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My city has a pretty popular Facebook group. It is as eclectic as you’d think for a small town in Texas. Mostly a lot of lost pets and questions about what dentist or doctor or plumber to use, but then you have the pot-stirrers. I mean, who doesn’t like to have rude thoughts and opinions lectured at them by a random stranger? 🤦♀️
I do enjoy Facebook groups for the community feeling they CAN give, but if you spend much time in Facebook groups you’ll see why our groups’ moderators are so important. People feeling supported about their messes instead of criticized for them in our group because of two things: my community of readers is the kindest and best, and second, the moderators delete any drama. I am a low drama person by nature. I hate contention and wasted energy arguing. So, when I’m part of a group that I’m not in charge of, I usually just steer clear of the drama and don’t engage with pot-stirring posts. (Sometimes, for fun, though, my husband and I will read comments out loud and laugh with each other. I view this as entertainment. It’s really funny when you say some of the stuff out loud to another person.)
If you’ve ever read troll-like and inflammatory comments on Facebook, you may enjoy laughing at this video where celebrities read mean tweets about them. Warning: these tweets are TERRIBLE, but I like watching the celebrities react.
Recently in my city’s Facebook Group, someone made a post about dogs, and as a dog-lover, I read the post. I pretty much regret it, but it has brought up a lot of memories and the post has been on my mind since. Like, today when I was grocery shopping with my 4 kids. My kids are older now and they were helping me push the cart and unload groceries, no one cried, but in the checkout line the person in front of us had a crying baby and there was a crying baby in the line next to us too. Crying babies at the store do not bother me, but evidently they bother some people on the Internet.
You see, someone made a post lecturing community members about not bringing animals into grocery stores. The post was inflammatory towards pet owners. Even though I understand the importance of this rule for sanitary reasons and to support actual support animals, the language was a little over the top.
Instead of a debate about pets in stores, people on this Facebook post started trying to make their point by saying they’d rather see a dog at the grocery store than all those bratty crying kids. And that sentiment was repeated and repeated. People, many people, were going so far as to tell people to leave their kids at home. There were 245 comments, mostly rude, before a moderator finally turned comments off.
Here’s the thing, I love my dog, but she is okay staying home by herself when I need to grocery shop. I’ll even usually come home with a new toy or treat for her (it’s kind of a problem, lol). Once upon a time, though, I had 3 kids aged 2 and under, because my twins were still 1 when my third daughter was born. It was years later before my 4th child, my boy, was born. The season of 3 tiny tiny humans was hard. I couldn’t leave my 3 little babies and toddlers home while I grocery shopped. That would have been child neglect – the notion is just silly. But, when we went sometimes one kid cried. Sometimes two cried. Sometimes, they all cried. It was a season in my life that was hard, and grocery shopping was one of the hardest things of all.
The comments on this community Facebook post that started about dogs in stores and ended with leave your kids at home hurt me so much. Because if I let myself, I can still remember some of the more traumatic comments and dirty looks I got. Rude people who were just piling on to my stress when I was sincerely struggling and just trying my best.
But, I also remember the kind people that would offer to push my cart for me for a minute while I was holding multiple children, hold doors open, or pick up something one of my kids dropped when my arms were full of kids and babies. These kind people redeemed all the cranky ones, who I’m sure thought I should have stayed home and starved.
I’m guessing if you’re reading this blog, you don’t hate children and you’re not part of the problem. Keep on being awesome.
Luckily for me, when I think back on the season in my life with LOTS of tiny people, I don’t usually remember grocery shopping at all. I’ve learned to block it out …. that is, until people post things on the Internet to remind me.
Sidenote: When I’m out and about in my little town, I have 99% good experiences with the people I meet and see. It is a wonderful, friendly place. I’m convinced that all the rude people stay home to troll the Internet.