Dear Moms of the Internet: Can We All Just Calm Down? Nope, Not Just Yet.

IMG_9931I read this blog on Huffpost Parents, titled, “Dear Moms of the Internet, in 2016 Can We All Just Calm Down?” and while I’d love to answer yes, I just have to say no.

Yes, the epidemic of offense has gotten out of control. Everyone’s on Facebook whining about something that offends them—that’s why I never post anything on there anymore. From my kids to my house, I’m afraid of being judged, shamed or scorned, so I just gradually quit posting things on my “danger zone” list until nothing was really left except my Nike+ running updates, which I don’t remember how to turn off.

Yes, people are out there looking for a reason to be offended. And while the author is a mom of four and has totally been there, her kids are nearly all teenagers, and that puts her in a vastly different position than moms of small children.

When you’re a mom of a toddler, preschooler or infant, you are getting a barrage of unsolicited advice thrown at you all the time. You basically can’t go anywhere without getting glares, the side-eye or being judged. Those comments that kind old ladies make? You hear them 20 times a day.

Fourteen different strangers kindly suggesting you “have your hands full” while letting the door slam in front of you. Five grocery store ladies asking “Are they all yours?” and walking off smiling at their own wit. Two preschool moms asking if your last child was planned. Four ladies at church asking if you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and then before you can even answer, loosing forth all the outdated knowledge they have accumulated on the subject.

These comments are harmless in the ones and twos. By the third one, your ears turn red the moment someone opens their mouth. They are motive for homicide after the tenth or twelfth. And while that is going on every time you leave the house, at home you likely feel overwhelmed, lonely, and you’re probably sleep deprived. So no matter what you do, you just can’t win.

I have three kids, 7, 4, and 3, and I feel like we have just reached an age where we can go out of the house without feeling self-conscious and judged every time. Life is really hard at this stage, and it’s impossible to know how hard it was until you’ve cleared it. On the rare occasions someone does have a freak out in public now, I can’t remember how I managed when it was a daily occurrence. Probably because my brain just blocked it out.

So please, forgive these moms for being a little quick to be offended or take things personally. It’s hard right now. Really, really hard. But it gets better. And when it does, they’ll try to remember so they can smile at that overwhelmed mom in the grocery store, and simply say, “She’s beautiful. You’re doing a great job.”

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.

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