My Soapbox Is Different Than Yours, and That’s Okay!
I can scarcely get on social media anymore without encountering an angry rant, preachy status update, or a new meme demonizing a product, practice, or behavior. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is certain they are doing it the “right” way. Read through the following list and see how these statements make you feel.
My baby cries it out.
We sleep-train. Our baby needs to be on a schedule.
We allow our baby to sleep and eat as they please.
My baby is formula fed.
I breast fed until my kids were 2 1/2.
I don’t read labels.
My kids are allowed to eat processed foods.
My kids are vegan.
I don’t allow any sugar or non-organic foods in my home.
Our kids sleep with us.
Our kids participate in an extra-curricular activity every night.
Our kids have never participated in an extra-curricular activity.
I only use cloth diapers.
I’ve gone through more disposable diapers than I care to count.
Did you have any visceral reactions as you read through that list? Did you feel a fire in your belly as you read through the practices and beliefs that are contrary to your own? Did you feel compelled to share a link to an article or post about the findings of the latest study? Chances are high that the answer is yes….and those statements were made without an attached opinion! We as mothers feel so strongly about the way we parent and the choices we make. Sometimes, we may struggle with accepting choices and lifestyles that are contrary to our own, and our resulting words and actions may be tearing other mothers down.
I see people make these types of statements ALL the time, but in a much different way. It’s not enough to believe in your cause you must also attack the mothers who don’t share your passion. There’s always an addendum. There isn’t just a difference of opinion, there is nearly always a put-down or personal attack. (Or again, one of those “charming” little memes, articles, or rants.)
I am begging mothers to think about the way their words make others feel. Simply my list of statements made without opinions or personal feelings likely elicited feelings and emotions. Consider how someone will feel if one of those statements are made in a tirade or with an attached meme exposing the sins and evils of anyone in opposition to it.
I get it. I understand that we all have issues and beliefs that we care deeply about. You wake up each day and make the choices we believe in and that we feel works best for our family and our situation. So does everyone else…even the mom who drinks aspartame, the mom who enjoys making leprechaun traps and hiding the Elf on the Shelf, and the mom who chose to formula feed rather than breast feed. We are all doing our best. No one tucks their child in at night and thinks, “I want to wake up and make choices that will harm you. I want to thoroughly mess up your emotional, spiritual, and physical health.” No. We do what we think is right. And my version of right might be very different from yours….and that’s okay.
It’s okay that we all have different soapboxes. Every parent has an issue or two that fires them up. What we need to decide collectively is that it’s okay that your soapbox looks different than mine. We have to be okay with our differences. We have to accept that just because I don’t get fired up about what makes you tick doesn’t mean I’m a bad person or a delinquent mother. I don’t have to care about the issues you do to be a good mom and vice versa.
So I’m asking you to learn to hold your tongue and control the things you share on social media. Talking about the things you love and feel strongly about is wonderful and something everyone is entitled to do. But before you begin to share about an issue, ask yourself if you’re simply sharing your heart, or if you’re attaching an attack. Are you criticizing those who aren’t standing on your box alongside you? Are you demanding that everyone head out to the store and pick up your personal soapbox?
Support each other. Accept the differences. Understand that not everyone feels the same you do about your hot-button issues. You’re not a bad mother. Neither is she. My soapbox is different than yours, and that’s okay.
*featured image found at sweetbiandbi.wordpress.com