The Party Moms Should Refuse…

Today I am blessed with the wise words of  my dear friends Kathy and Melinda from Mothering From Scratch!    Their site is one of encouragement and inspiration through all their posts and Momtor contributors alike.  If you haven’t stopped by their place, you are truly missing out on some rich blessings.  They are a treasure to take in and their insights on motherhood and their strong faith shine in every post.  Today they share a convicting message worthy of all bloggers and anyone really…  conversations that need deleting.

 The Party Invite Moms Should Refuse

by Kathy Helgemo and Melinda Means, Mothering From Scratch

There’s a party going on.

Everyone has something in common.

Conversations flow freely.

And it’s a gathering you can join 24 hours a day.

The environment is comfortable and anonymous — making it feel safe to let it all hang out.

You have a fabulous time and make tons of new friends.

But when you leave the party, you don’t feel energized or refreshed. Instead, you feel drained and ashamed.

We’re not talking about the hangover from a wild night in Vegas.

No. We’re talking about what often happens in the online Mommy World. We readily acknowledge that very healthy and encouraging mom connections are made online. We are both better for the wisdom and friendships we’ve developed with some amazing mamas.

But there’s a dark temptation and a tantalizing force associated with the mommy online experience.

Misery loves company — and lots of it. Venting about the trials and annoyances of motherhood is not new. Women have been doing it for centuries. However, those conversations occurred between two close friends. Those gripes were “between you, me and the fencepost.”  When mothers vent now it’s between you, me and all of cyberspace. And if our children aren’t old enough to read now, they. will. be.

The seemingly harmless post about our child’s annoying habit that gets tons of comments and public commiseration has the potential to inflict plenty of harm when the child stumbles upon it.

This takes place in text and Facebook messages — not just our blogs. Just imagine that every post we write, every text we send, every Facebook status we post was placed in a time capsule. And we have to give it to our children when they turn 16.

That will sober us up — quick.

Our venting can affect our children and families in other ways as well — even if they never see our rantings. Because while what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas (not really), our negativity grows virally. The more we rant and rave and it’s validated, the more we project that pessimism and resentment into our relationships with our children.

Sometimes we tend to think that if something is true, it’s okay to type it. But just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s productive or loving.

Let’s do ourselves, our husbands and our children a favor. Let’s a have a Deleting Party! Why don’t we go back in our phone, Facebook, blog, Twitter and other social media histories and delete anything that we wouldn’t feel comfortable showing to our family members.

Unsure of how to delete something? Here’s help:

How to delete a message on Facebook

How to delete Facebook statuses

How to delete Tweets

How to delete Twitter direct messages

How to delete iPhone messages

Need to get in the party mood? Here’s a little help from Kool & the Gang. Party on, Mamas!

Kool & the Gang YouTube video

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I try to make sure my postings on The Boy focus on capturing his sweetness or quirkiness, but now you’ve got me thinking. I’ll have to review and delete when necessary! Thank you for reminding us that respect is key, ladies. xo

    • says

      {Kathy} Michelle, you do a wonderful job of displaying so much positivity about being a mom. I think your idea of a recap of our blogs is a good idea. Perhaps even our Facebook feeds. Your Boy would be proud to see how you have captured his childhood.

  2. says

    Yep, I agree. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I would hate to have all my sins or quirks publically aired. Though I am sure I have not always been “above reproach” in this regard, I do try to think twice or triple time before I post something about my family, no matter what capacity it is, unless it’s totally loving and praiseworthy. If it is about a struggle, I tell myself, “I am going to let them read this or tell them about it”. If I still want to post it, then I do. If I feel hesitant, I don’t post. Saying or doing things in the heat of the moment is never a good idea. Though we all falter in this, it doesn’t have to be habit. Great post, ladies! 🙂 It’s an excellent reminder that, “The internet is forever”…or texts, etc., so “be careful little hands what you do”!

    • says

      {Kathy} Oh my goodness, I heard the song in my head as you wrote that. We are called to be conscious about our online behavior, as in all of our behavior. We should really ask our kids, “If I said ‘this’ about you, how would you feel?” At ten, their answer could be significantly different than 16.

      • says

        Exactly! We do need to ask our kids how they’d feel about it, and we do need to make sure that we consider their possible future feelings, too! It can be a fine line sometimes, and sometimes what we think will be ok in years to come doesn’t turn out that way, so we can’t be afraid to hit that delete button later. I figure it this way: My family always has veto power in regards to my posts. If anyone of them said, “Mom/Wife, I don’t think that needs to be online” no matter what the reason, it’s gone. Period. It’s that trust that keeps me honest and thinking twice, if you know what I mean.

    • says

      {Kathy} I think it is so important that parents understand social media and how the internet works. I have heard parents say, “I don’t do that Facebook thing. My kids won’t either. I just don’t like it.” Only to find out that their kid has been on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest for months unmonitored. Embracing the potential for social media for positivity and watching for any negative impact is so important.

