Do Mean Moms Rule the Mom Space?


Do mean moms rule the mom space?

Over the past few days I have been a part of pretty substantial conversations about mean moms in the blogosphere. I wonder if these conversations just happened to follow right behind one other by coincidence or if it really is a problem.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of sharing a panel with the brilliant Janice Croze (5 Minutes for Mom) and the amazing Laurie Smithwick (Leap Design) at Type-A Mom conference about the importance of positivity in our community and on our blogs. When it was time for questions there were many from the audience about how to deal with mean commenters. I told them what my mom always told me: Ignore ignorant people. That has always been my philosophy in the blogosphere, in fact. I simply ignore comments and futile conversations that don’t empower anyone. If the topic and its outcome look futile and won’t matter a year from now I won’t get involved with it.

Also, this Tuesday at the Redbook Blogger Brunch the topic of “judgy” moms was brought up and it seemed to be a topic that a lot of women bloggers have to contend with. Some welcome the mean comments, others have figured out how to manage them and others don’t write content that welcomes negativity. By the way, check out Redbook’s post about “judgy” moms. They’d love to hear your feedback!

Although I don’t encounter a lot of snide comments here or elsewhere, I have had my fair share of ugliness thrown at me over the years. It never feels good, but I guess we all have to grow thick skin if we’re bloggers.

What do you think? Is mean-spiritedness rampant in the mom blogosphere? And if so, how do you handle it if it comes your way?

70 thoughts on “Do Mean Moms Rule the Mom Space?

  1. I don’t get alot of mean ones…some are emails on how to do this or that..so I take whatever works and ignore the rest. I like to think of myself as one that is still learning and growing in this blogosphere .

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  2. Hi,

    I haven’t received any nasty comments. My only incident was asking for some advice from someone I thought was a bloggy friend. They never answered my email. Did they receive the email? Of course they did.

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  3. I’ve never had a mean commenter. Unless they were some ignorant immature teen that wandered onto my blog (that’s happened twice). I think moms are pretty positive and if they don’t have anything to say or anything nice to say they pretty much keep it to themselves or do their bashing elsewhere. I just don’t like the way some of them think they’re to good to return comments people leave them. I understand they’re busy but .. they cant be THAT busy if they’re leaving comments on the blogs THEY read. Ya know? Iuno. Whatever. LOL

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  4. This is why I’m my travel in 2011 will consist of conferences that are more business & male dominant. I just can’t handle the drama that surrounds the mom space. It’s so ironic..”moms” should be natural nurturers and want to support and help others and while I do see that in some of the space, I see a lot that is not so nice & supportive.

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  5. I haven’t been blogging for long, but received my first snarky comment a few weeks ago. I replied, and said if she wanted to have an intelligent, respectful debate I was all for that, but just as she was offended by my post, others would be offended by hers. For the most part I plan on ignoring, but my outspoken nature won’t shy away from speaking up when I feel someone has crossed the line too much.

    It really is so unfortunate that people feel they can hide behind their computers and say things they wouldn’t dare say face-to-face. Besides, if we were all the same, wouldn’t this world be incredibly boring?!

    Thanks for the post. :)

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  6. This has been the fourth of fifth post that I have read today that has been talking about this exact subject. Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, I have to admit, I have no idea what spawned all of it. And that is just fine. In my own experience, I have been fortunate to mostly avoid the mean girl stuff that I hear about and sometimes see.

    But when it does come, I just try to take a step back and ask myself where it’s coming from. Why. Usually there is some kind of an answer there. And one that can be dealt with accordingly.

    As always, another great post.

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  7. While I’ve seen some of the “mean mom” behavior that goes on, I’ve never had the displeasure of dealing with it in my own blog space, except for the once occasion where someone was offended the I discussed the possibly of my husband getting a vasectomy.

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  8. I don’t think it is any more rampant here than it is in any environment where a bunch of women are thrown together. I think as women we just need to learn to build each other up as opposed to tearing one another down. Some of us (a lot) have gotten there, but some haven’t.

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  9. I don’t get a ton of mean comments- but I have a few. I usually do not post them. It’s my blog and I can post what I want.

    I do try to take comments, even if they are on the mean side, and learn form them, though. Sometimes a commenter can be mean- but at the heart they may be right about something (although they could have said it in a nicer way and got the same point across).

    Sometimes I will make changes if I feel I can use the “advice”

    -jen

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  10. I’ve had my share of mean comments on my blog, on twitter, and on facebook. I don’t even blog about anything controversial, just my jewelry design, web store, and my boutique and I still manage to stumble into mean and bully type women.

