My experience with keyboard warriors April 07 2015 6 Comments
So there was an article written about me, my family, my blog and a general overview of our life in the newspaper over the Easter weekend. Obviously I happily agreed to do it to help launch my business and to get some photo’s of me with the kids. Something Mums often forget to do.
Wow, the reaction has really been interesting. Of course my beautiful friends who are always so supportive have sent me lots of messages and to my delight I have received a lot of emails and messages from people I do not know, but who related to the article and have consequently read a few of my blog posts. Gorgeous messages from every day people who have identified with a few of things I have been writing about. Thank you to those Mummies, it made my weekend. Oh and some Dads as well, reminding me that these Mums are so appreciated.
BUT what about the barrage of negativity that has come from other women?
Of course, I have heard about online trolls and anonymous protesters who confidently sit from behind their keyboards and madly type away their opinions. Firstly I will say that with my age has come wisdom and I have not taken anything personally. In fact I have found it quite interesting to be in the middle of a social experiment.
Firstly, the article accidentally stated that I was Shane’s wife. Although we have been together for the best part of 20 years, that created a lot of debate. Most of which I thought wouldn’t arise in 2015, but to be expected maybe.
(Photo courtesy of the Herald Sun. Photographer Nicole Cleary).
Secondly, one of the pictures featured a roller skate with pink shoelaces. Shock horror, why would that pinkness be there in a house full of boys??!! This one was more of a surprise.
Then there were the comments implying that I thought I needed a medal just because I have four kids. Again they missed the point. I am the first to say how good I have it (if they read the article I would have hoped they’d get this message) but how I still find it challenging at times. Yes there are SO many more Mums with MORE kids and MORE jobs and MORE stresses in their life.
Somehow they thought it was a competition that I had personally declared I was winning.
Again a surprise to me (and hopefully those who know me).
The name for my blog “Flat Out Mum” reflects the busy-ness of my life AS WELL AS my love of flat shoes. A creative play on words aimed to resonate with other Mums like me. Mums with one baby or twelve. Mums stuck at home, Mums stuck at work, Mums everywhere. For the record, I do not see being busy as a badge of honour either. I try every day to simplify my life and to let our children be as "un-busy" as possible. Rushing and chaos is not the aim, even though it is often the outcome.
The most interesting reaction was to the fact that since we had our twins, our family has used an Au Pair. For those that are not familiar, this is normally a young traveller who is seeking a safe place to live for a few months and not only gain the experience of living with an Australian family, but also earn a small amount of “pocket money” to fund the next phase of their travels. We have had eight of these lovely girls stay with and help our family in the past three years. It has been an amazing experience for us and for a few hours each day, a great help to me.
In the spirit of honesty I was very upfront about our use of Au pair’s to the Herald Sun and in fact to anyone who will let me broadcast their benefits. I had the suspicion that the inclusion of this fact would cause the reaction that I have a full-time, fully trained super nanny living with me and shadowing my children at all times. This is far from the truth, but I wanted to be clear that I was not pretending to be doing everything by myself 24/7. The whole premise of my blog is that women should STOP pretending that we can do it all and have it all, at the same time as looking perfect.
I guess my point here is that again some people (unfortunately mainly women) have used this as an opportunity to turn it into some type of sick competition. An opportunity to degrade and an opportunity to jump to conclusions about how other people live. As I said at the beginning, the amateur psychologist in me has enjoyed the entertainment and the positive replies more than outweighed the opinions of this small group of small minded people.
In fact, the reaction to this small, light-hearted article has actually confirmed to me that my message about motherhood and about being a woman in 2015 is simple. It can be very challenging at times, but it is an amazing experience that I am grateful to be having. I fought for each one of my four children and for all of their tantrums and idiosyncrasies, most of the time I actually think of each of them as perfect in their own special way.
Life is not a race, nor a competition and happiness comes from within. You need to make the best of what you have, in that moment, in that place each day. Idealistic maybe, but a simple message.
Unfortunately the people making these flippant comments are probably the same ones who shudder at the thought of their own children being cyber bullied in the future. The same people who if their own son ended up liking the colour pink, they would not flinch for a second. The same people who would much rather their daughter chooses to be in a happy, healthy relationship with a man she adores, than to watch her rushing down the aisle with another type of man who requires a piece of paper to certify their love.
And the same people who put these quotes on their Instagram: