When Elizabeth Joyce shared a picture on her own Facebook timeline of the custom-made bed her husband Tom had made for them and their five children – she never envisaged the negative comments that would come from it.
But now she’s hit back in a heartfelt, thoughtful and emotional YouTube video, saying: “I feel like there’s been a lot of judgement and hate,” when all she and her husband were trying to do was “the gosh darn best we can” for their kids.
The original photo Elizabeth shared shows a central bed for the couple with beds around it for each of their children aged 11, 9, 7, 3 and 1.
Elizabeth put the photo on Facebook where it was spotted by a website who asked if they could share it – Elizabeth agreed – but wasn’t ready for the negativity that followed, with people saying the children are ‘abused’ because they don’t have their own rooms.
In an earlier original blog post about the bed, Elizabeth explained that the whole thing came out of trying to reduce the chaos of coping with five kids. In addition, her husband is disabled.
“We just needed sleep. Tom is disabled and is often sick or needs care at night. I was up helping him, nursing a baby, putting kids back into their own beds, soothing a toddler woken by other kids… it was a mess!”
In her video, Elizabeth admits she is “super lucky” to have a network of friends and family who are totally supportive of the family’s sleeping arrangements – so when she received such criticism on social media she was surprised saying, “I thought people were nicer than they are”.
She adds that it seems, often on social media, people seem to “forget there’s a person behind the story – there’s so much more than just a picture”.
Elizabeth goes on to say that there is such a huge sense of entitlement, with people thinking that a child not having their own room is abuse and commented this is actually insulting to children who are being abused.
“It’s so sad, for our whole world. Where do we get off judging people’s choices in any aspect of their life?” she says.
For people who think, she says, “that because of the way they [her children] sleep at night we’re going to screw them up for the rest of their lives is just so sad”.
What do you think?
Do you ever feel judged for some of your parenting decisions? How does it make you feel? Tell us in the comments below.