I can not tell you the amount of blog posts, instagram stories etcetera, that have referred to women picking on, bullying, or putting down other women, other mothers, and I know this is nothing new, but this week it’s just got me asking what the F***?
I can understand, (well not really understand per say, but I expect it) when I hear about the playground politics of girls in school. I am talking here about my eleven year old, or 14 year old and their peers, and the confusion of whether to stay true to their values, or be swept up by the excitement of bonding over saying mean things about another girl behind her back. Young girls, and of course teenage girls go through this stage of trying to figure out their place in the world, and in the heiracrchy of the animal kingdom (well the school yard). It is natural, I mean all animals do this right? So it is natural that as puberty hits, so does confusion and sometimes sadly nastiness can appear. As a mum, a parent, (and in partnership with other role models both male and female in my daughters lives), I will do and say whatever I can in the hope that I raise girls who are kind, empathetic, strong, independent, have high moral standards, are accepting, and respectful of others and their beliefs and who will stand up for what they believe in. I aim to raise my daughters to make a positive difference in the world around them, and who will respect themselves, use their voice and power for good, and will speak up against mistreatment of women, men, animals and the whole planet! I will do whatever I can to not raise cruel, bitchy, spiteful women. With that said, I am aware this is not a perfect world, and they are not perfect children, I am not perfect, in case you’re missing the point no body is perfect! So I will stuff up, and my kids will stuff up, that’s OK, after all we learn that way, as long as we are paying attention!
this is not a perfect world, and they are not perfect children, I am not perfect, in case you’re missing the point, no body is perfect!
As much as I want to wish and believe my girls will not hurt another girls feelings, or break a friends heart, I know all of that is not in my control. Trust me I wish it was! We all like to think as parents that our kids will turn out as good people, we work bloody hard at it, and yet our children will break someone’s heart, they will hurt someone’s feeling whether intentional, or not. They will fall down and get back up, they will make some mistakes that they may always regret. I for one have often thought about wrapping them in cotton wool, or at least moving them to a remote land where we can happily, live our life swimming with dolphins, and if my eleven year old had her way she would have pet unicorns there too!
Anyway, as I do, I am rambling, but my point is I am aware that this goes on in young girls, tweens and teens, some of it is no doubt part of the primal animals we are, the desire for acceptance, etcetera, but some of it sadly is from the primary role models in these young girls lives. Yep that’s us!
As parents we are usually the main role model, so when I hear about women freezing other women out at the school gate, or deliberately ignoring them at their daughters dance class, or as one Instagramer had happen, two school mums deliberately crossing the road when they saw her coming, what the?
Another mum on Instagram who has the most picture perfect life was sent a message saying she had to stop pretending her kids are never ‘fera’l. OK we all know (besides it maybe not the best choice of word to call a child) they can all be feral at times. What child hasn’t thrown a tantrum, or refused to eat their dinner, or just said the most embarrassing thing ever in front of someone we were hoping to make a good impression on? What I love is how this particular mum responded (she has a 3 year old girl, a 22 month old boy and a one month old girl) she said in a story, that although she shouldn’t have to justify it, of course her children have “feral” moments, and of course she doesn’t wake up looking like she is a model, she actively chooses to share her favourite beautiful images on Instagram. As she also stated, when one of her children is having a meltdown her first thought is not to go and grab her camera to photograph, or film them! Her first thought is to soothe them and she knows in those moments that they need her full attention. Well said, I say! She also noted that she wants her children to look back and see the good memories.
I agree, my children would be devastated if I put a camera in their face whilst they were upset. If someone pulled out a camera whilst I was having a panic attack it would feel like a betrayal. I am open about my imperfections, I am open about my mental health. I am open about having bad days, but I don’t want to post images of myself, or my kids in our most heartfelt, vulnerable and sometimes broken moments. That doesn’t make me fake, it makes me a person who has hard days, whose kids and husband have hard days, but I don’t share images of that. There are some accounts on Instagram where if you were naive enough you would believe that their children, their homes, their every single life moment was a moment of bliss and perfection, but come on we are not that naive! We are just aware that they are the images they love to share. Sometimes if you take the time to read the comment below the pretty picture it may reveal there is more to the story. Aren’t we all entitled to some privacy anyway?
