“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women” – Madeleine Albright.
Social media is a fantastic way of communicating and connecting with new Mums. You can connect with people all over the country, the world and most importantly, in your local area, where you can end up meeting other Mums. The Mums I follow on social media are a great source of motivation and keep me sane, knowing that I am not alone in the challenges of being a Mummy.
Social media can also be a Mum’s worst nightmare. I never joined any specific Mum groups on Facebook until recently and never asked questions online, which I think takes courage at the beginning. I was so worried about being criticised for my parenting and I know a lot of other Mummies feel the same and are so careful about what they post.
Celebrities experience trolling constantly but actually everyone is vulnerable to it. Unfortunately there are nasty people online who are quick to shoot someone down from behind their keyboard or phone. It is cowardly. A woman could post on a group for advice and get annihilated. Someone who is emotionally vulnerable, who may just need some kindness or support is now in an even worse position because of someone’s vile judgement.
I have heard stories from other Mums of what has been said in these groups and messages they have been sent online.
A friend of mine, with her second child, was considering weaning her baby from 4 months and was unsure what to do first. Ultimately she knew her baby, read the signs but like so many of us, myself included, she doubted herself. Understandably so as weaning is a daunting experience. So, she posted on a Facebook group and the comments she got were horrendous but not only that, someone directly messaged her! She was told that she was a bad Mum for “stuffing your baby full of shit”. My friend was crushed. All she needed was another Mum to understand and say “you’ve got this, you’re doing a great job”.
There are two deeply upsetting parts to this. Firstly, the very natural feeling of a Mama doubting herself and just wanting to do the very best for her baby, but all Mums need to remember; you know your baby! Give me someone else’s baby and I would need very specific instructions, as we all would. All babies are very different and you know yours. Try not to doubt yourself, but when you inevitably will, always turn to a close friend, your Mum, your partner. They will pick you up.
Secondly, the need for other Mums or women to be unkind to each other shocks me. We are all committed to doing our best at the hardest job ever. It is scary, overwhelming, emotional, relentless and SO, SO, SO special. Why not admit how hard it is to be a Mum and so offer support and only kindness to other Mums?
Madeleine Albright once said “there is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”.
There is nothing more special than being told that your child is happy and content. It means you are a brilliant Mum. If you ever have the opportunity to say that to another Mum, say it, it will make her day, just like it would make yours.
We’ve all had crap days, we’ve all been there and we all need support. If you find yourself following a page or commenting on a group which makes you feel uncomfortable, unfollow! You do not have time for that in your life. There are the most amazing Mums on Facebook and Instagram who can become your Mum community, you just need to find them.
Be kind to yourself, be kind to other Mums and be #mumderstanding. Their crap day today could be yours tomorrow.