Writing on the internet is sort of like wandering into the middle of a busy road. Stand there long enough, and you’re going to piss someone off. And they will probably yell at you and maybe even make disparaging comments about your mother. The only difference is that the cars could hurt you whether you let them or not.
Well, that, and that the cars may be looking out for your best interest while the internet wordsmiths are often just being dicks.
Last week, an original Oddly Well Adjusted piece was on the front page at Huffington Post Parents. It was sort of tongue in cheek, as they tend to be (come on. What else am I here for? Certainly not my math skills.) and written with the assumption that those who read it could loosen up on the serious and take a break from turning that nugget of coal into a diamond with their buttcheeks for a second. For the most part, I was right.
Then came a new friend. I’ll call her Humorless Sally.
I outlined in the article 5 things that I, as a parent, do not feel obligated to do. Five free passes to not feeling guilty because there’s a veritable shit-load of things I DO enjoy doing with and for my kids and guilt serves no one.
Humorless Sally called me a “selfish bitch who knows nothing about kids” and informed me that I need to “man the fuck up”. I find her kind fascinating. For one, that’s a pretty serious assessment to be made about someone you’ve never met and therefore based on an 800 word humor piece. Second, I don’t have time to schedule a haircut, let alone play Internet Oracle and use valuable moments to tell complete strangers what a heap of doo doo they are via a keyboard. Maybe she’s magic AND immortal. Maybe she’s a really bitter unicorn. I responded gracefully and ended with my customary “Have a nice day!” which actually means “Eat. My. Shorts.”
The internet has given miserable, bored, and otherwise ignored individuals license to spew forth, unfiltered, garbage they would NEVER say while physically surrounded by functioning members of society. I know this because daily I stumble upon unintelligent diatribes littered with hate speech and name-calling and I can’t recall the last time I saw someone pick a fight in line at the bank about one’s willingness to craft with their children or their stance on immigration laws.
But it’s the way mothers can attack one another that truly leaves me scratching my head. Why is it so hard to believe that we’re all doing the best we can and maybe what’s “best” for us isn’t always the same thing?
I’m not the sort of person to let an internet troll tell me who I am or am not. No one, behind a screen or in front of your face should have that sort of power. Reserve it for yourself. (And maybe Aaron Paul. I’d let that guy tell me whatever he wants about myself. Good Lawd.)
And, just because, I’ve made myself feel better about the entire incident by imagining that Humorless Sally and others of that ilk DO walk through life the way they appear online. Like this:
Humorless Sally at the playground: “YOU! OVER THERE PECKING AWAY ON YOUR PHONE! What is it about only bearing witness to the first 450 ‘Watchmemommy!Look!Look!WATCHTHISWATCHTHISWATCHTHIS’? How dare you look away for 5 minutes to check your email and make a grocery list? You don’t deserve a flea ridden dog, let alone a CHILD! I watch my children until my corneas bleed. AND I LIKE IT.”
Humorless Sally, behind me at the coffee shop: “Heh. Coffee. Amateur. You don’t just wake up energized by the sun and the glory that is raising children? Do you not love them enough to get out of bed without the aid of caffeine? You should be ashamed of your drug addicted self. You’re a DISGRACE to the flawless mothers like myself.”
Humorless Sally at the pool: “I don’t care that your child is wearing a coast guard approved life jacket. She was just 4.5 inches away from you and you actually had the BALLS to BLINK.YOUR.EYES. While talking to your friend! You’re scum. Scum that can’t be bothered keeping her toddler safe because she’d rather flap her lips about selfish gossip!”
Humorless Sally standing next to me at my husband’s recent rock show on a boat: “You brought your CHILDREN to this? It’s on a FERRY for christsakes. You want them DEAD don’t you? I bet you couldn’t find a babysitter and since you’re a self centered LUSH you just brought them anyway. I’m only here because I got on the wrong boat. I thought this was a Save the Children fundraiser. And Rough Francis is CRAP. NICKELBACK FOREVER.”
Oh man, you guys. That feels so much better.
*Have a nice day!
(*not sarcastic. I love you guys.)