Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, way back in 2007 when we found out I was pregnant with Butter, I turned to the internet and message boards for advice. The questions were immense.
- “Is this normal?”
- “Can I eat sushi?” [For the record, I did eat sushi while pregnant with both of my boys. If you want to know why I made that decision when so many women avoid it, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot me an @ on twitter.
- “What cheeses should I avoid?”
In hindsight, signing up to use that web site was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. Because once upon a time, I was a member of an “offboard,” which was a message board on the side where mommies-to-be made fun of other mommies-to-be. I was friends with those people, because they were [physically] close to me. Once upon a time – this is both liberating and terrifying to admit – I was proud to be considered a “Mean Mommy.” I thought because I was behind my computer screen, no one was actually being hurt.
But then I got burned, and I learned a valuable lesson.
Bullying is a Big Deal these days. A Very Big Deal. There are stories everywhere of kids who have been bullied and done extreme things in the face of that bullying. It’s a real shame. If nothing else, my own experience led me to examine the things I say when my boys are within ear shot.
I never intentionally put people down, but I’m especially careful of making negative remarks in front of my kids. Though I may often think it, I’ll never say something “sucks” in front of Butter, who is a little parrot these days. Butter is taught to be polite. Say please, thank you, excuse me, bless you, etc.