is fed up with the vitriol hurled at “sharents” online.
Growing up, my sisters and I would spend many Saturday nights curled up under the table at our local restaurant while our parents ate dinner and drank wine with their friends. We were tired, they weren’t ready to leave, so we’d make ourselves comfy and have a little nap.
Imagine posting that on Facebook today: “Gonna have another wine. Kids knackered, so they are using napkins as pillows under the table. #parentlyf”
Imagine the he outrage. “Negligent parenting!” renting!” “How bloody selfish!”
It didn’t feel el negligent or selfish. In fact, t, we loved it.
Parenting in the age of social media ia is a risky business. Post t your latest birthdayy cake creation and you’ll be shamed for setting etting standards too high for other mums.ms.
Share a pic of your kid’s school lunch unch and someone will point out how chocolatee crackles are the first step tep to childhood obesity. esity.
Parenting can be a daunting experience xperience and sharing iss a way of coping with the he ups and downs of the world’s toughest est job. Mums have been sharing stories for centuries, but social media has made parental sharing (sharenting) different. A few months ago on air, I mentioned how my nine-year-old had started walking to school on his own. I shared how I had no idea you were meant to call the school to check your child had made it safely. I emailed the teacher at lunchtime after my friend filled me in on the parenting policy! Bit late! The panel then discussed how times had changed. When I was a kid I had to walk “three kays” to school on my own and my mum never had time to call to hear abo about my exciting arrival. She was tooto busy working and making rad c cakes. I thought I was sharing a trivi trivial anecdote about my son’s new-foun new-found independence, as part of a conversationconve about helicopter parenting.paren But I had opened a can of nasty worms. People went out of their way to tell me nine is too young for a kid to walk t to school, and I was negligen negligent for not calling to check he’d m made it safely. I’m not sure i if the fact the school is 75 metresme from our house and requiresre no road crossing wouldw mitigate the ang anger, but it’s not like I didn’t have my ow own worries about se sending my pr precious boy off on his own for the first time. Yet, my philosophy has always been I need to teach him independence so he knows how to cope in the world on his own.
It reminded me of the outcry after Rachael Finch mentioned her daughter spends weekends with her grandma, so Rachael and her partner can have some time to themselves each week. She might as well have put her hand in a blender.
She was, unsurprisingly, pilloried for being, you guessed it, “selfish”. Perhaps she might spend more time with her daughter during the week than a lot of other mums or wishes to maintain a healthy relationship with her hubby.
Regardless of her reasons, the immediate reaction was vicious outrage. In a world where there is so much to be outraged about, where does the energy for this come from? There is nothing wrong with having an opinion. But do we really need the vitriol?
We want mums and dads to share their lives with us; we want and need to feel part of a community.
“I thought I was sharing a trivial anecdote, but I opened a can of nasty worms”