It's not often I'm moved to write about the latest online drama llamas, yet for this I will make exception.
Recently the popular parenting site known as Parentdish published an article by one of their journalists, Jenny Cornish. The article has been removed but you can see a cached version of it here. I use the terms article and journalist in the loosest sense seeing as the journalist appeared to be lacking in a code of ethics, integrity and moral compass and the article read more like a diary entry of a viciously petty and jealous teenager. Quite where the sense of 'journalism' was in this whole sorry debacle is beyond me. I've read far better claptrap in the awful Daily Mail.
This piece provided no service to the public with no dissemination of any actual news nor information. It was derogatory and vindictive.
When writing, any journalist worth their salt should adhere to the very basic rudimentary code that what they write should adhere to the principles of truthfulness, honesty, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability.
Yes it may be true that there's a mother, Grace Hall, out there who creatively and lovingly prepares Bento style lunches for her son. That much is true and for the most part accurate. What followed however was an unprofessional and spiteful slandering which in all honesty said far more about the 'journalist' than the mother she was attempting to shred into cyber pieces.
Since when is this okay? Why would a reputable site see fit to publish this?
This is nothing more than cyber bullying.
Where is the journalistic responsibility?
Lets take away the journalism part. Lets strip it right back down to basics and to Motherhood.
We all do things differently. What happened to the 'each to their own...?' I'm incredibly pro-breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing for instance yet does that give me the right to vilify those who choose not to? No. Do I feel my parenting choices are right? Yes. Does it make us better or merely different? I say just merely different.
We all judge and we're all judgmental. I judge. I judge those who smoke when pregnant. I judge those who swear around children. Why? Because in my opinion they are potentially harmful activities be it physically, emotionally or mentally. They're irresponsible and directly impact upon someone else; a child. Do I judge individuals? Yes and so do you. Don't lie. Yet it's the basic ability to filter, to know when what you're thinking isn't appropriate to be written or spoken out loud that makes the difference.
Do I judge someone who uses disposable nappies? No. That's their choice.
I'm a lazy mum. I do everything at the last minute. I fall out of bed and with sleep encrusted eyes I attempt to do something with Thing Two's hair that may a) keep the nits at bay and b) doesn't look too clown like. Her packed lunch is a hurried cliche affair of butty, fruit, drink and chocolate bar. I don't polish shoes nor own an iron. I only make beds if the kids have company. Am I a slattern? Probably. I just deem life too short to waste on what I personally find unnecessary and rank low on my personal scale of importance. Does this make me a bad person? A bad mum? I think not.
We all playfully at times with tongue in cheek mock those that appear to do things better than us or to do more than us, the things we may find superfluous yet this is more a reflection on our own feelings of lacking and failings as opposed to a direct attack on others. I once wrote a post about how un Enid-Blyton my kids lives were because of my own crass lack of motivation and a lazy imagination. It may have playfully poked at those that do all I do not yet the essence of the piece was reflecting on my so-called failings.
Motherhood is bloody hard. We're damned if we do an damned if we don't. It's a minefield. Whatever we do, someone somewhere will think it's wrong or that they do better.
Live and let live.
Surely as grownups we should be able to exercise an iota of common decency to other mothers, we're all human. If you can't think of anything nice to say, why say anything at all? To which purpose are you working towards? If the object of your words or actions is to make another feel like shit, why? Why would you invest time and energy into doing that? What is wrong with you?
So yes, a mum makes delightfully creative lunches for her son. She enjoys doing it and she's bloody good at it. Her son enjoys them. Through glancing at her blog not once does she appear smug. Not once does she insinuate she's a better mum for what she does. Not once does she slate those who don't do what she does. She's merely inspiring and documenting what she does. What she does isn't controversial, has little direct effect on anyone else and is absolutely harmless. For all intent purposes she appears to be a lovely lady and a lovely mum.
The only thing worse than a smug self righteous person, is a petty, vindictive nasty one. Both actively work to make other people feel like shit. Both are more than likely covering up their own feelings of failing.
The article wasn't even a sardonic commentary on the act of making Bento boxes in general either, it was a direct attack at someone. They were named. Their blog was named. The larger part of the article for all intent purposes was a vile and petty direct attack on this lady.
Is that journalism? Really?
I'm all for freedom of speech. I'm all for ranting and being opinionated on topics, I myself am a self professed opinionated gobshite and I'm not ashamed to rant about things I feel passionately about. But, when it is directed to a person, rather than an act and when you have a larger platform then they have to reach others, you're failing as a human. It's abuse. Abuse of position, abuse of power, abuse of platform.
We don't know how the other half lives. We know each others online personas, how we choose to present ourselves. I cannot imagine how even the most hardened of people would feel to wake up one day and discover such blatant nastiness on such a large page about themselves when they have essentially done nothing.
For all we know a mum like that could be suffering from PND and perhaps it's the meticulous detail to little things that give her a reason to get up in the morning, that help her feel she is a good mum.
Maybe she's perfectly sound of mind (oh how I'm jealous!) and simply enjoys doing something fun that she's good at.
The thing is we don't know.
Jenny Cornish said in her article 'Get.A.Job'. well Jenny, Grace has a job, she's a full time mum and judging by the fruits of your work, she's undeniably better at her job than you are at yours.