Posting Blog Comments Anonymously – Is it Right or Wrong?
Yesterday I received a comment on my blog. I've chosen not to publish it, but I do want to address it. I will not address the specifics of the woman's issue with my post, rather I want to write about the spirit of the post (and, should anyone choose to leave a comment—ahem, mom—please address the spirit of the post. I know that I am a good mother to Baby Girl and I do not need to use this space to argue that fact.)
First, let me give thanks for each and every person who reads my blog, whether posted here on on Project Eve. I am grateful for my readers, and I am especially grateful when folks engage the material by either sharing it with others or leaving a comment. I recognize that by posting my words in such a public space that I open myself up to criticism. Surely, not everyone will agree with my beliefs, questions, ideas, methods, and lipstick choices however, I do believe that there is a way that we can engage in healthy dialogue, even in the blogosphere. Which leads me to my first issue with the comment…
Ma'am, you chose to leave an anonymous comment. No name. No pseudonym. No Twitter handle. No email address. Just Anonymous. I don't know what to call you. And because of that, you have closed the door on what could have been a beautiful dialogue. You had an issue with one post, “The Benefits of Daycare,” but interrupted another post, “Portals Into God's Presence: I Need Thee” with your comment. It's as if you ran into the room, grabbed the microphone from me, shouted your thoughts, dropped the mic, and ran out of the room. It's easy to make such remarks when you are Anonymous, unknown and unsourced. And while our socially connected world has provided tremendous opportunity for conversations that previously were unavailable to us, it has also opened the door to many Internet thugs hiding behind keyboards making assumptions and spouting their stuff, without taking the time to engage the writers or other folks leaving comments. I am disgusted when I read articles online where writers choose to be vulnerable—whether I agree with them or not—only to read through the comment section and some Anonymous person leave harmful and/or hateful words. Ms. Anonymous, if you really wanted to add something to the discussion you would have left your name, something for me to address you with dignity and respect, so we could talk.
Secondly, even though it has taken some time, I am quite confident in my parenting and in the decisions that hubby and I have made for our family. That said, if there is anything I have learned in 18 months of parenting is that it is vital to respect, and support when possible, whatever parenting decisions other mothers make—especially first-time and new mothers whose insecurities and hormone surges render us vulnerable. Short of neglect and abuse, I no longer judge how another mother chooses to feed, diaper, clothe, discipline, or put her baby to sleep. Ms. Anonymous, you initially read my piece on Project Eve, a website for inspiring women. To inspire means to breathe life into and, for a moment, your comment left me breathless. Your comment did the opposite of what that community is about. Your comment did the opposite of what I am about. In fact, when I slept on your words, I was reminded of a passage I read in Brené Brown's book Daring Greatly:
Interestingly, in terms of shame triggers for women, motherhood is a close second…Society views womanhood and motherhood as inextricably bound; therefore our value as women is often determined by where we are in relations to our roles as mothers or potential mothers…If you're working outside the home, the first questions is “What about the children?” If you're not working, the first question is “What kind of example are you setting for your daughters?” Mother shame is ubiquitous—it's a birthright for girls and women. (Daring Greatly, 86-87).
You tried to shame me and my decision. Your Anonymous position was steeped in self-righteousness. But what you said was not about me or my Baby Girl. I would have to agree with Brené Brown (again), in her chapter on Wholehearted Parenting where she asserts:
After all, we rarely engage in self-righteous judgement when we feel confident about our decisions…if doubt lurks beneath my choices, that self-righteous critic will spring to life in not-so-subtle parenting moments that happen because my underlying fear of not being the perfect parent is driving my need to confirm that, at the very least, I am better than you. (Daring Greatly, 216)
Ms. Anonymous, while you are feeling sorry for my Baby Girl, I pray that you become so comfortable in who you are and the decisions that you have made that you don't need to critique me and mine, or anyone else, from behind the shadows.
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