Monday, June 30, 2008

Taken to Task

I'm a tad embroiled, though I shouldn't be. It's none of my business, of course, and I'm having a heckuva time figuring out why I feel so strongly about it.

You've heard of this "Twitter" thing, right? Well, I am on Twitter. I tweet. I'm a twit. Whatever. Over the weekend, I was on Twitter and a "very popular blogger" whose tweets I follow said something unkind about another blogger whose blog I also read. (Can I get the word 'blog' in there one more time? Doubt it.) And then Twitter blew up. The end.

Not really. Some people felt it necessary to fly to the insulted blogger's aid, and complain bitterly about the Very Popular Blogger. Others felt the need to pile even more commentary on the insulted blogger. Unkind words. Judgement. And not how we want citizens in a community to act.

I'm guilty. I left a comment on the Very Popular Blogger's post about the subject, in which she explains that she will always share her opinion, even when it is unpopular or outside the norm. I did not defend or condemn, but did speak to my concern about the way in which it was done-- publicly and with name calling. We're supposed to be above all that. I received an email regarding my comment, but as yet my comment has NOT been posted. Mysterious.

Anywho. This blog is not about blogging. It is about families. And mommies.

But stay with me-- there's a connection.

Have you ever sat with a group of your girlfriends and passed commentary on another woman's parenting? Or dished with your husband about another couple's marriage? Or clucked about how "out of control" you've seen a certain child behave, and commented about how that child's parents were ruining her? Dude. I so totally have. So I am not judging you now.

The problem with this, however, is that it does the opposite of help. It is the opposite of helping, and it does nothing for our shared humanity. That kind of behavior is not designed to help others. It is designed to help us feel superior. Ask yourself why you need to feel that way? For me, it comes from my own misgivings about how I am parenting, or how I am seen by others. And dishing with my girlfriends gives us all a common ground. We bolster each other-- but we bolster each other by putting others down. It's the kind of behavior we should have gotten over after high school, but we haven't. It's a strong pull-- the desire to kvetch. I feel hypocritical even posting about it, because sisters, I have SO been there. But I want to do better.

I want to be a better person. I want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. When I have a problem with someone, I'm going to take it to them. I am going to try to remember that other people's choices are not my business 99% of the time. And when I feel the urge to judge, well.. I will try my darnedest to keep it to myself. Unless it's funny. And then I am so blogging that. Just sayin'.


Heather said...

When I talk about other people's parenting styles with friends it's usually to say "wow, she's so perfect. Doesn't she ever scream at her kids like I do?"

These calm, patient, parents must be from Mars.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

That phenomenon you referred to, where you bring someone else down as a group to make yourself feel better, my husband coined a great term for that. He calls it "The Hate Circle." He found himself guilty of it a lot, and he makes a conscious effort now to avoid it.

It's like removing poison from your blood. It helps you stop being sick.

And it's a contagious sickness. So for every person who pulls themselves out of the hate circle, that many less others are infected.

Eh? ;-)

Kathie said...

Great post. Definitely something we all need to work on. It is so easy to be critical of others. Draws the attention away from ourselves. And you are so right. It never helps the other person and it only makes us small and petty.

Blessings from Costa Rica