I went out Saturday night to celebrate a friend’s 40th. I wrote in my EDP column about my fun evening where I drank a little too much, then very tongue in cheek style poked fun at myself having to parent through a hangover the next day. My children were safely being looked after and my husband remained entirely sober. In my world there’s no harm done here but wow… Read the comments section on the paper then come back and read the below the picture follow up article I’ve just bashed out after speaking on BBC Radio Suffold about my column and about those comments!
As a parenting columnist and blogger who puts a lot of her life on-line I’m open to criticism and accept it goes part and parcel with my job. Do I like to be trolled and have my every decision scrutinised with negativity? Well, no, who would? But I understand there are always going to be those who have a need to make comment. I’m not sure if they have too much time on their hands, are so thoroughly miserable with their own lives they have a need to try and bring others down or if they are just so spit on your neck jealous of everyone else they simply cannot help themselves from spewing out the bile. Probably a combination of all three but in a world where we should be celebrating the fact we are all different and practicing as well as preaching the message to be kind always, it’s often a bitter pill to swallow if I know about it. So I don’t very often.
However, this morning the BBC got in contact about my EDP weekly column. This week I wrote about the perils of choosing to party when in your 40s and parenting 4 children. I spoke about my Saturday night antics of dancing and singing and having one too many while my Mum safely and soberly looked after the kiddos for us. This weekend was the first time we’ve been out as a couple in the evening since pre-pandemic and we had a great time. Much needed fun with each other and with friends and Jonny chose to be designated driver after being able to take time with good friends to clink beers far more times than I since Posie was born. A joy of being a breast feeder is that I’m needed all the time, I love that, but for Jonny life has been more free. While I’m sure he would lactate if he could, to help me out, biology doesn’t allow it and I’ve born the brunt of most feeds and been less able to have an evening out. This is all fine as far as I’m concerned, I love being a Mum and if I could never go out again because I am one then I’d be fine with that. But I can and why do I have to feel bad about having a break? I’m human after all. My children were safe, I had a good time, where’s the hard?
But when other broadcasters and journalists get in touch about something you’ve written it generally spells COMMENT SECTION. And if I was to do an interview then I’d want to be forearmed so I had a look… Oh my… All critical, all wildly inaccurate, most without having read the article and the most common denominator in unpleasant commenting, all from anonymous accounts with made up names. When someone has something nice to say, and they do often, they generally message me from their personal accounts. Sometimes they even send me hand written cards and letters which is touching and incredibly cheering. I don’t only need accolades and applause though, I’m very definitely agreeable to not being agreed with and if someone has constructive criticism or a difference of opinion they’d like to chat about in an adult and intelligent manner, then again, I’m super happy to engage as long as you don’t hide yourself from me.
Anonymous trolling is rather different to intelligent debate however and it comes solidly in the form not worth the effort of knowing about it, let alone being taken on board. I don’t read, don’t look, don’t care if I’m honest. Think and say what you like about me but if you aren’t able to own that, stand up and be counted, then it simply doesn’t have any place to be recognised. Or rather you don’t have any place to be recognised in my world. The comments today are as you’d expect, critical of a Mother having fun, drinking and having a life. Demanding that my husband is poorer as a result as he would have been looking forward to a drink and surely he, as a man, shouldn’t be designated driver. Don’t we all know by now that women are allowed to drive the car when their husband’s drink and at no other time… I mean… Another likened me to Madeline McCann’s parents who left their children alone in a hotel room while they went for dinner. Another said I was irresponsible to have night out… They went on. I got the gist, did my interview, we laughed about the people who have the time to comment in this manner and as you were Stan, here I am parenting the crap out of today by writing, boobing, nursing (one is home poorly) and taxi-ing (another has a hospital appointment). I think I do ok at parenting and though I drop balls at times, I don’t consider having my Mum to babysit while I have a night off to be dropping a ball. Restorative therapy to say hey, you’re a human being with a life more like!
In my world I stand up for my opinions and the things I believe in even if they might not be the most popular choices. I won’t say anything I’m not prepared to back with my name attached to it and I am proud to say I’m exactly the same in real life. I don’t talk about people behind their backs and am 100% always willing to be honest and open and speak to people face to face if I don’t like or agree with something they are doing. I have the guts to do that and feel quite sorry for those who don’t. How sad it must be to live a life having to hide your opinions behind a keyboard, only able to voice thought while hiding at home behind a closed door.
Unfortunately, it’s these people’s opinions that no one needs or wants to read. Well, no one with anything good about them at any rate. Ah well, so just make like me and don’t read them. Unless you have to. And then remember this. People who say nasty things to and about others be that on a school play ground or on a comments section of a newspaper you write for, are only unhappy with themselves. If they had anything about them, any life to live, fun to have or happiness in their hearts then they wouldn’t need to make personal comment.