I know how hard it is to be real in this digital age.
I know how risky it can be to open up.
I know what it feels like to be met with critics.
I know what it’s like be called stupid or that I’m not parenting right or that I’m selfish or that I’m dumb or that I have no clue or well, you can just write about anything. I know. Those are the emails and comments that come in to my inbox sometimes.
(They don’t stop me, just so you know. They tell me that what we’re doing here – this community of moms and speaking of real – is right.)
And everyone once in a while I just want to stop – and to look up – and to tell you all this:
Be good to each other.
Sometimes I think that the buffer of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and forums dulls the reality that the mom on the other side of that screen is another mom. A mom with a story. Maybe with health issues or kids that don’t listen or is at the end of her rope or just had an awesome day and wants to share without fear of being judged or is worried about money or just needs a friend.
I just want us to be good to each other. To not engage in nasty battles over issues where there is no right answer. Yes, that. So much of the mom wars and mom guilt revolves around issues that the answer comes down to the best choice for one’s family. There’s no universal best, no pinnacle, no ultimate choice that guarantees best parent and child award. It’s a choice.
And after all, that’s seriously what we celebrate as a culture now.
Let’s just not slip down to the level where what we celebrate is lost in this free and crazy cyber world where we can allow our passions to become dogma at the expense of the individual.
So I’m asking/reminding/challenging/encouaging you to pause (read this post for my personal story) and to check yourself before responding.
Does the comment bless? Does it encourage each other? Does it push us to be better? Does it support?
Or is it about being right?
We can work towards community and discussion versus competition and animosity.
Us moms (and dads) have quite a journey right now.
We have to parent with so many new nuances that parenting never had before. We parent in a culture that changes almost instantly. We parent with apps that come and go and a line of communication like never before. And, yes there are challenges, but even more yes, it can be awesome. And in that awesome let’s celebrate each other and not condemn each other.
Maybe it means closing the browser and not debating something. Maybe it means instead of just “liking” a post that you comment with a word of encouragement or picking up the phone and chatting. Maybe it means seeking to understand another’s viewpoint. Maybe it’s showing up with a meal. Maybe it’s listening and not judging. Maybe it’s in welcoming.
But in it all – it’s about respect. About being good to another.
Oh, and by the way, responding with kindness is an amazing thing. Remember that too. Sometimes kindness opens doors and it allows animosity and misunderstanding to be diffused. Because if we’re always nervous and have our boxing gloves ready just in case then we’re not really able to sit at the table with each other and learn to appreciate each other.
You know how I know? Just the other day when I was called an idiot or something else in an email I didn’t retort back (but I did close the browser and went elsewhere for a moment) but simply asked what justified that and if there was something that could be fixed with the site. It not only resulted in an apology and an explanation but a dialogue. It didn’t end in anger.
But rather a conversation.
It takes each of us to do that.
I believe in you.
You can be a part of the community of moms.
So will you, in this 2016 year, work on this one thing? Will you challenge your friends and your mom groups and lead the example? It’s kind of simple. It’s about the benefit of the doubt and loving each other as women and moms treading water in this river of life together. It’s about us wanting to do our best and needing friends along the way.
This is it.
Be good to each other.
ps. This is what I believe allows happiness to return to our lives too.