When I was preparing to became a mom I had no plans to join play groups, mom groups, or any groups at all. Anti-social? Independent? A Loner? Call it what you will, I didn't expect to need much interaction with other parents in a formal, scheduled way. I have wonderful friends, some with children, some without. I figured this supportive group would be enough. Low and behold, my princess was born and before I even got home from the hospital I knew something wasn't right with me. In the hospital 5 days after a traumatic labour, I felt terribly detached from the whole newborn/mommy experience. Like I was watching a stranger hold and learn how to nurse a squirming baby with both hands crammed full of I.V. needles (my hands not the baby). I still remember the panic I felt when hubby's two week vacation was over, and I knew I was going to be alone with this little person that needed me for EVERYTHING. Post-partum depression became an un-welcomed house guest for 15 months.
With social anxiety that kept me home bound for weeks at a time, the only source of interaction for me was found in online communities. Blogging became a way for me to express my deepest fears on the worst days and a creative outlet on the good days. Twitter, facebook, and a host of blogger friends formed a safety net for me to bounce my mommy doubts, and in return I found support and grace in the friendly words of strangers. I had two instances with cyber-bullying in the last year. It made me wary of online community interaction. Now I stick to a few communities I trust and that I know will stand up against cyber-bullies. It scared me to think that people can justify being mean, just because they weren't talking to me face to face. I try not write anything I wouldn't say to someones face, and I let my conscience be my guide.
What has this got to do with the Mom Pledge? I'm not a fan of being labeled a "mommy blogger" because I have heard it used in a negative tone. I was a writer long before I had a child, and my interests, dreams and desires were formed long before motherhood. But I am proud to be "a mom who blogs" because being a mom has been one of my biggest dreams come true, and is a journey I love to talk about. Recently I joined this community because I can stand behind what they promote. And after experiencing some cyber-bullying myself, I strive to protect myself and stand against it with my friends. I believe that it's not enough to just think something is wrong...I try be pro-active in raising awareness, and fostering supportive places for people to meet. Check out my comment section and my reference to "verbal shin-kicking."
The Mom Pledge
I am a proud to be a mom. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my online activities. I can lead by example.
I pledge to treat my fellow moms with respect. I will acknowledge that there is no one, "right" way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family.
I believe a healthy dialogue on important issues is a good thing. I will welcome differing opinions when offered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner. And will treat those who do so in kind.
I stand up against cyber bullying. My online space reflects who I am and what I believe in. I will not tolerate comments that are defamatory, hateful or threatening.
I refuse to give those who attack a platform. I will remove their remarks with no mention or response. I can take control.
I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior.
I affirm that we are a community. As a member, I will strive to foster goodwill among moms. Together, we can make a difference.
Do you want to take the mom pledge for yourself?