On this Mother’s Day, I’m thinking of things my mom would have asked me to refrain from. (I realize this graphic probably means for us to write about musical refrains, but I’m doing something else.)
I’ve been grappling with the challenge of being respectful and responsive on social media, both on my personal blog and professionally.
On my personal blog, I wrote something I believe wholeheartedly that many people took exception to. I wake up every morning and check the comments to see what new thought has been shared, holding my breath a little bit as the site comes up. I’ve gotten 28 comments. A reporter who wrote beautifully about the same topic (apologies – paywall) has gotten 1,000+, and the comments on her post are brutal. I don’t have it so bad, but I think on balance my mom would have suggested I refrain from writing about the topic at all.
In addition, a reader of one of the publications I edit made a comment on Twitter that worked its way all the way up to a senior leader at my organization. The leader was even-handed in their response, but I still felt the heavy weight of a reader’s disapproval for days. My wise boss simply reminded me that we put out a good product (true) and that you can’t make everyone happy (also true). My mom probably would tell me to refrain from checking that reader’s Twitter stream so much to see if they say anything else. My mom would probably be right. (The irony, though, is that I can tell this reader and I have such a similar take on the world. Thanks, social media and the odd lens of Twitter for driving two people apart.)
My mom was not one to make big public statements. Yet, I think it was growing up as her daughter that made me a) write to figure things out and b) want to fight just a little bit harder to create equilibrium where things don’t make sense.
She always told me to be pretty (in my attitude — it wasn’t an admonition about appearance). Time will tell if there’s a way to blend that with standing firm.
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
Quintessential mothers’ advice…
If you have to roll your eyes
and depend on luck,
you will have one big surprise
when they both get stuck.
And then whatever will you do,
lookin’ in your head?
Will you spend the whole day through
lyin’ in your bed?
Or are you gonna cowboy up,
and face the world again
with a Seeing Eye pup
and a big white cane?
Tell me, what’s it gonna be,
and don’t you roll your eyes at me!
Paula Kiger says
Love this, and I’m thinking of you.
Black Tortoise Press says
My mom taught us to be nice. Certainly a good place to start. Better to have a few more tools in the toolbox.
Paula Kiger says
Right. Nice was BIG BIG BIG at my household (probably true of many Southern households in the late 60s/early 70s). But yes we need to find a way to use our voices in a broader way sometimes.
Carol Cassara (@ccassara) says
Your mama was wise. “Refrain!” But oh how hard it is!
Paula Kiger says
She was so wise. And it’s hard. And I wish the world had heard more of her wisdom.