    Most recently I had a women tell me I was using “her” hashtag on twitter! People don’t own hashtags, you just use them and if hers is “#jewelryonetsy” she needs to come up with something more ambiguous.

    I have even stumbled onto those who play friends with me, milk me for information, and then ignore my emails asking them for advice.

    I make great use of the unfollow, delete, block, and trashcans on my social networks, email, and blog. I don’t engage them with a reply or a relationship.

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  11. Sure, I’ve had my share of mean comments. But I’ve had hundreds more nice comments. And to those I respond. If someone is being snarky just for the sake of being mean, they do not warrant my attention.

    It’s not just Moms though. It’s any public forum. Discussion boards, blogs, etc. Some people are just mean because they can be.

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  12. I have been blogging for over a year on two different blogs and I have NEVER had one mean comment. I think the topic has high tweet and key word value which is why it is getting so much traction. I clicked on your post just to see what the big deal is/was and I think others do the same. Why NICE isn’t as interesting always intrigues me, although I don’t have any answers!

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  13. Honestly, I just haven’t seen much of it. I am sure that it goes on but I try to stay out of things like that.

    Many people change friends in real life and this happens in the bloggy world as well.
    I think that they key in the blogosphere, just like in life, is to surround yourself with nurturing, caring and compassionate people or the kind of people you would want to be friends with.

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  14. Whenever I encounter someone on the freeway being rude I always tell myself that that person has diarrhea and is trying to get to a bathroom fast! I try to treat any type of unkindness in the same manner…I don’t know why that person is having a hard time but there must be a reason…I either ignore or comment in a positive manner…I know that may sound corny, but I’d rather encourage than add to the problem.
    Sometimes this is easier said than done but this is my goal.

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  15. I used to participate in mom communities and some of the moms were just down right ridiculous. Some were very closed minded and judgemental. I don’t participate in these communities much anymore because of that.

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  16. I’ve been a member of online communities since 1991 and “trolls is trolls”.

    Is this just a commenter issue? If so, it is just a par for the course for a semi-anonymous medium and has nothing to do with gender or uterine status.

    If we are talking about mean girl behavior from “big bloggers”…I’ve seen a few cases second hand but it doesn’t affect me since I don’t follow around Queen Bees who get joy out of stinging others.

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  17. I think mean moms runs rampant in the blogosphere. And, it is sad. I have been run off two blogs by mean moms, who decided to form a gang and attack me on my blog and on their own. I blocked their IP addresses, but when it gets taken too far, it sucks all the fun out of community and blogging. Now, I am blogging anonymously, but I did write a post over at BlogHer about it. I think mom’s should think…would you want your children to read what you are writing or say what you are saying about others?? Is that the example you want to set for them? If you don’t like a blog or a person, then don’t waste the energy leaving nastiness….just click on that little “x” in the corner.

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  18. I have given this topic a lot of thought! I think that the internet has given people a place to feel bold where if a similar situation took place in person the response most likely would be different. I also think that at times there are communication challenges because so much is done on line. A tone to a person in a different region may interpret something differently. So, I try and ‘grade on a scale’ and then if something was called out publicly and now needs to be addressed I will but often I disregard it….thankfully it’s rare it comes up!
    I am interested in that judgy mom book too!

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  19. It’s not just moms. It’s all social media. There are mean people everywhere. I think the sad side effect of the online community is that we are “virtually” faceless. Therefore, people hide behind their screen and say things they’d never DARE (out of both fear and greater respect) say to someone’s face. It is sad that the Interner has, in my opinion, revealed a lot of people’s “true character” and unfortuantely there are people whose true character is not pretty to behold.
    I agree with another commenter though who said for every mean one there are dozens of NICE ones! :)

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  20. I haven’t experienced mean moms yet as commenters. I am also wondering if certain type of content draws in a particular crowd that may or may not be more populated with mean moms. I blog on education, parenting and children’s lit so I draw what I’d describe as “education moms” who are seeking research and suggestions. They tend to be grateful for content that is helpful. Perhaps content that is more personal generates a more emotional response which can be snarky or sweet?!

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  21. I never understood the need some people have to say mean things. No truly, I’ve never understood it.

    I’ve never had a flat out mean comment left on my blog, but I’ve noticed a tone of shock or disapproval in a few.

    What can I say? I’m a mommy blogger and yes, my kids have licked yogurt off the floor, and yes, my kitchen has been coated in dirty dishes. That’s real life for me.

    More power to ya if you can stay on top of it all, all the time. But I can’t. And I’ll blog about it.

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    • I agree. I try to follow Grandma’s advice of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” I that the especially pertains to nasty comments that many bloggers that honestly share “real” life, as opposed to the idyllic, may receive. I figure, you should get props for sharing what is real. Grandma also said “You can’t please everyone!”

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  22. I have so much to say on this topic. Here’s what I’ve found. When I’ve gotten a comment that has caused me to feel upset, judged or angry I immediately go to their blog. Ninety-nine times out of 100 times, once I read a few posts in their blog, I walk away and don’t even respond. These are people, who based on their words that I do not wish to have any type of relationship with and so why bother? For that one person in a hundred that left me wondering “wow why did this person who seems so nice leave me this comment?” I’ll write them an email and share my thoughts.

    If the post in question is just plain nasty and I don’t care to have their words on my blog, I hit delete. I’ve NEVER had anyone come and ask me why I deleted their post.

    Oh, maybe I didn’t have so much to say after all LOL

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  23. I think it’s just part of life. There are nasty people out there and there are positive people out there. If you just concentrate on bringing joy to others, everything else will fall into place. I’ve had my share of negativity thrown my way, it was very painful, but I got through it. And I think your true character really shines when you are faced with adversity like that. How do you handle it? Do you tuck tail and run or do you face it with dignity? I just try NOT to let my temper get the best of me. :)

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  24. I rarely get mean comments, but my blog: http://mamasbitchin.com/ (the BITCH in the house) probably keeps a lot of dissenters at bay. Also, I don’t stick with just the “mommybloggers” community because I am interested in how mama-ness and politics intersect and that is a little different than talking about my kids or my family. Oh, and I never give mommy-advice!

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  25. I always tend to think that the mean comments are sometimes most hurtful when it is veiled criticism parading as advice. A post on frustration can lead to tips on ensuring your child’s safety – when all you really wanted to share was it was a tough day and people are morons. I wrote an article on this recently – how when motherhood comes along, sisterhood gets trampled all over. Check it out.
    http://confessionsofanewmother.blogspot.com/2010/07/sisters-are-doing-it-forthemselves_13.html

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  26. I’ve yet to have a mean comment, but I had one of my comments misunderstood on someone else’s blog; i was horrified and apologized profusely. I really hope that mean moms don’t rule the blogosphere; so far I’ve loved the ones I’ve run into.

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  27. I have never really gotten mean comments on my blog until recently when I blogged about a Barbie doll that was being sold that I thought was inappropriate to be sold on a kids isle. I was kinda surprised and shocked and some of the comments that I got but I just shrugged it off.

    But this mean moms topic could go beyond blog comments , matter of fact I see it happening more behind closed doors, moms go to great lengths to muzzle other moms out of brand opportunities, talking horrible about each other behind backs. It’s really sad. It makes it really hard to trust anyone anymore because so many are not who they really are in person that you think online.

    We should be working together not tearing each other apart.

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  28. I’m with dusty above. I’ve had 2 comments I left be misunderstood. I apologized publicly, they just came out wrong. I’ve met kind kind, kind women.

    Haha. Maybe if I were successful, I”d have something for someone to be jealous about???

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  29. It always amazes me that people will go out of their way and spend their precious time spewing venom into the world, particularly in the direction of someone who’s just going about her business. I’ve had nasty comments about my hair (on YouTube videos), on my stance on television, and more.

    I have a tendency to want to get sarcastic back at them, but I’m trying to outgrow that. :)

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  30. Being a blogger means we are putting ourselves out there to the public world. We have control over what we post and what we allow to be commented on. Each individual needs to decide what they are comfortable with and implement tools to control things that fit that.

    I do know there are some bloggers who just come off as rude to some people, but not to all. That is one of the issues with text sometimes, there is not the inflection of emotion as there is in speech – the exception being a really great writer (but I am not one of those). I have met some bloggers in person that I like better online than in the real world and vice versa. I know sometimes people’s comments just come out wrong or sometimes people are having a rough day and interpret things wrong.

    Regardless, being kind to others should be the goal for every human on the planet, but we all are very different (isn’t that one of the things we love about bloggers) and we all aren’t going to be super thrilled with everyone at every moment.

    My personal feeling is big {{{HUGS}}} to everyone!!!! AND lots of smiley faces :-)

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  31. There was at one time a site created just to say mean spirited things about me. I found it mildly amusing, that someone would go to that much trouble to write about me. Me? It’s mind boggling.

    I did talk to my online friends about it. They of course wanted the URL. I explained I was sorry, but I just couldn’t give them that. I did not want to give the owner of that site the satisfaction of seeing the hits coming on his or her site.

    I think what’s important to remember is that I/we are the same people today as we were yesterday. It doesn’t matter what others say or how they judge.

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  32. I’ve never had mean comments left on my blog. My content doesn’t really call for that sort of conversation.

    On another note, I do think some bloggers actually post things to get nasty comments, to spark the trolls. (i.e. link bait)

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  33. I haven’t had that many mean ones yet either, but I usually try to take anything negative with a grain of salt. It’s not easy, but I try to put myself in that person’s shoes, as maybe they’re just having a bad day, etc. I don’t like negativity, and I too truly believe that we should support each other because we are in this adventure together.:) We shouldn’t waste our time cutting others down with rude comments. We all have those days where things really get under our skin, but we’ve gotta find a way to channel that, and for me, writing is a huge channel. That’s just my two cents.

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  34. Ah, I’ve had many many mean comments. I think its part of putting your life in a public space online. Not everyone will agree or like what you said, shared or talk about and will let you know. How to deal?

    You have to have confidence in yourself and whatever your blogging about. Also understand that what people say should only matter to a certain point. Some comments can be constructive while other comments a waste of time.

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  35. I think TWICE I have come across a judgey/snarky comment during my two years blogging.
    Once on my blog. Once on a freind’s blog.
    BOTH were ANONYMOUS.
    Figures.
    The gutless wonders weren’t prepared to show their “faces” when it came to their snap judgements that they didn’t mind dishing out.
    I choose to ignore these cowardly individuals – apart from, Hey thanks anonymous. Why don’t you show your face so we can give your thoughts some credence??.
    Mostly it’s all positive stuff. If it wasn’t I don’t think I’d bother with the blogging.

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  36. Well, moms are.. women. Women are… catty! A lot of women like to get their claws out and make snarky comments to someone who says anything that they don’t agree with. I take all comments, good or bad, as a compliment! If you took time to leave me a mean comment, that meant that I was worth your time!! Good way to look at it! … and I’ve learned over the years to just blow the rude comments off.

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  37. I never had many problems with mean commenters, although I moderated comments almost from the beginning. Now that I am a political blogger more than a mommy blogger, I get some mean comments, but those do not get published. That way I control the content.

    Some thoughtful opinions, even if they disagree, do get through. They actually spur on the conversation, increasing comments and hits, and can help.

    One bad thing that happened was that Blog Her booted me from their network over a post about Islam. I was pretty disappointed, and I felt that was “mean”.

    http://mainfo.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-her-fired-me-from-their-ad-network.html

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  38. In 4 years of blogging on my blog, I have never had a mean comment on my blog. That being said, in the industry I am in, there is a “smack” blog that goes out of it’s way to be mean and humiliate people. They went after me for awhile. It upset me, but I made no acknowledgment to it online and it eventually went away.

    I kind of hang on the fringes of the mom community. I have my blog, I check in here and there when I can, but I with 4 kids, 3 who are 6 and under, getting my own blogging done each day is a big enough task. Maybe that’s why I don’t get any mean comments? I’m not around enough. If that’s it, that’s ok. I’m too sensitive anyway, and it would bother me.

    I hate that other bloggers have to deal with it.

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  39. I wouldn’t say its rampant at all. At least, I personally have not experienced a great deal of it. BUT when I do, I find that the best thing, as you’ve stated, is to ignore it and move on. Nothing good ever comes of an ugly Twitter/FB/Blogger battle. So not worth it…. and, more importantly, so not lady-like!

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  40. I, fortunately, have not experienced mean comments on my blog so far, but i’ve certainly seen it out there on other blogs a few times. I agree with Alexandra, though – It’s the nature of success, once someone gets a lot of attention there are bound to be some detractors who simply speak out of jealously. The way I’d handle it is simply to ignore it and move on. I mean, really, what’s the point of arguing with someone who seems only out to hurt your feelings? That being said, I will usually try at least once to ask questions and see if I misunderstood the comment or the sentiment, but if the snark just escalates, well then the conversation is not worth my time or attention.

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  41. Even traditional news outlets know that the three “S”s sell, scandal, sensational and snarky. Does that mean we all need to or have to succumb to it? NO

    We cannot make everyone happy 100% of the time with our content.

    We not should not succumb to name calling or negativity, be true to yourself and your brand in the way that feels right to you!

    I like some of the responses above that mention if there seems to be vein of truth to the comment, take the lesson from it, apply it, and move on without rising to the bait.

