It's a riddle that has confounded philosophers for ages: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, does it make a sound? Maybe. But a better question might be, if a hater never leaves the confines of the World Wide Web, should we really give a flying fark about him and his hate? This is the conundrum I faced recently when a mom friend of mine sent me a purportedly enraging link to a Salon.com article by Lynne Harris called "Everybody Hates Mommy." Get it, like Everybody Loves Raymond only...well, I'm sure you get it.
But I kid, I kid. The article made some valid points about whether or not modern day moms are unfairly maligned and stereo-typed. I agree that moms deserve tons of respect. Heck, I think everyone should call their mom daily, and send bi-weekly muffin baskets, to thank her just for taking the time to push your selfish, giant head out of her lady bits. (I also think it's high time Hallmark came out with a card specific to that sort of thing.) However, the evidence of this hate was gleaned mostly from online comments. And that's where I have a problem with the article. Sure, I'm all for sticking up for moms (and dads), but do we really need it? I mean, aside from a few random crazies and whackos, do any of these online mom-haters ever take their hate offline?
I, personally, in real-life, have never been called a selfish, entitled, stroller-nazi, breeder scum. And I've been one...um...a mom that is...for 3 1/2 years now. I've never been yelled at on an airplane, I've never been given attitude at a coffee shop and I've never gotten a tongue lashing at a diner. Nope, my daughter and I are allowed to roam freely, without reproach wherever we choose to go. So...my question is, why should we care about online jerks? I mean if we walked by a pack of surly teens, loitering outside the 7-11, we wouldn't expect them to stop what they're not doing to come and hold the door for us, would we? No, we would expect them to mumble (and possibly even yell) something dirty and derogatory about us or our body parts. So why, when those very same surly teens take the time to get a screen name and click on the "comment" link, do we give them more power?
I have no idea, but we do. A short time after the mommy-hating article came out, a friend of mine admitted that, after some online backlash had gotten particular nasty, he had actually been afraid to leave the house with his toddler for a few days. At first, I was surprised. I told him he shouldn't give a sweet crap what a bunch of online jerks and, if he had gone out, he would have found that people would smile and wave at him and his result of his selfish breeding...heck, some nice person would probably even hold the door open for them at the 7-11. But then I remembered a time when I decided to take Snappy to be studied for science in the hippiest place on earth, Berkeley.
I was scared. I had a baby who was unable to breast feed, but also needed to be fed every two hours, and that would mean bottles...of formula...in public...in Berkeley. Because of the hate I saw online, I was afraid that lactivistas would scream things like "breast hater" and "baby killer" every time I whipped out the bottle. I practiced my calm yet snarky explanations of cleft palate and how hard it is to suck through a straw with a hole in it, as well as a running count of the time, in hours, minutes and seconds, that I had chained my stupid self to a hospital-grade pump in a vain attempt to get my milk to come in. I was prepared for the onslaught. And, guess what? No onslaught. Not only did no one scream at me for bottle feeding in Berkeley, they didn't do it in San Francisco or New Hampshire or anywhere else I gave my precious little angel ounces upon ounces of Devil's Teat Juice (aka Safeway O Organics brand formula).**
It's time we took back the day (stroller-nazis don't go out at night). Fair is fair. Eye of the tiger and all that. It's time all us stinky, entitled, selfish breeders stopped caring about what a bunch of Jimbos and Nelsons think about us, and go out into the real world (the place, not the reality show) and live our lives as if no one is watching. Because no one is, and if they are...F them.
*i love this picture. I found it on the web. I will gladly give credit to the creator.
**yep. I know the whack-job lactivistas are going come out of the woodwork to comment on this post of this usually un-commented upon blog, but I promise to only publish those comments from whack-jobs who have clearly read this post. Show your work, whackos.