Cat fight on the mom blog: Are we meaner than the sports blogs?

In a groundbreaking segment, the Today show figured out that Moms are mean to each other on parenting blogs. Shocking I know!! (They also pieced together like Sherlock Holmes that people trying to egg on others are called “trolls.”)

While I’m glad the hosts of the Today show have caught up with the rest of America, I do think it’s worth discussing why moms ARE so mean to each other on parenting blogs? Do you think they are meaner than the fanatics on the sports blogs or the political blogs? (Cause those can get very ugly too! The only time we can make the mom blog any uglier is when we talk about husbands going to sports – ie the Georgia games.)

I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years now and I have to admit I was stunned at first by the level of vitriol produced on our blog.

I’ve written before that I thought it would be all it-takes-a-village community where everyone supported each other and were kind and loving.

And sometimes we are to each other. I’m always so proud and pleased when we have a useful discussion or when we say yes that has happened to me and here is how we handled it! I love it when we don’t judge and instead offer an ear or advice.

I think there are three main reasons why moms are so mean to each other on parenting blogs in general:

  1. I think anytime something is anonymous, like a blog, people are much meaner than they would be in person.
  2. People feel very passionately about their parenting. No one thinks they are making bad decisions about their child rearing. If you chose something different for your child than another parent, then one of you has to be wrong.
  3. While mothers don’t think they are making wrong decision, they do have doubt and guilt lurking in the back of their brains and to stave off those feelings they go medieval on the blog.

I have learned to avoid certain topics that I know we can’t win on. We will never, ever settle the stay-at-home, work-outside-the-home debate. I usually try to avoid it – although I got sucked into it last week by a “troll.”

I also try to avoid breastfeeding/formula feeding whenever possible. You may not have noticed but I was a day late on that breastfeeding story last week because I just didn’t want to get into. I only used the story when I had the angle of how can we facilitate 90 percent breastfeeding instead of should 90 percent breastfeed. The facilitating discussion went really well. The other discussion would have gotten ugly!

So what do you think? Overall are moms too mean to each other on mom blogs? Do you think we are meaner than folks commenting on the sports and political blogs?

Is it possible for moms to be nicer to each other on parenting blogs?

80 comments Add your comment

Let's face it...

April 13th, 2010
6:39 am

…women, young or old, have always been nastier to other women throughout history (just think back to middle / high school) – it is just part of the female DNA, so this really not groundbreaking news. And, no, I am not a “troll”, though I have been accused of such, and will be again, but that is OK.

And to use a Sports Blog term...

April 13th, 2010
6:40 am

Jeff

April 13th, 2010
6:47 am

Trust me, after some of the political battles I’ve been through over the past year, y’all are NOTHING compared to the heat of political war.

That said, y’all and Get Schooled WERE a good training ground for these political wars I now fight, thanks! (I think… :D)

Phyllis West - mean mom

April 13th, 2010
6:49 am

I have called a “mean mom” so many times I have lost count. Here is my answer when my 8 or 9 year old say this to me.
“Yes, I am a mean mom! I am so mean because I want you to grow up and know that you can’t have everything you want, unless you work hard to EARN it. I will give you everything you need…food, shelter, good values and morals, education, some entertainment and an unbelievable amount of love. I will not give you every toy you think you need. I won’t allow you to watch an ungodly amount of television or play video games till your thumbs are numb. I will require you play outside in the sunshine with your friends. You will need to play a sport, any sport of your choosing, so you learn what teamwork is all about. You will get good grades in school and I will help you with whatever you need to do so. You are required to be nice and compassionate to others. You are not required to take any attitude from some of these children whose parents don’t teach them right from wrong. I will be you biggest ally but I will also give you any punishment you deserve. Yes, I am a mean mom, who loves you more than my life itself and I want you to grow into a productive, loving, good member of this society, so you too, can grow up to be a mean mom or dad.

Grandma

April 13th, 2010
7:07 am

Thank you, Phyllis West, for your comment. You made my day!

Hannah

April 13th, 2010
7:12 am

Phyllis, did you read the article or did you just want to throw your two cents in? The blog isn’t about being mean to your kids, it’s about being mean to other moms.

And I’m not a mom, so this doesn’t count as me being a mean mom :)

Snidely Buttright

April 13th, 2010
7:16 am

y’all are mean because breeders are so full of themselves, so abrim with self-satisfaction and entitlement that any hint, any *suggestion* that you and your screaming little tyrants are not Rulers-of-All-You-Survey™ leaves you gasping in rage that ANYone would *dare* to think that YOUR mewling offspring is anything except super special and extraordinary.

of course that’s just my opinion, gleaned from years of observation.

Cyndi

April 13th, 2010
7:16 am

Phyllis, I don’t think you are mean, more parents should be like this so their children don’t grow up feeling “entitled”. You are disciplining and teaching that you don’t always get what you want.That part of parenting is the hardest because your children say that but they will appreciate it one day!

I think she was really talking about how mean “moms” are to each other. And it is true people will write things that they would never say to your face. Hiding behind the “pen” so to speak makes it easy for them to say whatever they want and you get no chance to defend your position or to even have an opinion. When I take my granddaughters to ballet (at a church, no less) and listen to some of the “soccer moms” talk about everyone, and they get downright mean, I have to leave the room. But when they think someone is paying attention they change their tune. Even my mother-in-law always says,”I love her/him dearly, but” and then makes the slam. She thinks if you tell someone that you love the “victim of her venom” it is ok to rip them up.

Causual Male Observer

April 13th, 2010
7:21 am

Most men protect Ideals, such as family, nation, politics, religon, etc. As a whole, women protects her own, the children, against all others, includuing other women. This is a good thing, an act of nature, for with out this basic natural instinct, we would fail as a community, or even as basic as failing as a species. The average male does not stick around for the children, for the woman is the only true chance for survival of the children. This is true for every species on this earth, with few exceptions.

motherjanegoose

April 13th, 2010
7:21 am

@ Phyllis…I too am a member of the MEAN MOM club. If we could enlist more to join us, the prison guards might be out of a job…LOL and some teachers might like to go to the classroom.

I think T is talking about those who are MEAN to others here. Yes, I am nodding my head at your first point T, of being anonymous. I cannot believe the things bloggers ( even regulars) say to you: LAME TOPIC…YAWN…COPY AND PASTE… not to mention the snide remarks to others on this blog. I could NEVER do what you do and put up with the negativity….you have my admiration.

My answer to number 2 is the sidewalk theory….it is easy to be passionate about what you do but you can stand up to your passion when your children are grown and they have turned out o.k. Mine are not both fully on their own yet but they are pretty close and while I have made many mistakes, the passion I had for most things has molded them into good kids who will be a part of the last sentence Phyllis shared today…LOL! Sometimes mine have been complete idiots and I will admit it!

Number 3…we all make mistakes…find someone who IS doing it right and watch what they do….admitting mistakes is hard for everyone!

I have to scoot today but I will check in later….hugs to all and enjoy the sun.

motherjanegoose

April 13th, 2010
7:26 am

@ hannah…HAHAHA….thanks for stepping up to the plate and illustrating mean…too funny.

Phyllis may not have been on the same vein as Theresa but she shared some wonderful points.

You may not be a mom but you do know how to be mean….Cyndi was able to explain things in a nice tone that you missed.

outta here for real…..

cc

April 13th, 2010
7:30 am

I agree with your reasons why women are so mean to each other. It all boils down to only one can be right. No one likes to be told they are parenting wrong and not doing the best for their child.

GT

April 13th, 2010
7:31 am

I think Theresa, you underestimate the perception people have of writers in the paper especially sports writers that can be jerks themselves. I am gathering you believe this runs one way and the writer is not engaged, or is above this “meanest”. I think since 60 Minutes became such a popular hit reporters have found the ambush reporting and the gloves off approach the signature of our generation. People have confused meanest with honesty and intelligence. Most people have no glue how an academic even acts and they believe because of cable television and such that furniture throwing is part of the DNA. I think journalism has really let us down in our time on this planet. It has craved into the greed, lowered it standards and no longer is the bar of our social conscience. Quiet frankly I for one of many do not believe much I read in any publication. When there is no longer a standard everyone is free to set their own, and with the masses it generally is pretty low.

I can see that...

April 13th, 2010
7:45 am

I agree with cc – many of us get mean in certain situations or with certain topics because we want to convince the world, and ourselves, that we are doing what’s best for our children…and how dare anyone say otherwise. Then again, some of us are just “mommy extremist”, like some of the political bloggers, who truly believe their way is the ONLY way. If they could track you down by your comment name, they’d sit in their car outside your home and run you down when you came out to check the mail – just for having the audacity to disagree with them.

Honestly, when I see blog topics start to veer down that ‘crazy’ path, I just leave. No need to spoil my blessed day with someone else’s “mean girl” attitude.

Hey, GT...

April 13th, 2010
7:45 am

…say WHAT?

Andrea

April 13th, 2010
7:55 am

Blogging (for some) is viagra for the character they wish they had. It gives them omnipotent superpowers and the rest of the mortals are the lucky recipients of their wisdom. Generally, these type of people have little say so or control in their home lives so blogsphere gives them power (albeit faux power) they don’t have at home.

Ole Guy

April 13th, 2010
7:56 am

Are moms meaner than crocagators? Wait a minute…what’s a crocagator?
Well, a crocagator has a croc’s head at one end and an alligator’s head at the other end…(long pause for contemplation)…Well, with a head at both ends, how does the crocagator do it’s business? It don’t. That’s why it’s so mean!

Monica

April 13th, 2010
8:03 am

Theresa, I agree with your observations. Also consider that in this anonymous setting, there are probably many bloggers who aren’t female or who arent’ moms. so we can’t make a fair assessment.

When it comes to parenting, everyone thinks that his or her way is the best and naturally get defensive if a parenting style is attacked. I can tell you that I was going to be the best mom ever…and then I actually had kids :)

Jeff, just curious (I am also a Get Schooled blogger under a different name): do you have any kids yet, and have you changed any of your philosophies about parenting? I apologize for being nosy.

Monica

April 13th, 2010
8:04 am

Sorry for the punctuation typos in the first paragraph. I do know the rules of grammar, but I haven’t had caffeine yet this am.

catlady

April 13th, 2010
8:05 am

Ah, but some of us want to share our “wealth” of experience! It is just for the benefit of others LOL!

BShepCarlin

April 13th, 2010
8:08 am

oh yes moms are mean to each other on the blog and I think in person also.

On blogs it truly can get nasty thanks to being somewhat anonymous, but in person it shows up in cattiness. I think women have always been not so nice to each other because we are always comparing each other, our kids, husbands, lifestyles, etc. And god forbid anyone who doesn’t see it our way or think the way we do. Anyone who was in a sorority (yes I am speaking as a former Greek) can attest to that. I think it is way I don’t have many close female friends. All of my girlfriends talk about each other behind their backs…something I’ve never understood (and yes, I find myself occ. doing it, but try to make a concerted effort not to). Why be friends with someone if all you do is trash them when they aren’t there? I wish women had friendships more like men…it is what it is, there is no false front or pretense. It is all laid out on the table.

I guess my point is that if we capable of being such a pain in the rear in public, online it is much, much nastier.

Dewi

April 13th, 2010
8:11 am

I’m just as mean in person as I am on blogs.

CONSERVATIVE:: dittohead

April 13th, 2010
8:13 am

WHEN THE GOV’t GETs involved in raising your kids…….then you have INDOCTRINATION….not education..IT TAKES A VILLAGE..is from MARX’s “Communist Manifesto-”

motherjanegoose

April 13th, 2010
8:15 am

@ catllady….I have enjoyed your wealth of experience…thank you.

My car is running….

irisheyes

April 13th, 2010
8:18 am

I think in the internet age, everyone can find an “expert” to prove that they are right, and everyone else is wrong. So, we use our “experts” to show that the way we are raising our kids is the right way.

There’s a desire in every mom to be sure that we’re not screwing our kids up, and society encourages it. How many “Be the Best Parent You Can Be” book are being sold these days? I typed “parenting” into Amazon and got 63,000 results! How in the world did our parents get us raised without 63,000 books to help them? So, when we get on a blog, we need to show everyone that we’ve done our “required reading” and tell everyone that our way is best. Being anonymous helps, too.

Kim

April 13th, 2010
8:18 am

You hit the nail on the head right here:
“I think anytime something is anonymous, like a blog, people are much meaner than they would be in person”

It’s not just parenting blogs. It’s on nearly every forum or blog on the internet. If you are just now experiencing this phenomenon, consider yourself lucky. And thicken your skin because it doesn’t get any better.

MomOf2Girls

April 13th, 2010
8:19 am

Short answer to the headline – YES! (Although not as mean as the political blog)

Long answer – I was really surprised when I started reading this blog at how snarky some of the posters are. Like @I Can See That, I will check out when things get overwhelming. Even though I know I’m missing the good stuff as well, I just don’t have the stomach for it. I have also started writing a post, only to change my mind, because I didn’t want to put something up that might get someone else started. It’s kind of sad in a way – I’m able to handle the politics in a corporate office (I’m a director where I work), but I just get sick when I read some of the posts here.

RJ

April 13th, 2010
8:25 am

I’ve always felt that blogs allow the cowards in our society to be heard. Some of the comments made by “moms” are pretty cruel, but would never be said to anyone’s face. And yes, in general women are just meaner than men. Have you ever seen a girl fight? They go for blood. I can always stop two boys from fighting, no matter how tough they are, but two girls, not a chance. I usually just step out of their way when they continue to yell at each other.

The political blog is a different story. It’s pretty nasty with men and women. Just think tea party idiots with a keyboard…U-G-L-Y!

Midol

April 13th, 2010
8:25 am

Take some. Please.

Aquagirl

April 13th, 2010
8:37 am

Just on blogs? I think it extends to real life. Kids run wild in schools, movie theaters, grocery stores, etc. Just try critiquing these little darlings and you’ll get cussed out by mom or dad. The expectations that we should drop everything and center the world around their kids (even at the expense of others) is jaw-dropping.

It’s not about parental protectiveness per se, I think it has more to do with people seeing children as extensions of themselves in a really unhealthy way, another manifestation of a MEMEME culture.

Gary O'Donnell

April 13th, 2010
8:48 am

while I agree with the first post (it’s int he dna)I would not go so far as to call women “mean”. I think we live in a world where “feelings” are over indulged and what was once known as natural competition is now being mean. and we pass this on to our kids, which I think it the meanest of all.

Polytron/E2M Sucks

April 13th, 2010
8:50 am

I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years now and I have to admit I was stunned at first by the level of vitriol produced on our blog.

Don’t get out much on the internet, do you? This is the norm at blogs accessable by the general public and where users post anonymously.

While it’s all well and good to want a “blog where people can share with each other and share virtual hugs”, that’s not how it is in the real world and with human nature.

The only forums I’ve been to that had little to no ego-drama or childishness were those related to my field, and consisting of pretty intelligent, professional engineers. But that’s a whole different personality/mindset.

Generally, that’s what you should expect “0n the internets”: a lot of drama.

Thought for the day:

Arguing on the internet is like playing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win you’re still retarded. :-P

Oedipuss

April 13th, 2010
8:56 am

Mom’s are mean because they were un-popular in high-school and got knocked up by a loser to add meaning to their pathetic lives, only to realize their children are brats….

Panda8

April 13th, 2010
8:59 am

“I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years now and I have to admit I was stunned at first by the level of vitriol produced on our blog.

I’ve written before that I thought it would be all it-takes-a-village community where everyone supported each other and were kind and loving.”

And that’s why. The political forums expect drama and set many ground rules to control it. Sports forums expect to fight about teams and rarely take it personally. Almost any forum you expect to be “nice” either has nobody posting and interested, or turns into an uncontrolled, chaotic verbal slugfest at times. No, people who feel safe aren’t always nice (understating…). Expecting them to be leads to messes at times.

Mom Steph

April 13th, 2010
8:59 am

I have always noticed that the mean bully moms seem to produce the brattiest kids! Kids get it from somewhere! I refer to my neighborhood as the “center of hell” right now…..

mom of one

April 13th, 2010
9:05 am

I agree that some people feel more empowered when they’re hiding behind an anonymous blog posting and will say things that they would never dream of saying to someone’s face but it’s always been more disturbing to me that moms, (and women in general) are so quick to criticize each other in person too.

There’s not one right way to raise you kid; what works so well with your oldest may not work at all with child number 2. Some kids are more strong-willed than others and don’t react to the same discipline that a passive child will. And some you have to pick your battles with in public places. We all seem so quick to criticize each other’s parenting styles and skills as if we know from the limited time we see a mother having a tough time with her kid at the park or the store that we would handle the situation so much better and feel so much superior to her.

We’ve all had tough days with our kids–it would be nice if we could support and encourage each other more in person instead of rolling our eyes and making judgements about how the other parent is always wrong in how they’re handling their child.

ATLien

April 13th, 2010
9:08 am

I don’t know what Mom blogs you are reading but on the AAM message boards, Moms on there are so over the top sweet to each other that it makes my teeth hurt.

jg

April 13th, 2010
9:09 am

Some misinterpret being aggressive, selfish and pushy as mean. That is how some people are – me first at whatever cost – I don’t care about you or your situation- it is all about me because I am the most important person in the world – I will have my way regardless to whom I hurt – step on etc…..translation MEAN – now they do not think they are mean – and to their inner-circle of like-minded beings they are just agressive successful moms……they are above everyone else and are entitled…..

Easy

April 13th, 2010
9:14 am

The reason that Moms are mean is because they’re women. In general, women are mean people.

Think of your office. Is there drama? Fights? Arguments? Who is involved?

Women.

Men forgive more easily than women. Men are more willing to let something go than women.

Women learn this behavior at an early age.

In fact, I am fairly certain that there is not a creature meaner in animal kingdom than a 13 year old girl.

Spacey

April 13th, 2010
9:20 am

Since GT brought the media into it, I’ll make a comparison from my own experience.
Why doesn’t the media give more positive stories? Because their ratings/readers would tank. No one would watch it.
Several media outlets have tried a softer, nicer news format (national and local). Are you watching or reading? No, because people really do not want to watch the nice stuff. You figure that you already know it and well, you think you are nice. It is the dark side that is more fascinating.
Unfortunate, but true. Same thing goes for this blog. If no one ever stirred it up, it just wouldn’t be that interesting. Most everyone here thinks they know how to be a good parent.
Although, I do not feel that it is only Mom blogs that are mean!

Easy

April 13th, 2010
9:22 am

Many times, even when women are seemingly nice to one another its on a superficial basis. Women will tell other women that they are beautiful and attractive, when they do not mean it. The other woman knows that she is not attractive, and that the other woman is lying to her. Now, the trust is gone. One litte incident arises, and its easy for the woman to bow out of the relationship due to the fact that the woman is “Fake”. Now, on the way out of the relationship, the woman will be sure to tell as many people as are willing to listen about the other woman and how fake she is. More drama ensues.

andrea

April 13th, 2010
9:27 am

I must either be fortunate, or just an avoider of the hot topic issues. I have received nothing but support, and I hope that is some indication of how mom and women bloggers CAN be.

JJ

April 13th, 2010
9:50 am

@Easy – your 9:14 post – I work with men and love that there is NO drama!!!! I have worked with women over the years, and yes they are mean, and bring tons of drama to the work place. I much prefer working with me.

And there is something meaner than a 13 year old girl, and that’s a 16-18 year old girl. They get very mean in high school….!!!

JJ

April 13th, 2010
9:51 am

I meant I much prefer working with men.

RxDawg

April 13th, 2010
10:06 am

“In fact, I am fairly certain that there is not a creature meaner in animal kingdom than a 13 year old girl.”

Hah!

Professor

April 13th, 2010
10:08 am

Hola,

I have found that blogs are very mean, and a lot of the people are like school kids on the playground. They gang up when someone post an idea that is different. As for moms being more mean I cannot say yea or nay, because I have seen the evil of both sexes while they sit behind the computer screen and issue assault.

DB

April 13th, 2010
10:10 am

Mean? Not sure I agree with the term “mean” – to me, “mean” brings up shades of “Mean Girls”, which is a whole new level of catty (apologies to catlady!) I WILL agree that there is a lot of rudeness, though. A part of that is just the times we live in, and a larger part of it is the anonymity of the blog.

And, let’s face it, most people do not know how to debate without getting personal. The minute a discussion veers into personal slams, you have someone who has lost their control in a debate – which I personally find somewhat amusing. It takes a certain degree of detachment to discuss a topic without taking a disagreeing viewpoint as a personal slam. Most disagreement viewpoints are just that — views, opinions — and, as a particularly crude wit once noted, “everybody has one . . . ” I think Gary has a good point: People not only feel entitled to their feelings, but it goes one step further — they feel they have the right to impose those feelings on others, in some sort of weird validation ritual. That on-going sense of validation is interesting — it’s as if one’s opinion isn’t valid unless you can get people to agree with you. Which, in my book, goes directly back to self-confidence — but I digress . . . :-) Self-confident people don’t need to beat other people over the head with their opinions. They put ‘em out there and while they may be willing to explain their reasoning, they don’t use those explanations as a battering ram to force others to their way of thinking.

At some point, you DO get to a point where what other people think doesn’t matter to you very much — some people get there earlier than others. It’s very freeing, not feeling that the rest of the world has to have the same viewpoint, or something is wrong with you. :-)

Professor

April 13th, 2010
10:13 am

@Easy I will respectfully disagree with your post. Women are taught to nuture and take care. What is the first toy we give little girls? We give them a doll to take care of. While we hand our boys trucks. Boys are taught to be competitive, providers etc. When women enter the corporate world or maybe a few years before that everything they have been taught changes because they are trying to play on an all boy team. We some of us teach boys that it is not okay to cry, women at work trys to mimic the male behavior by putting aside female traits.

JATL

April 13th, 2010
10:36 am

I’m the same in person as online, but I find that many people feel the anonymity of a blog gives them carte blanche to let loose on anyone and everyone -and take it up a notch! First of all, I don’t think ANYONE goes as nuts over anything as the political bloggers. Nasty doesn’t even begin to describe it!

There is a big difference in being a “mean mom” in your child’s eyes because you actually instill some discipline and ethics into their raising and being a “mean mom” to other mothers because you have a holier than thou attitude about all of the wonderfully modern and new ways you’re raising your kids. I’ll admit I cannot STAND these mothers! The crowd at playgroups and playgrounds and jumpy play places who never raise their voices above a whisper and try to give 10 minute explanations on behavior to 2 year olds -and LOVE giving dirty looks or even suggestions to those of us who give our kids 1 to 3 chances for certain behavior and then they’re gone -even if that means we’re putting them in a choke hold and wrestling them into a stroller or the car. There may be stern voices or even on occasion -yelling! They are told NO in no uncertain terms (the parents who say,”We don’t say ‘no’, ” are the ones who really make me want to puke. They also all breastfed exclusively for at least a year and only use organic products, never feed their kids sugar or kool aid or anything with artificial dyes and would never contemplate working outside the home or sending little Isabella or Hudson off to preschool or daycare. They can’t even imagine leaving the kid with grandma for a night! I have a theory (and have already seen it played out on several occasions) about the kids of those moms and the kids of moms like me. All I have to say is, “Mommy -I hope you’re still there for him with a nice basement when my kid fires him for having a fit during a conference call or the fact that he just can’t suck it up enough to get through the hard stuff on a job or in life.” It’s going to be much uglier when he learns he can’t get his way all of the time and have fits and run to tell on people when he’s 16 or 20 or 30 than when he’s 3.

There -that’s my “ugly mom” spew for the day!

Soulfinger

April 13th, 2010
10:43 am

I agree DB..very good comments. Yeah, its easy to say horrible things when you are in the comforts of your home on a computer. I try not to let the things I read get under my skin. Its just scary that grown ups can’t have a debate without it turning into childish name calling and nonsense. I think over the last generation, women have become more “mean”. More and more women are single parents running the household and working in fields that were once dominated by men. I think we have picked up some of those traits. However, some women are just down right nasty for no reason. I know i am not a perfect parent and i would never turn down advice..in fact i welcome it. the more help i get, the better job i will do at raising my son. If more women worked together, our younger generations wouldnt be as out of control as i think they are. Thats just my opinion of course! Have a great day everyone :-)