I don’t really understand social media, the internet, clickbait, or anything related to these things, but I have recently been trying to post more on Instagram. It turns out it’s impossible to increase your following by only using the app to look at pictures of the Kardashians. I am decidedly not great at promoting myself or creating daily content, so it’s been a struggle for the, like, four days I’ve been making an effort.
I never post about hot-button issues because I do not care for drama of any kind, but I thought I’d take a chance on a topic I have very firm views about: vaccination. I figured if I posted about my daughter getting her shots and only added pro-vaccine tags, I might not invite the anti-vaxxers to camp out on my page. However, it seems I caught the attention of one such activist, and she was quick to let me know how uninformed I am about medicine, and how I clearly do not want what’s best for my daughter. Like I said, I do not like drama of any kind. Coming up with sick burns is not my style, nor my strength. I was as open as I could be before giving up and blocking her, because to be honest, science is not negotiable.
I like to think this woman and those like her are posting because they truly believe they will save people from harm and not just to be pot-stirrers on social media where everyone is suddenly very brave from behind their keyboard. I let her post for a while, but when it became clear her tone was belligerent, I blocked her. I have lovely, kind, thoughtful followers and do not want them subjected to forceful bullshit from someone who is decidedly not an expert. And why, whhhyyyyy do people like this always patronizingly claim that if I had done thorough “research” I would definitely be enlightened and agree with whatever nonsense they’re pushing? And why does “research” always mean, “look at this bonkers fringe website that confirms my already dubious ideas?” Sorry friends, but I will take scientific research, clinical studies, medical boards, and decades of evidence over your “vaccines make everyone sterile” hocus pocus.
My motherhood journey is constantly evolving, and I learn new things every day. Every family is different. Every kid in every family is different. Baby-wearer? Stroller-pusher? Bottle fed? Breast fed? Pumper? Bassinet in your room? Crib in a nursery? You do you, girl. As long as what you’re doing keeps your family safe and happy, that’s wonderful! But when your aggressive “advice” is to leave your children and community vulnerable to disease because you feel like vaccines are harmful? Newp.
I’m not here to discuss your choices, though. I’m here to discuss mom-trolling. “If you wanted what’s best for your child, you wouldn’t have her vaccinated.” No. Ma’am. With very few exceptions, parents all over the world are doing their damnedest to do right by their kids. Anyone who suggests otherwise, (especially anyone without children giving unsolicited advice to parents, which, hold my purse, because I need to regulate) is completely out of line. We all want what’s best for our kids, and people trolling your decision to co-sleep is helpful to no one. And we do need help and support, because being a parent is a trying occupation. We make hundreds of decisions a day that could impact our kids’ health and futures and psychotherapy sessions and we do not need anyone suggesting we aren’t doing our absolute best not to screw this up.
We are all making mistakes every day. We yell when we shouldn’t, our kids fall down on our watch, we give them their first taste of peanut butter only to discover they’re terribly allergic (hi, that was me). The strength of a parent is in getting up and trying again, a hundred times a day, every day, until the day we die. Some days our best is not great, but it’s still the best we can do at the time.
Anyone who presumes to know your heart has no clue the internal monologue and yes, research, going on before the big decisions are made. Do we vaccinate? Circumcise? Let them have screen time? Put them in daycare? Redshirt the kindergarten kid? Push them into sports? Test their blood for all the allergens or just avoid peanuts forever? It is literally endless, there is always something to choose without knowing what all the ripple effects throughout their whole lives will be, but we are making the best choices we can with all the information and advice at our disposal.
Parents the world over should be on the same team: Team Barely-Holding-it-Together. If you’ve got a great tip that makes caring for children easier, please share it with the group. If you would like to let everyone know that parents who give their children one Happy Meal are ensuring they become obese for their entire lifetime and obviously don’t care at all about the kids’ health, please exit stage left. You have no idea what circumstances led to Happy Meals being on the menu that day, so keep your nastiness to yourself or go find another team for judgmental assholes. We are working very hard over here to keep this ship afloat, and we don’t need your shitty “advice” poking holes in the hull.