As the main caretaker of a family who has moved around a lot, it has been helpful to consult neighborhood message boards to find doctors, hair stylists, etc. But, I swear these message boards are making us all crazy. Not a day goes by that some Mom doesn’t ask some crazy question that leaves me scratching my head or staring at the screen in disbelief.
Now, before I go any further, let me state for the record I know I could leave said message board and be done with the drama. It’s an easy solution to the problem. But, women need other women. We need a tribe. It’s a fact with historical proof. Women have worked together for millennia sharing knowledge and helping each other with daily chores and child-rearing. We are wired to help each other and I love that about our gender. What I don’t love is the backbiting, competitive, condescending and downright outrageous things we are talking about on said message boards.
The ABC television show, Blackish, recently addressed the topic. The lead female character had a new baby and took to the internet for advice. She marveled at the amount of advice and information now available to her with the touch of a few buttons. “Where was this with my older children,” she asked. It was wonderful until she got into a pissing match with a bunch of women over vaccinations. Yep, sounds about right to me. Just today I was looking at a local message board and a mom asked about arming her teenage daughter with mace. Lord have mercy you should have seen the comments. I had mace as an older teen so I don’t see the problem. But, some women berated the hell out of the poor woman for even posing the question.
Did women act like this 20, 50, 100 years ago? I’ve seen pictures and I’ve heard stories of my Grandmother and the other ladies that lived on the cul-de-sac where my Mother and her siblings grew up. I know they helped each other and offered advice. Did these women tear each other up for asking questions? I’m sure there was some ridicule here and there but I’m starting to wonder if the over the top behavior is because we are all hiding behind a screen. Would we spew the same hate if we were face to face?
Furthermore, why do we feel the need to ask other mom’s opinions on so many things? Some of the questions these ladies are asking could be solved with a little common sense and going with their gut. I cannot imagine my Mother asking one of her friends or neighbors if she should buy me mace? She just went out and bought it and said carry this with you when you’re out after dark. She didn’t check to see if it was legal for me to carry it. She didn’t ask her friends if it was appropriate. She went with her gut and did it?. Are modern mothers afraid to trust our instincts? And, if so, why are we so afraid? If you are reading this and you happen to be a Mom think back to all the gut decisions you’ve ever made regarding your children. How many times were you wrong? A few, sure, that’s typical, but by and large haven’t you rocked the hell out the decision you’ve made?
You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna get back on that message board and fire off a little post of my own. Hey, Moms if you need a dentist for little Suzie and Johnny or even six dozen decorated cookies by tomorrow at 9 a.m. post away. But, if you are on here asking if you should vaccinate your kid, save it. Do your own research and go with your gut because I guarantee all that message board will do is either piss you off or confuse you even more. You is smart. You is capable. You created life. Don’t doubt yourself.