  3. says

    This is one of the best posts I have read. Part of the reason I waited so long to start my blog is so I could figure out a way to do it that was respectful. Above all, I have to respect their privacy. I never want my kids to look back on something I wrote and be embarrassed, hurt, or ashamed. Or for them to think I don’t love being a mom. Hopefully so far I have achieved that.

  4. says

    I think I’ve gotten better at this but it is still a struggle. Some weeks I can’t help it. I need to know that I am not alone in the hard parts of parenting. As far as my kids or Leo seeing what I write, nothing is a secret and sometimes seeing it helps to change it. My son once said, “I’m not going to argue with you because it will probably end up in the blog.” It saved me a huge headache where my answer was still going to be no. 🙂 Oh, and you guys all have my permission to skip today’s post. 🙂

  5. says

    Perfectly stated. There is a fine line between sharing my experience in motherhood and sharing my child’s private moments. If I ever cross that line, please tell me.

  6. says

    This is great. I always think about my boys reading my posts when I write them. If I ever think something will hurt them (or anyone), I just don’t post. It’s better to vent that stuff to my husband or a friend. When I do workshops on blogging or social media, I always tell people to imagine their post on a billboard for everyone to see, with their name on it. If you’re not comfortable with that, then don’t post! Deleting after the fact doesn’t always work!

  7. says

    Sound, sound advice. It’s all too easy to complain, especially in cyberspace – about things we should talk about privately, among our closest in real life friends – if we need to blow off steam. And we all need to blow off steam – but doing so in the right environment is key.

    • says

      {Kathy} We agree. We were just having this very conversation recently. It IS easy to do the wrong thing. It always is. It’s that whole “road less traveled” business. We are greatly rewarded for doing the right thing—just not right away. That’s life. Even in the online world.

  8. says

    This is such a good post. I always try to keep this in mind. In that same vein, I never want to get too far in this blogging journey and feel like I’ve overshared my life or my children’s lives. Our children have a right to privacy.

    • says

      {Kathy} Yes! Children DO have the right to privacy. If they were adults and we were spouting off about them, I dare say they would feel like they were being marginalized. Protecting our children starts so early in their life.

  9. says

    I had a post once that my daughter read and it really upset her. It took weeks to undo the emotional damage. My post was not rude, but it discussed her dream and how she might not reach it and how I was rooting for her. She only “comprehended” that middle part. I’m happy to say that most of the mommies I read online are very good about what they post.

    • says

      {Melinda} Sometimes we blog about something and don’t even realize that it might be hurtful to our kids, Laura. We can learn from experiences like that and it helps us to be more sensitive in the future. I’ve always found your blog to be extremely respectful of your kids. 🙂

  10. says

    You’ve sure got me thinking! I’m a social media addict/blogger/photographer. My kids are pretty young right now, but they won’t always be…thanks.

  11. says

    I JUST made this comment in my post today!! Please stop sharing so much. Yes, we all have bad days but unless you’re slamming yourself (which you shouldn’t do anyhow), don’t post it! And if you feel like posting that Junior had a tough day, spin it so that it’s not just about him. Our society has totally gotten TMI syndrome and we all need to back off the over sharing. Trust me – it’s not worth the page hits.

    • says

      {Melinda} So true .. it is NOT worth the page hits. I try to focus more on myself and my struggles in motherhood than on my kids — and I try to keep whatever I say about them either neutral or positive. 🙂

  12. says

    Wow. I totally agree. I think sharing the struggles of motherhood is very different from venting about kids annoying habits and anything that can potentially demean our children or anyone for that matter. Although I think that I’ve been doing a good job, it doesn’t hurt to go back and double check 🙂

  13. says

    I don’t use my kids’ real names, and I always read the blog to them before I hit “publish.” If they say ‘no,’ it doesn’t go. They’ve never said ‘no,’ maybe because I never try to write in a demeaning way about them.

    Great advice here. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of the audience, so I’ll look through my subscribers list for a refresher.

    My oldest also has my blog as an app on her iPhone. I think that’s cool, because it’s right there with Pinterest, Temple Run and all the other important things in her life. I can’t ever forget that.

  14. says

    Very powerful words. I try not to focus on what my kids do, unless it is something that will not effect them in the future. After all, the digital wall has made everything a lot more public. And the last thing I would want to do is tear them down.

  15. says

    I’ve thought about this a lot. I write posts that are mostly humorous, but once in a while, I’d be like – “oooh – don’t want them to see this!” Overall, I’d hope that my online journal would be a keepsake for them…of my love, my sacrifice, and my foibles. Great food for thought!!!!

    • says

      {Melinda} My son, especially, loves to look back on old blog posts I’ve written … anything I’ve written about him is either funny or positive, so , like you said, it’s kind of looking back at a scrapbook. 🙂

      Thanks again for all your help, Julie … hoping to get podcasting soon!

  16. says

    Go you for speaking the truth! And I love that you actually provided the links to help people made any necessary edits. Awed and impressed, and thanks 🙂

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