(Don’t be) Mean Girls

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When  first becoming a parent your life shrinks, it contracts into a small world about small people, where you are doing really big important things (raising children) but in a teensy world.  The living room, the local park, the clinic, the Doctor’s waiting room, the nursery, now that’s where it’s at.  In essence through both need  (that move to suburbia) and choice (I want to see if little Johnny starts walking today), life tends to happen closer to home with less variation than before, at least in my experience.

If a city centre has a nightlife but I can’t see it does it really have a nightlife?

Hey look I think I’ve spotted some rarely seen 22 year olds.internet

Luckily in the corner of the room, the internet is beckoning, winking its little light on the side of the laptop or smart phone, taking you to places that you used to go, keeping you in touch with friends you never have time to see, playing music to you and making you laugh, informing you and filling your brain with useless information about the Kardashians and dragging you into debates and self-doubt and petty arguments and bitch scraps…Breathe, ah yes, you made it to the mother’s forums.

Don’t get me wrong I love a forum, I have learnt a lot from them, I meet some extremely nice people through them, I’ve experienced random acts of kindness because of them, expanded my professional network, found work and workers on them and on the parenting sites I have been given the support and advice that I needed in the early and not so early days of pre, during and post pregnancy and into motherhood. In lieu of ‘real friends’ and communities when you are an ex-pat it’s invaluable. However, beware the dark side.

When a forum goes bad.

smiley faceWhen 100s of hormonal, sleep deprived, over-sensitive-about-their-parenting-skills women pile onto some poor unsuspecting person’s thread and rip the living daylights out of her – no offence smiley face, this is just my opinion smiley face, when you have more than one you’ll understand smiley face.  STOP WITH THE SMILEY FACE it doesn’t make what you’re saying any less presumptuous, judgmental or patronizing.

In the anonymity of our offices and homes we have the tendency to type without thinking, to click send before re-reading, to think about the audience before answering or before posting the initial thread for that matter – I am guilty of the latter for sure. Engage brain before operating keyboard. Engage brain before operating keyboard. That’s what my mother would say, as she also says, ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say don’t say it’.

Passive aggression never did anyone any good.  If all else fails and you can’t manage to be nice just click the leave forum button and let the nice people get on with expanding our teensy worlds.  Smiley face.

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2 responses »

  1. I never got into reading forums – I think before I figured out how to use them, through my own small communities i heard that there were already self-made villains passing judgement with nasty comments and negative attitudes toward anything but themselves. As a person who hates the anonymity of the telephone, I think the forums would probably send me into a panic attack! Still, I’ll post kind words on the blogs and walls of friends, trying my best not to be too chatty after a glass of wine. (You’ll notice I appear here most often before 9am…!) And don’t get me started on reader comments on newspaper and magazine peices! I had to put the news away for a while, given how full of hatred the internet-reading Americans appeared to be…

    • I have to say that the forums have really helped me with practical stuff. I tend to steer clear of the more personal ones. The ones I am part of now are all really Israel-centric for anglo speakers, I couldn’t stand the parenting ones. Way to much self righteousness and judgement going on. I totally get what your saying about the newspaper comments, walk away Katie walk away. People can be so mean for no reason whatsoever. Anyhoooo I am v happy you post on my blog because despite my stats saying people read my garble nobody is ever riled enough to pass comment!! (not yet anyway) PS Sorry about HMV, sad sad but inevitable times

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