Last night I broke my cardinal rule of being part of an online group…I engaged in a conversation with some keyboard warriors!
Rule of thumb, because I live a relatively public life, I try to ignore engaging in online conversations. I see very little point in defending myself to people I don’t know and I have a deep hatred for online bullying.
However last night while scrolling on the Facebook I stumbled across a post in a mum group. The post immediately resonated with me. A mum desperate for some advice on how to get her 2.5 year old to sleep at night as he was waking up through the night.
Having recently been battling this with T2 – Hunter, it occurred to me that perhaps she was having food issues like we were and perhaps my new jack could help.
So for the first time in a long time I replied…knowing my response would be controversial. I simply asked if he was hungry because we’d battled this with hunter then since deciding to give him an up and go right before bed had helped and now he sleeps through again! I knew the nutrition, healthy mums out there would jump on it straight away (and they did) but I also knew if it helped a desperate mum in need of sleep it was worth a shot!
Kindly she replied at that she too had a difficult eater who only survived on biscuits and was desperate and thankful for my suggestions. I replied giving support saying some good battles are hard and difficult eaters are a challenge and you just need to give them what they need at times.
Insert the responses from super mums who clearly don’t know what it’s like to have a kids who refuses to eat. Suddenly an essay appears in my notifications not only judging my parenting habits but telling me I am giving my kids junk and if I apply dedication to it I can strip this negative behaviour in 3 days I just need to be applied!
In a matter of seconds I was like a bull facing a red flag rearing to go! It took all my strength not to reply with ‘do you think I haven’t tried everything but when your kids goes days without eating and you’re not sleeping oh and you’re working it’s bloody hard!’
Instead however I took a long deep breath and tried to respond in a positive way enlightening my new online enemy that we had done all we could include working with specialists to support my sons eating and this was simply some advice that worked for us.
Content with my response I walked away from my phone…moments later she back! This time though I sensed she was on the defensive, detailing some battles she’d had with her son. That’s when I questioned was I in the wrong or her? Upon rereading the whole thread I realised we were both in the right but because you lose so much in Facebook comments we were simply interpreting things aggressively rather than passively and with support.
Not wanting to continue with any negativity or negative feelings I simply responded with a well done to you and we all have or own battles and you’re a great mum and immediately she responded with positivity and the situation resolved!
It was reinforcement to me on why I hate engaging on those things but also a quick reminder that when providing thoughts in a community forum you have to be prepared for backlash.
It poses the question was life better without them or is it helpful having them? As someone who scrolls but rarely comments I do notice how volatile they become, how critical the repsponses are and I’m quite honestly blown away by some of the things I see. Like ‘this is a rash on my kid…what do you the general unqualified population on social media think it is?’ Go see a doctor people!
Equally I can see that there’s support to those feeling iscolated – it’s a catch 22!
The lesson I learnt is to not become defensive when someone disagrees with me. In choosing to comment I have to accept people may not like what I say but I do t have to defend myself either. Will I comment again? Maybe, maybe not, but either way I’ll leave the emotion out!