COLUMN: Social media shaming during a pandemic

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Moms, do you fear being shamed for posting anything about your family online?

“Why are your kids getting so much screen time?”
“They are missing McDonald’s? They eat too much junk”
“You are working too much, spend some time with the kids”

In the streets of social media parenting, no one is doing anything right. And I mean, no one. I have come to learn and acknowledge this.

As a mom that made a conscious decision to share my parenting journey with an audience as a mommy blogger, I had to grow a thick skin. Luckily, I have not experienced any harshness over and above someone telling me I am going to hell for posting my birth video.

Right now, everyone is at home and everyone is trying to figure out what the hell they are doing. Honestly, we all don’t know.

What I do know is that in today’s world people don’t need an invitation to share their opinions on the parenting decisions you share online.

The latest post I saw was from a mom who recorded a video of her daughter crying because all the fast food joints were closed. The mom was giving her a list of all the restaurants that are closed down and with every name, the pre-schooler broke down even more.

It’s a funny video of a toddler being silly, right?

Wrong.

The mom was bashed for teaching her daughter unhealthy habits of eating too many takeouts. One mom commented, “maybe now you will learn to cook some healthy meals for your family”.

The biggest issue I always have with social media is that people judge without even knowing the context. Does the family eat take-outs every day, or do they eat them once a month and that’s how the child knows so many of them?

Why does it matter if a mother allows her kids to watch TV the whole day?

Which part of your social media follower’s lives gets affected if you let your kids sleep at 11 pm during this lockdown?

Social media has built a culture of public judgment and if you don’t believe, with conviction, in the decision that you make on behalf of your children and family, you will fall victim to the public shaming.

We all make parenting decisions that will suit us and our loved ones, and no one, especially a stranger, has the right to question that.

During this lockdown, do what feels right for you and your loved ones. Leave Lucy and Lerato alone with their perfection and judgment. They don’t feed you or your family.

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