The thing is, I know better than to read comments on posts (unless they are on MY blog--THEN I try to read and respond to ALL of them...so keep them coming!) because there are always haters, but I checked my email for the first time in months (weeks...? days...?) and there was one informing me that there were comments on this particular article. It hooked me because the first comment I read was negative and angry--not what I would expect for the article I had read. It reminded me of when I was pregnant with my first. We didn't know if we were having a boy or girl and I TRIED not to do the "I will NEVER" list, but I think we know how THAT turned out for me http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2011/11/ive-decided-that-instead-of-making-to.html?showComment=1327346411431#c6993091237695591002.
I was on the computer registering for the gazillion freebies that they promised me (but I never got because I got overwhelmed and confused by all of the shiny lights...I'm a L-I-T-T-L-E ADD). I somehow got onto a message board of some kind--I guess it would be considered a blog now...that WAS eight years ago (YIKES!)--and read about some STRONG opinions on breastfeeding, circumcision, nutrition--pretty much ANYTHING a new mom would ever think about was covered on this message board. The problem is, the board was FULL of haters. People on the defensive taking every word on the board out of context and as a personal assault. Not to mention the fact that most on there felt that everyone needed to either agree with them or die! It was the most horrifying thing I had ever seen, yet I couldn't stop reading it--you know--the whole train wreck thing. There were mothers who were grossly appalled at the fact that a person would do anything as inhumane as circumcising a baby. There were fathers who claimed that any mother not breastfeeding is a narcissistic human being who does not deserve to parent a child. There were those without babies insisting that to immunize your children is to send them off to certain death. There were those WITH babies insisting that those who do not immunize their children should be arrested and their children would be better off in foster care. I remember how very sad I felt when reading comment after comment of hate-filled words. I couldn't help but wonder what the goal was.
When I taught, I got my share of hate mail--some you would not even BELIEVE that a person would write to another person--usually based on something a sixteen-year-old child told his or her parent while pinky promising that it was true. Really--there was an instance of pinky promising that had my friend April and I roaring over for days. I cannot list how many times a parent has said to me, "Well, my child doesn't lie..." and proceeded to berate me for not being up to par for their brilliant "Honest Abe," while I thought of whether or not it would be appropriate (or legal) to video tape just one class to show the parent the true behavior of said child. It never came down to that and I never blamed the students. You are supposed to be an idiot when you are in high school--that's like the only job I excelled at in high school quite honestly, but your parent should know better. Your parent should...well...PARENT. I learned then that some people are full of anger and spend their lives deflecting and blaming others. Noted. On the message board I saw SO MUCH of that and it was really sad. The same thing happened today.
The article http://www.ncregister.com/blog/to-the-mother-with-only-one-child is a "letter" to any mother of one child, yet speaks to mothers--or parents--in general.. The title is a bit unsettling to some--this I understand. It appears to be the typical "Your life is so easy because you only have one child" title, but it is the exact opposite of that. The author conveys the difficulty of parenting ALL children regardless of number. She even goes on to state that it may even be EASIER for a parent of multiple children at times. After reading the comments, it finally occurred to me--people WANT to fight and be angry. People were seriously REACHING for things to anger them. Several even had the gall to be angered by the fact that the author has nine children. Really? Several went on to say that she is damaging the environment by having so many children. Are you kidding me? REALLY?! Don't get me wrong, I do not have the time, patience, money, or ovaries to have nine children, but are we really going to defend our rude judgment of others by using the ENVIRONMENT? I am just as worried about our environment as the next person, but are we really going to save a planet we have all but destroyed by not procreating as much? What if the person who can save our planet is your neighbor's thirteenth child, but you talked her out of having another (by bullying her and making her feel guilty and like she is a bad mother) so she could do her part to save the planet? Ridiculous.
So many of the comments (I think there were like five hundred total) were from people who took the author's words personally--but twisted those words to make them negative and hurtful.. they called her names, claiming that she is arrogant and demeaning, when all this poor woman was doing was to try to make others feel better about a time that may or may not be overwhelming and guilt-ridden for them. I don't know about you, but when I read something that does not apply to me, I move on, but these readers attacked. The fact that they could NOT relate to her words angered them and put them on the defensive while they hurled hateful insults at the writer. I have to say, It was the only time I felt happy that my little blog isn't syndicated. Why do so many people automatically assume the worst? Although most people liked what the author had to say and got the point (even if it did not apply to them) that she was trying to make, those few who did not, REALLY did not. They spoke of the author's tone as being condescending when it was compassionate. They called her arrogant when she was being real. Wouldn't life be so much better if we truly gave EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt? If we don't know the intent, perhaps we should assume it's to make people feel good. If we don't understand the words, perhaps we should assume they are meant for good. If we don't have something nice to say, perhaps we shouldn't say anything at all. And if we don't like what we are reading, perhaps we shouldn't read it. Unless it's MY blog. THEN you should read it and say REALLY nice things about it.
I guess my problem is with the fact that we live in a world where we spend our time comparing ourselves to others, assuming the worst and wishing we had what others have instead of embracing what we have and being happy for others when they have something we don't . To the parents who think that having multiple children is selfish and to those who think that having one child is selfish, you are all wrong. Wasting your time deciding how selfish OTHER parents are is selfish. Your time could be better spent doing about five thousand other things that would benefit your family--whether there are two of you or twenty.