Tag Archives: mommy wars

How I Stay Away From Internet / Online Drama

If you’re online long enough whether via blogs, Facebook, forums etc..,it’s very easy to get caught up in some sort of drama.  A discussion can get heated.  You may start calling names even if you’d rarely do that in-person.

I’ve witnessed many of these fights/dramas over the years but so far, I’ve been able to stay neutral and not get involved.   The only recent time I remember getting a little annoyed was on a personal finance blog. The main argument was that you shouldn’t complain about getting promoted if you don’t stay late.  Since I don’t equate true productivity with a physical presence, I had to jump in and comment.  Not the wisest decision since 95% of the people agreed with the blogger.  After a little back and forth with the blogger, I can’t say I changed his mind.  However, he did agree that a lot of people make up work (useless projects, overly complicated reports that no one reads, needless charts, etc..) simply to appear busy and stay late.  He stood by the statement that you need to work late to get promotions but at least acknowledged that people who didn’t  stay late were not simply lazy or not dedicated enough!

Anyway, I don’t know if I have any special secrets but here’s how and why I stay out of drama.

1) First, I have enough stress/drama in real life. Enough said!

2) I only tend to participate in discussions if I feel like someone is open-minded or open to real discussion. Part of me really hopes I change someone’s mind on a social or political issue.  Since I have this idea in the back of my head, I also don’t tend to get angry or name-call since those methods are not persuasive.

3) I focus on the comment, not the person.  This is not a good thing per se but I often read comments without paying attention to the name of the person (unless they link to their own blog). I read Grumpy Rumblings regularly but it took me a long, long time to differentiate among various commenters and I still don’t pay attention.  Therefore, I don’t tend to notice if someone is on several of the same blogs or consistently post the same type of comments.

4) I give people the benefit of the doubt.  Sometimes I read a comment when I’m having a stressful day.  I know that my bad mood colors my reactions to certain comments.  Sometimes I’m having a bad day or very busy and hit “publish” before I really had a chance to fine-tune my argument or comment.  This can lead to over-simplification and misunderstanding.  I just assume others do the same so if their comment is a little mean-spirited that one day, I don’t take it personally.

Overall I really enjoy online discussions about a variety of interesting topics. I don’t want to stay away from a blog or forum simply because things can get heated.

Undercover Working Mom

Many years ago, a childless friend and I were discussing another friend’s kids.  As childless people are prone to delusions about the realities of parenthood, she said that this friend’s kids were unruly because they didn’t get enough attention from their working mom.  No mention of dad.   My response was a very lame “Really?”  My mom worked and she is great but I didn’t have a strong opinion on the subject at the time; parenthood seemed so far away.  I had no idea that the so-called “Mommy Wars” was a-brewing!

Another time, my husband’s colleague said that his wife had quit her job to stay home and that this was best for all kids.  We were still pre-kids but I’m proud to say that my husband responded by saying that you can’t generalize working mothers.  He had a working mom and also knew I planned to keep working  once we had kids.

Now that I’m a working mom, I think back to those two conversations and have a stronger reaction.  I still believe the “Mommy Wars” (working vs. stay-at-home moms) are more hype than reality.  People just have time or energy to judge others that often.   At the same time, I was curious to find out if working moms are really judged or pitied by those who stay home.

Recently, I took some vacation time to attend a Toddler/Parenting class with my younger one.  He’s shy and needs the social interaction.  It was a weekday morning so I only needed to take a partial work day off.  I enjoyed having that extra bonding time and shortened work week!

A part of me had this crazy idea: I could pretend to be a Stay-at-home mom and find out what other SAH-moms really think of working mothers.  Are you ready to find out…..?

Drumroll please….

Can you handle the truth?

Find out next Wednesday….

This isn't me, just a random picture of a working mom with baby!

This isn’t me, just a random picture of a working mom with baby!

No, seriously. I didn’t pretend to be a SAH-mom and I didn’t try to set up attacks by denigrating working moms first to get a reaction.   There were at least 2 other women who were planning to return to work after some years off.  All the other people I spoke with were either full-time stay-at-home moms or grandparents.  Note: I live in a middle-class neighborhood so there weren’t any nannies at the class.

Some observations:

A few of the moms were a bit incredulous that I, a working mom, had taken my vacation time to do this toddler play class.  This probably took me out of the line of fire IF any of them were prone to attacks on working moms.

I was sort of the stereotypical working mom when it came to scrapbooking. It’s not that I don’t cherish memories of my kid(s) but I am not crafty or creative.  I  shamelessly copied other’s mom’s scrapbooking ideas.

I did spend a little more time playing or watching my kid than some other moms. However,  I wanted him to play with other kids so I made sure not to hover too much.  I didn’t judge the other moms at all for using this time for adult conversation. After all they’re home with their kids all day so they didn’t really need this extra time.

I panicked when it was my turn to bring snacks…

My kid was a bit unruly and grabbed food off other kids’ plates.  I wonder if his behavior reflected badly on me.  If it did, I was oblivious to any mean stares.

The good news is that I had an easy time talking with these women.  Many were very nice, smart and interesting.  I didn’t really feel a division at all.

I plan to sign up for more classes in the fall!

By the way, I would love to read a real undercover piece from a journalist who pretends to be a SAH-mom (and vice versa).  Would socio-economic levels make a difference? Would they find out the “Mommy Wars” is merely hype. Or would they discover a big divide?