making society pay? Your cut-rate insurance plan obviously doesn’t cover therapy so you’re taking all of your shit out on people online during your hour-long lunch break from your miserable fucking job. You must really need to get laid.
Not everyone is going to agree with you about everything. I’ve spent the last year myself arguing with a few of my good friends about politics. And that’s OK. We’re not going to raise our kids alike, we don’t share the same values, we don’t feel the same about money or a million other things. Parents (and non-parents), disagree? Sure. But save the harsh judgments for somebody who gives a shit. An online opinion is no reason to get all huffy, make your blood pressure skyrocket and hilariously threaten people’s future career options, while fabricating an alcohol problem and the inability to parent.
And can someone talk to my husband about possibly sending me to Passages Malibu for my “little problem?” Because that infinity edge pool on the commercials is EVERYTHING. And I could use a little vaca.