(originally written 1/19/2018)
It’s recently come to my attention that social media shaming is EVERYWHERE. I’ve joined parenting groups on Facebook to feel connected to other parents – and yet every time I venture onto one of the “support” pages, I get this slimy feeling.
It’s like that feeling when you’re talking shit about your best friend or your significant other or your mom or someone else who means the world to you (I would NEVER, guys… I’m just saying, I’ve seen it happen with other people…), and after the conversation is over, and you’ve gone about your day, you just feel… gross.
If you’re like me (if I weren’t perfect), you don’t just feel gross for an hour or two. You feel gross for DAYS…
It’s a mixture of guilt and disgust and self-loathing. I don’t mean you have a constant aura of grossness for days, either, because that would be a little extreme. It’s more like… after you’ve had a lengthy convo about your best friend’s stinky feet, every time you see feet or mentally register that you’re smelling something, you’re more than likely going to feel the ‘yuck’.
At any rate, the feeling is not a pleasurable one.
As you may know by now (I freaking hope), I run a cloth diaper service.
One cloth diaper “pro” once said that there is no “cloth diaper degree” (it’s kind of daunting to hear someone basically say cloth diapers are so intimidating there could be a degree, isn’t it? WHY must there be some perfect solution to cleaning diapers only YOUR child is going to wear? Figure out what works for your family, and roll with it. Any who…), which means, instead of getting that degree (like I really need another one anyway) I am constantly looking for opinions and tested results and laundry science and anything else that can “perfect” my laundering (hypocritical to my last rant? YES, but I’m also getting paid to clean your diapers, so I’d like to go above and beyond in this particular subject, if you know what I mean).
Facebook. Parenting. Oh, My.
Well, I was perusing a cloth diaper page, and there was this really rude post. It said something like, “what brand do you just HATE?” with a picture of the cloth diaper – and the brand – this person apparently despises.
As a business owner myself, who has labored tirelessly as a parent and getting this business going and working to actually pay the bills on time, I was slightly offended by this. I felt bad for the company they were bashing, because – if anything else – they took the time to create a business name, register that name, research cloth diapers, get a manufacturing company who would put their logo and business name on the diapers, pay for the diapers, and then take the time to distribute them through marketing, and a website, and anything else that goes into a typical business – big or small.
I scrolled through the comments, and after a lot of hateful, hateful ones that fed into the rudeness, I finally came across an administrator who shut the whole thing down – saying that it’s not okay to bash cloth diaper businesses, because this is supposed to be a community for cloth diaper support and this type of post was quite the opposite.
So, I thanked the admin who called Ms. Rudemama out, and went on with my day.
Then, shortly after (same day, mind you), I saw another post. This time it wasn’t bashing a cloth diaper distributor, but rather a cloth diaper resource organization (like the page they posted on). This woman was bashing an organization I have personally referenced for many cloth diapering inquiries, and have yet to be disappointed.
So, again, I hoped for someone to stick up for this group. Low and behold, I see another admin advocate for the “competition.” She stated this aforementioned group was not better or worse than her particular group, but rather equal in the sense that they are all just doing the best they can – sharing their findings with a crowd who feels clueless (and who is also trying the best they can).
So, I liked the admin’s comment, scoffed at this type of rudeness for the second time, and continued on with my day.
AND THEN AGAIN (where finally I said, “Karma, girl, I see you. I hear you.” and then I pointed at my eyes, and I pointed where her eyes would be, and we connected, and here I am)…
I’m innocently scrolling through my newsfeed, and I see a mom asking a very particular question. This mom is asking how to do something. She’s not asking for alternative, “better” ways to do this thing; she’s not asking for what anyone thinks about her choice; she is literally asking HOW she can do this one thing, the best way possible.
On the comments, I see:
“Why?? OMG it breaks my heart when I see people doing this – there are so many better ways to do what you’re doing… and they’re so much safer for baby!”
And I said:
NO ONE ASKED YOU. You are literally giving an unsolicited opinion (not even advice, for fuck’s sake) to someone who just wanted to know the best way to do WHAT SHE WANTED TO DO.
…Okay. I didn’t really say anything at all. But that’s what I wanted to say
One More Story:
I have given up on potty training.
Potty training: Wtf does that have to do with social media shaming?
Upon some reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve only been so persistent in potty training my ONE AND A HALF YEAR OLD BOY because I wanted the damn bragging rights! If I could say my super young son was potty trained because of using cloth diapers, I felt like I could prove to everyone in the world – whether economically friendly or not – cloth diapers are better. And then, can’t I shame my disposable diaper friends to switch to cloth, at least for their next kid?
I’m so over it! I’m so over all of it! I don’t need to convince you, beyond the concrete facts, and when SOLICITED for those facts, why cloth diapers are better. And if I can give you the facts and you still don’t want to use cloth diapers, am I going to hate you for it? Am I going to stop being your friend? Am I going to shame you across all social media platforms, commenting on all your pictures that show your baby in a disposable diaper, saying “OMG YOU’RE BREAKING MY HEART, DON’T YOU KNOW THERE ARE CLOTH DIAPERS OUT THERE, AND THEY ARE SO MUCH BETTER FOR YOUR BABY – AND FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?”
The answer is no. I’m not going to do that, because I’m not a pushy asshole who wants the whole world to know you’re doing something I don’t agree with.
Will I tell you, when the time is right (and if I think you don’t know), in person, why cloth diapers are better? Probably, honestly. But I’m not going to go on Facebook and exploit it. I’m not going to message you on some random night telling you why you should switch, making you question every parenting decision you’ve ever made – because I am the only parent in the universe who knows what is right and what is wrong, and you must listen to me, or ruin your child forever.
I’m just not going to do that.
My best friends use disposable diapers on their babies! Sure, I lovingly give them shit about it – I show my babe’s cute butt off whenever I can, and brag about the great benefits of cloth. But I also don’t hide the annoying stuff, either. Like the smelly wet bag when my kid takes a colossal poop; or having to clean the poop in the toilet (FYI: disposable diapers tell you to do the same thing, believe it or not, so…); or having the occasional leak because cloth diapers just aren’t meant to hold as much liquid, period.
Bottom (get it?) Line:
Your parenting style is different than mine, and my parenting style is different than that hoe who decided to shame another mom for [using TIDE LAUNDRY DETERGENT], etc. etc. etc.
We all have the right to parent our children how we want. Period. (Within societies “ethical” limits, of course)
( Is a moral the same as a bottom line? Shame me!)
- The examples I have given are really very small illustrations to a very large problem that go far beyond parenting. Far, far, far beyond – to a realm I honestly don’t even want to get into, because it’s so heart breaking (wait til the end and I’ll let good ole Lewinsky do it for me!)
- Once I was finally able to identify the “yuck” feeling behind these comments, I’ve done what I’ve suggested in previous posts – I cut that shit out of my LIFE! I simply unfollowed the pages. I deleted those “friends.” I quit talking shit (with the exception of this beautiful post you’re reading right here). I stopped feeding the monster. I quit searching for “bragging rights” in my parenting styles.
- It is an immediate weight lifted off of your shoulders the second you remove these toxic people (or resemblances of people) from your life. I promise. And If you don’t agree, well, the great thing about social media is that if you unfollow something or someone, you can almost always follow them again whenever you change your mind… so, delete away – and reap the serenity (I DARE you).
-Momma Cheeks, out
Monica Lewinsky says it much better than I (she also has a much better story… but, you know, who’s keeping score), so… if you’re interested: