I've been thinking about this blog post for weeks.
A little while ago, I was reading a comment under a post on a friend's blog and something about the wording struck me and it's been lolling around in my head every since.
I know that when it comes to controversial topics, folks are more likely to bust our their grumpiest comments, but it was a particular phrase that has seriously started to piss me off. And it's all over the place.
Blog post comments, news site (shudder) comments, Facebook comments. And I'm getting twitchy about it, guys.
That phrase is "I always".
Yup. Just two words.
When they are written by someone hanging out on Mr. High Horse, they are being used to hurt someone, to put them down, and I'm seeing this most often when it comes to stories about kids and parenting.
And it's hurting the village.
People use "I always" to deflect and to make themselves feel better. They use it when they are so frustrated with a situation that their only way to react is to prove to anyone who is watching that they aren't that sort of person.
When that mother realized her child had climbed into the gorilla enclosure and had to endure the horrifying moments after until that babe was back in her arms, people used "I always" to let the world know that would never happen to them.
"I always know where my kids are" or "I always pay attention" are lovely sentiments, but they are not true.
When the dad forgot his baby in the car while running into a store, people used "I always" to push away the agony that they would feel if it happened to them.
"I always check my back seat" makes them feel better, but again, it's not true. And we can't control it.
Always is theoretical. It's BS. And it's something we can't control.
"I always breastfed my daughter" except when I felt so frightened that she was losing weight that I supplemented with formula for a few months.
"I always made sure my baby was safe when she was napping on my bed" until the day she learned to roll and rolled onto the floor and bashed her head.
"I always know where my daughter is" except for the time she rode her bike down the path in the trailer park and I couldn't find her for 30 horrific minutes.
"I always feed my child healthy food" except for when we eat Kraft Dinner for lunch because fuck it.
My mother tells a story about how when I was a tiny newborn, friends came over and invited her to go out for the night -- she was dressed and on her way out the door before remembering that I was asleep in my bassinet. Because as much as the world would like you to know that they "always" remember everything, shit happens.
Can we just give in to the fact that we don't always anything?
As parents, we are generally trying to do our best. Sometimes your best is brilliant and sometimes your best is simply surviving. We can't always anything because we are human.
When I read those comments, I hurt for the people reading them and the people writing them because these people are in pain themselves. No one purposes says nasty thing -- in person or online -- if they are happy with their own life. It just doesn't happen.
Instead of 'always'ing those who have made mistakes or have had horrible things happen to them, let's show our support instead.
"I'm here for you."
"I'm so sorry this happened."
"How can I help?"
Fortunately, there are many people who ARE responding with love and caring, but the nastiness of the internet often pushes positivity out of view. It's easy to be nasty and hurtful online because there's a handy barrier that let's you disassociate from those on the other side -- but what you don't see is the effect those comments have. You can wipe your hands of the matter and carry on to the next post, the next story, the next video. Without consequence.
Instead, let's show our support, let's be realistic, and let's be HUMAN. And let OTHERS be human. Because if you were every in an awful situation, you would hope that the outside world would show you kindness instead of cruelty.
I know I would.