Breastfeeding vs. Formula. Sleep Training. Cloth vs. Disposable. Montessori vs. Traditional Preschool. Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms. Extended Rear Facing … the list can go on and on.
What do all of these things have in common?
They are all subjects that are rampant and go viral on social media. I can almost guarantee that on any given day, at least three of these subjects will pop up in my Facebook news feed. What is disturbing about most of these posts that go viral is the fact that they carry inflammatory headlines that immediately can cause panic in a new parent. Instead of helping parents, they do nothing but fuel what is known as the “mom wars” or pit otherwise normal people into arguments because they are what is commonly known as “click bait.” Or even worse, cause a mother to spiral into doubting themselves as a parent, thus leading to possible depression and/or anxiety.
I know in my first year or so of parenthood, I often fell victim to those viral posts that told me formula was equal to giving my son tobacco, that I was a terrible, unloving mother who was “letting others raise my child” because I work instead of stay home, and that I was stressing out my son because I used a modified version of the Ferber method to get him to sleep through the night. All of these posts caused a virus in ME. It made me doubt myself as a parent, and it caused me a lot of worry. I STILL see some of the offending viral articles pop up in conversations or on social media. And I know, without a doubt, that the overabundance of media coverage on all things child-rearing did not help me when I struggled with Postpartum Anxiety.
While some of these articles provide valuable information about raising kids in today’s day and age, many do nothing but stir up drama and controversy. I often wonder what would happen if we would stop sharing some of these posts and trust our instinct and “mommy gut” when it comes to raising our families.
My theory: moms (and dads) would be a lot less stressed out.
Parents will trust themselves and use their instinct. Wouldn’t it be awesome if people used reputable sources and didn’t follow the fear mongering headlines to get their information?
Would moms stop caring about how others view their parenting skills? I find a lot of people read the headline, click share, and then don’t even bother to fully read the entire article or check the source to make sure it is credible. I will confess, I have done it.
Today, I am taking a stand, and I encourage you to do it too.
After interviewing my mom earlier this summer, I realized that a big part of what causes us alarm as parents is the inundation of frequent media coverage on EVERYTHING. Our parents didn’t feel judged daily for their parenting decisions by their peers, and they made the best choices for their family based on the tools they were given and worked together instead of against each other.
Parenting is hard. Let’s make it easier.
Let us stop instilling fear, worry, and spreading judgement and false stories on social media.
Let’s share responsibly.
Absolutely wonderful post! You nailed it! We as moms (and women) should support each other’s decision regardless of our opinions – to each their own, right?! I feel like people often times don’t think about how harmful their posts can be to new moms (or all moms)! Being a parent is hard enough without the fear of judgement and anxiety from other moms!
I think a lot of this could be avoided by simply knowing your audience. If you know the people on your friends list and really know them, they should know your. Chances are, your parenting lines up mostly like theirs and they know if you are meaning offense or not in something they post. I have less than 40 people on my list and I know all of them and they know me. They know they can expect breastfeeding articles and car seat articles and my rants about improper use of carseats. They know i love them and there are a few that disagree. We simply agree to disagree. Yep, I am very probreastfeeding and they know I post about it. There are some mamas that don’t breastfeed for whatever reason. ya know, they still love me and it doesn’t cause drama because they know I still support their choice. I recently had a first time expecting mama friend ask me advice on bottles and formula because breastfeeding won’t be an option for her (medical reasons). She asked me because she knows I stay in the know about stuff and I don’t judge others for not breastfeeding. Anyway, my point is that if you truly are friends with the people on your friends list you aren’t likely to upset someone because you posted an article that doesn’t align with their parenting style.