I try, oh do I try, to never ever judge other parents. But parents, we need to talk. Some of the things you post on social media really make me cringe. Some of the things you post make me feel very sorry for your children.
And I’m trying not to judge.
I’m a member of a few online parenting groups (which are probably 99% moms, with dads rarely represented.) Some groups are very general, open-to-all type groups, some are based upon our proximity, some are based upon our child’s likes or special needs…it pretty much covers the gamut.
For the most part, I like the tips and hacks (though I hate that word; “hacks”), the photos of your child reaching a milestone, the pertinent news items, the jokes and anecdotal stories. I am a pretty frequent commenter; happy to share my ideas or experiences that will hopefully help someone else.
But there’s a few of you moms out there who mistakenly believe that an internet forum is a safe group of close-knit friends where you can really let all the intimate details of your life fly, oh, and you are also convinced we are a medical community of highly skilled doctors and medical practitioners, who can make a sound medical diagnosis based upon your loose description and a blurry photo you snapped with your iPhone.
Horrifyingly, I saw a post from a mom who asked the group what to do because her baby “is panting and has a fever of 104°”. Very quickly, loads of comments told her to step away from the computer and get to an ER. The post was removed a short time later by an admin, no doubt because some shocked women really tore into that mom.
I mean, I HOPED better for us, as women. It’s one thing to have a horribly “off” day..it’s quite another thing to post it on the Internet and look for support. Women, are we listening to ourselves?
I know it’s wrong to look down on the mom who is wearing fleece Paul Frank pajama pants when she drops her kid off at school. I wouldn’t judge that. That lucky mom maybe gets to work from home. Maybe she’s caring for a sick family member. I don’t know, and it’s none of my business. And only a dick would judge a person who is using food stamps or WIC. Also none of my business. Going to a strange church? Nope. Don’t care. Vote Republican? Vote Democrat? Nope. None of these things would ever make me judge you or not want to be your friend if you are a decent person.
But…there is a line.
When I feel concern for your kid, that’s the line. When you share that your child is suffering, and the only effort you can muster to help them is to post their photo and broadcast their suffering, I feel for your child. Do you really want to help them, or are you doing it for the attention? For the “likes”? Are these social media parenting groups are just a secret convention for Munchausen syndrome?
Please. Please. In the name of all that is holy, if your child has a medical condition that concerns you (upset tummy, snotty nose, itchy rash), call your local clinic. Ask to speak to a nurse. This trained and experienced medical worker will let you know if a doctor should take a look. If it’s more serious and the child is having a fever, a headache, a large area rash, neck pain, diarrhea and/or vomiting, put them in the car and get to the doctor.
Social media parent groups are great for sharing tips, funny photos, news…even a story about your trip to the doctor…but please, don’t use them for obtaining a medical diagnosis if something has you worried. Be a good proactive parent, lest ye be judged.