I’m a member of a few parenting Facebook groups and I’m seeing an alarming new trend. Mothers are scared of posting raw meaningful posts (due to a fear of backlash) and simultaneously mums are hesitant to respond for fear of being labeled ‘judgy’. On a surface level…I can see that the #NoJudging movement sounds like a good idea. However, I’m not convinced and here’s why…
Many new and experienced mothers depend on Facebook groups for support and guidance. I work with many mums that rely these groups for their own sanity, to connect with other mums, for piece of mind. These groups have the potential to be truly supportive, empowering and life changing. However, the #NoJudgment movement is passively silencing mothers and causing groups to be a lot less supportive. Out of a fear of offending each other and being labeled ‘Judgy’ we are almost forbidden from talking about topics I refer to as the Sensitive Seven. The Sensitive Seven pretty much covers almost every discussion you could have about parenting.
The Sensitive Seven include;
- Vaccines & Circumcision
- Feeding: milk, solids & also dummies
- Sleeping arrangements and training
- Leaving kids in the car while getting petrol (This is a strange one but it sure get’s people fired up)
- Santa, Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny
- Car seats, prams, baby wearing etc.
- Discipline and parenting styles
If we are unable to have diverse, respectful and compassionate conversations about these topics, how can we help each other to be better parents?
We are always ‘judging’
Making a judgement call is human nature. I would of decided what you wanted to eat for breakfast today. Is assessed if the milk was bad. Chosen the clothes you’ll wear?
As humans, we are always passing judgment… easily noticing if someone else looking clean, or smelling bad or parenting differently to you. It’s normal. Suppressing our natural instinct to think and evaluate is not normal. It’s impossible not to judge others and by attempting control our ‘judgy’ thoughts, we are adding to the list of things to beat ourselves up about.
What I do know is this…how we respond to each other matters. Just because you have a different opinion doesn’t mean that you need to voice it. Will your comment help this mother? Are you showing some compassion. Remember that she’s probably vulnerable and wants the very best for her kids too.
We don’t need to harp on about judgements… we need more compassion. #ShowSomeCompassion
Talking about being less judgmental is stopping mothers from talking and supporting each other in a way that’s desperately needed. If mothers cannot feel that they can talk about various parenting topics, they won’t have a chance to catch a lead.
What’s a lead? A lead is a parenting tip mentioned in a discussion that spikes a mums interest, she then goes home and looks online, borrows a book and reads more about it. With this new information she can choose to implement or ignore it. This improves her overall parenting skills. She’s informed.
If mums are NOT talking about the Sensitive Seven, they don’t catch these valuable leads and will never learn these valuable pieces of information. It’s very hard to research something you didn’t know existed.
This passive silencing has to change! Let’s ditch the #NoJudgement movement and create a new movement…. #ShowSomeCompassion
I would like to say a few final words before I go;
To the regular poster and responder that’s always respectful and compassionate
You friggen rock and we need more of you here so these groups can do what they do best – support and empower mums.
To the new mum that’s feeling stuck and more isolated than ever.
It’s truly devastating that you feel you cannot ask the questions you desperately want to ask online, I’m hoping this trend changes soon as we start to encourage our new movement. And if you do post a question… encourage a discussion and embrace the different opinions. Just because someone’s comment doesn’t suit your beliefs, it doesn’t mean they are judging you. Gracefully accept the opinions of others while confidently following your own intuition (This can be applied in the real world too).
To the mums that wants to respond to questions (and might feel hesitant in doing so).
We all need each other. New mums (especially) need experienced mothers to share their knowledge and wisdom. We also need to ensure that we always consider the feelings of those we are responding to. Be respectful, compassionate and embrace diversity. Keep in mind that every mother is trying to do her very best, she wants to raise awesome, well-adjusted, happy and healthy kids too. Support her and you’ll feel supported too.
*Trolls, keyboard warriors and mummy shammers
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the internet we will always come across sad individuals that are trying to bring others down in an attempt to feel better.
Trolls, keyboard warriors and even mummy shammers are a unique and toxic breed… scroll on past this bunch and don’t give them any attention what-so-ever. If you notice anyone you think that they could be trying to draw you into a battle… ignore them. No matter how clever your response is, they’ll keep attacking you. It’s attention seeking behaviour. They need help but unfortunately we are not in the position to give it to them.
And after all this…
I still hear you mutter… “but she’s wrong and could hurt her kids…” remember this…
‘you catch more flies with honey’
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts about etiquette in Facebook groups.
I’m an educator that specialises in self-care and personal wellbeing for mums that want to raise awesome kids and also have a fabulous life.