motherhood, social media & parent-shaming. ouch.
Here’s an add for you, “Social Media: the world’s flat soufflé of half-baked opinions.” Jesus! And I say that not in the blaspheming way, but honestly. Jesus, please give social media a gag and some duct tape. But, there is a silver lining here. Because, for every half baked opinion, there is an attempt at a fully baked contradictory opinion. Okay, let’s get on with it.
As I was scrolling, I came across an opinion on motherhood from a fellow poster proclaiming 2020 as the year they essentially weren’t going to give a f^*k and say whatever they wanted, so you know it’s about to be total suicide. Lemme pull up my chair and get my drink with a little umbrella in it, because I’m gonna be here a while. Motherhood is one of the NOTORIOUS DGT’s of the internet as in, “don’t go there”. And the parent-shaming is real.
So, this person goes on to say, and I’m paraphrasing here, that ‘you shouldn’t be having more children if you cannot afford to send each child to the best, most prestigious school if they so desire’. Because, and I’m paraphrasing again, that ‘it isn’t fair to stick them with a 1/4 million dollar school bill because you want to have a ton of kids’. It went on to say a bunch of other things, but I’mma focus on this one.
Frankly, there are just so many things I find wrong with this, it’s hard to begin. Excuse me as I wipe the tears from my laughing/crying emoji face. My issue is not that the poster may want to have very few children so they can spoil them. If that’s you, go for it. And you’ve got some really lucky kid/s. Are you adopting, because I’m available for adoption. The issue is the parental shaming for having more children. They end the post to say that if you haven’t thought about what they have smeared across the internet, you should do some inner reflection. Really…I’m pretty sure most parents aren’t ‘deadbeats’ and are thinking about their children’s futures ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME. So please, sit down.
My first issue is the presumption that we owe our children to go to college. College is good, can be profitable and may be the right decision for your child. But, what if your kid doesn’t want college? Heck, chances are I’m going to have at least one kid who doesn’t want to go! Therefore, I would miss out on having another child just because my first one or two MIGHT one day in the future want to go to Harvard? That’s pretty unreasonable at best if you desire more children. What if they want to be a plumber or go to community college. There are so many different scenarios with this one; It’s mind boggling.
The ‘it’s not fair to stick them with the bill’ opinion. Okay, when you go to college, you’re an adult or months away from being an adult. This means you start making adult choices. Which means, you may have to ask yourself if that college degree is worth the debt. As Ursula says, “life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it?”
Congrats kid, you’ve just learned the first step of adulthood. Life is about choices! I’m going to help my kids pay for college, room & board, food and everything else. However, at the end of the day, they will need to start making adult choices and that’s just part of growing up. It would be great to pay for your kids college outright, but very few people have the opportunity to do that, with or without loans, which brings me to number three.
The poster also seems to imply that only wealthy people should have children. Because, after all, making sure you can pay for 3 Harvard tuitions isn’t cheap. Whaaaa??? Pardon me while I now inform the majority of America and the world that they shouldn’t be having children because they’re too poor. Brb.
And this is probably the biggest for me because my opinion, like everyone else, comes from a very personal place. I want three children. To a lot of people, that’s a lot of kids. To me, it isn’t. My husband and I don’t have a lot of extended family to go around. That means, there aren’t cousins to play with at family get togethers. My kids are it and that makes me a little sad. Sure, they get all of the attention and love from grandparents, but it’s also a bit lonely. So, my husband and I want to make sure they feel full. So, we decided early on that we would bless our children, not through finances alone, but through siblings. Also, I was an only child until I was almost 10 years old, so I remember being very lonely and feeling left out because all of my other friends had siblings and I didn’t. I couldn’t relate, which sometimes made me feel very alone even in friendships. The reality is, one day my husband and I will be gone and our children may only have each other. There is no guarantee they will find spouses and have families of their own.
For me, having children doesn’t come from a selfish place, like the poster seems to imply. I just happen to value giving my children sibling relationships instead of only supplying them with financial security.
Now, I’m sure the poster has their own personal reasons for feeling this way. Maybe school was really rough for them financially, which is why they have this viewpoint. And that is completely valid. Again, my issue is the shaming that is happening in this statement, not the opinion of how they wish to provide for their child/children.
The takeaway is how we should be treating each other through social media. While the poster had the full right to share this opinion, it doesn’t make it kind. And lord knows social media needs much more kindness. The world needs more kindness. I like the rule of thumb for social media that I heard a while ago…if you can’t say it to someone’s face, don’t post it. When we connect with someone face to face and see their four children sitting next to them at the coffee shop, would we really say these things? I’d like to think we wouldn’t.
I think we can all agree that as parents, we are motivated to build our families based on our own experiences and want what is best for our children and our family unit. And we should be keeping in mind that what is good for one family is not the approach of another. It doesn’t make it wrong or irresponsible. It makes it different. Let us not forget that different isn’t bad. And no parents should be shamed for having as many children or not as many children as they want.
Down with the parent shaming. Let’s lift each other up on social media through kindness. Because let’s face it, it really does take a village…and wine. -MJ