Sooo many of us use social media daily to share GREAT parenting stories. They can be anything from safety warnings – like the one from a mum showing the dangers of putting your kids’ cots too close together – to funny picture-led stories, like the now infamous ‘crap mum teatime fails’ one.
Then are those that seem really mundane, like the story from a mum detailing her nightmare grocery shop with her sons that left her in tears, which got 28,000 reactions on Facebook because people just totally got what she was saying.
But every now and then, these posts go wrong. Sometimes really, really wrong. Intentions are good – maybe to teach, to amuse or to empathise – but inadvertently they miss the mark – badly.
1. The fed-up mum of twins
A classic example of this is the mum of twins who decided to share a pic of her little ones in a buggy, holding signs on which she’d written an instant answer to every “obvious” question she’d ever got about them. These included “Yes, they are mine”, “Yes, they are twins,” “Yes, my hands are full” and “You have twins in your family. Great”. Feel the sentiment in that last one…
Mum Annie Nolan accompanied the pic with the statement: “It’s a joke people ?” – and while many parents of multiples in particular gave her a thumbs up – she got lots of criticism as well, from people pointing out that, quite often when someone else is asking about your child they’re just being interested.
2. The “exhausted mum” selfie
Then there was Erin Kiernan, who shared a very honest photo of herself as an exhausted new mum, next to herself in her usual work attire as a local news presenter.
While you might have expected this post to get a proper thumbs up from tired mammas everywhere, instead she got trolled for how she looked and even accused using a pic of someone else in the “knackered” pic.
Full of sass though – perhaps because she’s used to the limelight in her television career, Erin hit back powerfully at her haters stating:
“These ARE NOT pictures of the same person.
“The woman on the left is well rested, spent two hours on her hair and makeup, had a professional photographer take her picture (and photoshop it, I’m sure), and is in the “glowing” second trimester of pregnancy.
“The woman on the right got two hours of sleep (maybe), hadn’t looked in the mirror, took a selfie, did not put a filter on it and is covered with spit up and drool from a teething and very crabby baby.
“You are an idiot if you think these are pictures of the same woman.”
3. The “quickie” mum
But what if you’re a regular mum who gets totally slated by the public? Responding might not come so easy. Just recently, new mum and blogger Mel Watts got slated for her: “Did we just have a quickie?” post about her and her hubby.
While Mel’s a blogger, we’re guessing she’s not overly used to being in the public eye – and we think she might have been a bit taken aback by the vitriol her post inspired (she got hundreds of comments, some which said she was submissive, others even suggesting her compliance was tantamount to being raped).
So much so – in fact – that she felt she had to respond to the haters by posting an emotional video, in which she broke down in tears, expressing her upset at the bullying online behaviour she witnessed.
4. The “family bed” mum
Another mum felt it was necessary to film a video response after she was verbally abused online for sharing photos of her specially adapted family bed.
Elizabeth Joyce shared the photo of her ‘family bed’, which sleeps all 5 of her kids as well as her and her husband, who is disabled.
She explained they all just “need sleep” and that having an arrangement like that makes it easier – but she got accused of child abuse and cruelty for not letting her kids have their own room.
Her response in her video? “I just thought people were nicer.”
5. The “wet nurse” mum
If you think having to post a video to defend yourself is bad enough, spare a thought for Ronja Wiedenbeck, who found herself on live TV defending her decision to appeal for wet nurses to breastfeed her baby on Facebook.
Ronja was unable to feed her son herself as was in hospital and on strong medication, so took to Facebook to ask if anyone would be willing to feed her newborn for her.
She was accused of putting her child in a dangerous situation as she didn’t screen the women coming forward before they fed her son. But – asked if she’d do the same again – she said she would.
And the lesson is…
The internet is a vast and unpredictable space and you never quite know where it’s going to take you.
In some of the instances above the Facebook post was a personal one just shared with close friends. But the friends shared it with others, who shared it with others and – BOOM! – it went viral. And once it’s out there you can’t get it back, peeps.
Some other posts – like the “quickie” mum or the “exhausted” mum – are very similar to other posts that got applauded. For example, when blogger Constance Hall shared a pic of her “parent sex” , social media when nuts – in a good way. Mums loved her honesty.
So why did it go so badly for Mel Watts? Perhaps she had the ‘wrong’ type of followers (Hall has die-hard fans who love her no nonsense talk), or perhaps she wrote in a way that could be misconstrued. Either way, we reckon she wishes she’d never written the post.
So, if you are thinking of sharing something parenting (or otherwise for that matter) on social media – make sure you know your settings, imagine how you’d feel if it went beyond your friends and family, and be prepared that the response might not always be what you were expecting.
You have been warned ⚡