Mommy Life and Lifestyle

Mommy bullying is a ‘Thing’!

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This is a subject that has been bothering me for quite some time. When I joined social forums on Facebook some 6 years ago, I remember them to be a happy place. Mothers helped, urged and encouraged others. Sadly, a lot has changed. Nowadays, mothers are intent on bullying, bashing up, condemning and bringing down others.

A few days ago, a concerned mother wrote on one of the Facebook groups for parenting, “My 9 months old baby is suffering from bad cold. What should I give him?”

Her response got some more than 50-60 comments from fellow mommies. One would have thought such good Samaritans these mommies are, helping a fellow mommy in need! If only that were the case. Most of these mommies were actually bullies who bashed this mommy for asking this question on a social forum whereas she should have called up a doctor instead. Well, they were right. But the poor mother wasn’t wrong either. We all have a tendency to ask for help from a family member or a friend when in need. In today’s scenario where most of us live in nuclear families, social forums are the first SOS-platforms for most mothers. So it is quite natural for one to ask her online friends. What she was looking for was some sympathy, and not condemnation.

I can understand you have been there and done that, but there are new mommies who are still learning the ropes of motherhood. What is routine for you, is new for her, and she might get panicky over small things. So instead of bullying her – do the following:

Ignore – This is the simplest thing to do. If you think it’s a silly question, ignore it. You are not obliged to reply to her. There are many other members in the group who are more than willing to. So just scroll down the question, and forget about it.

Let her vent – A social forum is a place where mothers can vent or rant – be it about their kids, husband or in laws. You might not like it, but then you are not obliged to like everything. Try to understand it must have taken a lot of courage on her part to share a private or family thing with others. So, respect her sentiments.

Let her utilize the forum as she thinks fit (given the group admin is OK with it too). However, if you think the nature of the post is not in keeping with the rules of the group, notify the admin or just keep mum.

Guide – If you feel the question has been asked umpteen times before in the forum, tell her so in kind words. You can even guide her as to how to find previous queries on a forum.

Be gentle – She is a woman who is in panic. Do nothing to aggravate her. Try to calm her down by saying what you tell your child when he finds himself in a panicky situation. “It’s OK!”, “It’s not a big deal!”, “It will get over soon!”, “There’s nothing much to worry!”.

Reply – If you really know the answer and are willing to share without judgement, then go ahead, that’s what a social forum is for. Tell her in clean terms what she needs to do.

Tolerate – And, lastly tolerate. There are all kinds of people in a social group or forum. It’s alright if you don’t see eye to eye with everyone in the group. It’s quite natural actually! You don’t even have to love them. That’s humanly impossible. However, you can at least co-exist peacefully without creating controversies or telling people off. Learn to tolerate like how you would tolerate a fellow passenger in the next seat who snores or talks loudly. Remember E.M Forster, the celebrated British literary figure, who extolled the virtues of tolerance; “Tolerance is a very dull virtue. It is boring. Unlike love, it has always had a bad press. It is negative. It merely means putting up with people, being able to stand things.” So tolerate!

We teach our kids not to bully others and get miserable when our kids get bullied at school or at parks. Then, how come we don’t practice the same thing ourselves. How do we justify ourselves in bullying or picking up on other mothers? Who gives us the right? What makes us right and others wrong? Who gets to decide that?

It’s a mad, mad world out there. And mothers are often said to be the paragons of virtue who bring some sort of sense in this crazy world. Then, why do we stray off the path? If the God chose the mother because He couldn’t be everywhere, He must have chosen wrong, and must be now repenting it!

So let’s be kind to each other and let’s stop bullying.

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  1. Right Anshu!! We have really become a very intolerant society. Have forgot the importance of just lending a listening ear. Your kid will be fine in a couple of days we Uid have been a better statement surely.
    Also I am amazed to have your new post in my mail box today. I have no energy and words now to write , how do you do it after writing continuously for a month?

    • Glad you second my thoughts, Aesha! Tolerance is a great virtue and very much needed by the society at large. After seeing off Tara, I realized I hadn’t written as a mommy for a while now. 🙂 So was raring to go…

  2. The biggest issue across these days is of not being tolerant and thining we are the know it alls. Its sad how such bashing happens on social media, and the best way to tackle it( and also as you have mentioned is to ignore it all). Ofcourse with a hope that we all must work towards being kind towards each other, nevertheless when one comes across a bully the best is to stay away from them and turn our minds towards the positive zones of our lives.

    • Agree with you Ramya! On seeing the hurtful comments on social media, there are times when my blood boils and I feel like giving it back, then I step back thinking what would be the difference between them and me. Why should I drag it unnecessarily? And so I choose to ignore.

  3. this is woman shaming a woman anshu. i have gone thrrough this of latest. when my article was published in momspressso, i had experienced this. i really cant understand how weird a woman can be when she enjoys seeing another woman getting bullied or bashed up in social media. they think they are genious or brilliant and do this kinda sarcastic things.

    • So sorry for you Deepa. I have been through this myself a few years ago, it has stopped bothering me. But, when I saw this young mother being harassed just because she asked an innocent question, I really saw red. Remember, how our mother used to teach us when we were small ‘be nice to everyone’, I guess we have forgotten those values and don’t know ‘what being nice’ really means anymore.

  4. Sound advice to all, anshu.

    I avoid fb completely. I used to like it. Then 2 years ago i deleted my acct. So much more peaceful!

  5. Agree with you on this one di..I thot it will be a while before you post..but yeeeeee Ur at it again..??????

  6. The question dots seem silly to me to ask on a social media platform but I would rather ignore it. The problem with over indulgence in social media is – people literally talk anything and everything and a lot of it is irrelevant

    • I agree Akshata, people talk anything and everything, and most of it is irrelevant, but to the person who is posing the question it is not. Many a times the person is genuine and still she gets bullied. My request is to ignore the question and the person rather than giving a rude reply.

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