    We are all women, now let’s strive to be ‘ladies’ :-)

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  42. I am so glad you came to the lunch! I feel lucky that I have a really supportive group of readers. I mean, come on, the topic I blog about is Not Evil—raising kids with special needs! Sometimes, readers are judgmental, but that’s OK. Oh, and when I got a really crazy comment last week about how I was going to destroy Halloween for the world, well, I had some fun with it! If you’d like to check it out, ’tis here:
    http://lovethatmax.blogspot.com/2010/09/lady-whos-about-to-destroy-halloween.html

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  43. Just yesterday Cjane had really mean comments. I’ve seen them before on others. Honestly, I feel it’s just people being jealous. I’ve never read one mean comment that I felt had any validity.

    Just my two cents. :-)

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  44. This is a really interesting topic. I write columns (that are very blog-like) for a number of different websites and I’ve found that sites and their commentators have different personalities and the tone of the comments tends to feed off itself. In general people are very positive and supportive, almost ridiculously so. However sometimes the conversation (especially on certain sites) takes a nasty spin and it just sinks lower and lower and can get really awful.

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  45. I had a few days of really nasty comments after I was quoted in an AP article about a shortage of Eggo waffles. Since that surreal experience, everything has been positive. I think the wider your audience gets, the more likely you are to get mean comments. It’s from the veil of anonymity that the Internet gives to all of us. People feel empowered to take out their bad day by blog commenting. That’s my theory anyway.

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  46. I think we can’t avoid mean people. They don’t pop up too often it seems, but it sounds like most people just ignore it. I think the judgy Mom issue is much bigger. I don’t get it myself (much), but I see it a lot and it’s frustrating.

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  47. Unkind words or opinions contrary to mine is always an “oucher”! Sometimes people misinterpret what is said are in a bad mood that day or motivate from other emotions of jealousy ect. There are times I’ve ignored bad comments and there are times I’ve completely turned it around with the opening statement of LOL…..I see where you are coming from but consider also this. Those situation seem to turned the whole thing around. I have to admit there are times it opened my eyes to other views and I’ve grown.
    In conclusion, time heals all wounds and part of blogging is to have your voice heard so I don’t restrict myself because of others opinions.
    Grace
    By the way, You doing a great job!

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  48. It’s not about the comments – that’s just a very small part of it. It’s about this space itself. Women are catty and I’m at times embarassed to be a member of this gender. How do I handle it? I stay out of it, do my best not to contribute to it, and just don’t engage in it. But I can’t stop it from happening around me. And happening it is. Unfortunately this is only one of the reasons I’ve decided to focus more on my office job than my blogging going forward.

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  49. I guess I’ve been lucky but I’ve never had a mean spirited comment left on my blog site. That said, I’ve had plenty of spam i.e. Porn Queen etc have left interesting message that definitely don’t fit the “family friendly” nature of my blog site.
    I welcome constructive criticism but, I agree, that nastiness doesn’t belong on social media sites.

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  50. I have found really positive and supportive women through blogging – but as one of the other commenters said – maybe it’s because I don’t have a lot of traffic yet, so there’s little to be jealous of? I do know one person that is actively seeking to undermine other people’s new efforts with blogging. It is all behind the scenes with DM’s and emails – but is there all the same.

    My attitude is the same as what I teach my kids…think for your self. What do you see from that person or blogger? Do YOU like what you see? If so, ignore the negative.

    If something or someone is negative then simply remove them from your life. Block or unfollow those that bring you down. Don’t give those other people power over you. And yes, feeling badly or being upset is a form of Power.

    Just my 2 cents – you are always free to feel differently! Thus, the beauty of USA.

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  51. I think some people forget that they’re saying things in public, no matter how intimate their little corner of the blogosphere feels to them. So they say something ill-advised, get called on it, and then they feel picked on and the commenter feels righteous, and it snowballs from there.

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  52. Fortunately I’ve never had to deal with mean or degrading comments on my blog, but I have seen it many times on other blogs. No matter what your opinions are, in the end we are all human beings and we all deserve to be treated with respect, tolerance and dignity.

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  53. Mean is rampant anywhere that people feel like they can be anonymous.

    Remember that anonymity is just a feeling, it’s not a reality here as those comments might come back to bite you. Just ask my friends at Federated Media.

    As for judgy? I’m tired of having an opinion and then having folks accuse me of being judgy. Ladies, just blog. Write what you know, and live your passion, if some stranger sitting behind a computer is judging you let them. Who really cares what they think?

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