Some would say, “well you choose to share your images, or write a public blog so you deserve whatever comments come your way”. I say that is just an excuse that bullies use to try and bring others down in order to make themselves feel better, and I believe they truly believe they are justified in attacking others! The mum I spoke of earlier has 3 young children, one being a newborn, how could anyone feel good, or better about themselves by attacking her when she is at such a vulnerable and beautiful stage in her life? Bullies will always have their twisted justification.
On the flip side, some bloggers and Instagramers will share images of their snotty child, or film a tantrum, and they get abused too! The fact is there are sadly people out there who just search for the negatives, who want to bring everyone down with them. Some people say they are doing it to help, but they are not. Unless you witness, or are truly concerned about a child or adult being at risk of abuse, or harm then keep your opinions to yourself. If you are worried then do it the right way and contact someone who can look into things properly.
We all have the right to share the images we want to on Instagram, or other social media platforms. If we wish to share so called ‘perfect’, or even staged and edited images then we can, just like if we wish to share our messy home, or our so called ‘imperfections’ we can!
Then let’s get back to these so called mean mums. Is it really any wonder girls and teens are being so nasty when adult women and men cannot control their own bitchiness? OK so we are not going to get along with everyone we meet, and most certainly not everyone is going to like us. Some people we clique with instantly, others we get to know slower and then love, and some will seemly forever just bug us for some unknown reason. It really is OK to not please, or be liked by everyone! I promise it is! And likewise it is OK if we try, but just can’t seem to like someone, it’s normal. What is not OK is to be outright rude, disrespectful, nasty and cruel to another person and just because one person in a group may not like someone, doesn’t mean everyone in that group of friends has to follow suit. There are no Queen Bees! No one person can dictate who you can, or cannot be friends with, or say hello to! I understand that kids find that concept hard, but as adults, as strong independent women we can make up our own minds, and if so called Queen Bee doesn’t like not being allowed to push you around well that is her own issue, not yours.
Sometimes we learn the hard way that we stood by the wrong person. If you see a mum or dad standing alone make an effort and say hi, at least wave and smile, acknowledge they exist! Don’t judge too quickly and don’t always trust others opinions of a person, make your own mind up. If there is a new parent at dancing, or basketball just imagine how alone you might feel if that was you. We are not in school anymore. Yes we all want acceptance, we all still crave to fit in, but at what cost to our soul? Embrace people’s differences, see what you may learn, or even find what you have in common.
If you are the new parent at a school, or the new person at an activity, or club, as hard as it can be put yourself out there, smile and say hello, let them know you are friendly. You will find a like minded person, you may even find a group of new friends, be approachable, be open to new experiences. Then one day you will see a new person come in and you will be the first to say hi to them.
This post may be a little jumbled, I tend to write and not stop to think whether it all makes sense, especially when I feel frustrated, or passionate about something! My point is though, we are all human. We know what it feels like to feel unsure, or left out, so let’s be kinder to one another, let’s accept we are all different, let’s accept no one is perfect no matter what their social profile shows, and let’s know we have no right to bully others, or try to cut them down because we feel bad! If you are having a hard time, talk to others and you will find you are not alone. If you feel the need to cut others down then think about why? Maybe you need to do something kind for yourself, take care of yourself better? Bullying often comes from a place of pain, but please don’t think you can fix that by hurting someone else.
Let’s be positive role models, let’s let the next generation know that we need to have each other’s backs, we need to help one another rise and feel loved and accepted! Let’s show young girls we don’t need to be bitchy in order to fit in, or impress. It really is up to us to show them the path.
Thanks for reading, especially those who actually stuck through reading the whole thing! I would love your opinions? I would love to hear your stories, or experiences. Have you been bullied? Where you a bully? Do you feel we are doing enough as role models for the next generation?
Love, Mac xx