Watching out for the mommy trolls.

This is something I’ve said in person to many a friend but something I haven’t ever really talked about online. I never really noticed it until I became pregnant with Bluebelle, but after then it became a glaring blip on my social media radar (especially Facebook).

I think women get a kick out of torturing other women.

Now, I know this doesn’t apply to ALL women, and I’ve noticed that many of my friends make a concerted effort to be as encouraging as possible, but you can’t seem to escape the mommy trolls.

What’s a Mommy Troll, you ask?

If you’re familiar with the internet community, you may have heard of trolls. Trolls are people in the internet community whose whole goal is to distract you from the topic at hand by saying something that is provoking, inflammatory, and designed to bother you emotionally. There are different variations of trolls — you can often find them in any comment forum and they range from mildly annoying to incredibly offensive.

The ones that get to me the most are the subtle ones — the passive aggressive. In Christian circles, the “Jesus Juke” (a person who takes a perfectly normal topic and tries to direct it in a way that makes it serious and holy) is something you’ll see a lot.

Basically, they are going to be a Debbie Downer.

When you get pregnant or become a mom, especially for the first time, these women come out of the woodwork. They can take any comment you make about pregnancy or motherhood and turn it for the worse. Excited about feeling your baby kick for the first time? “Wait until he kicks you in the bladder and makes you pee your pants!” Can’t sleep? “You’ll never sleep again!” Don’t EVEN try to mention a birth plan — those women will shoot your hopes down with a vengeance. No matter what topic — just know there is a negative rebuttal.

This past weekend my friend made a comment about being tired (she’s in her first trimester) and wanting to see a movie but didn’t want to get off her couch. As soon as she posted it, she gets a response similar to this: “Better go see a movie now because you won’t be able to see any for years after the baby is born!”

That.

When did motherhood become so miserable? Where does it say that having a child is the most torturous thing you’ll ever do?

Furthermore, when did it become standard to tell a pregnant woman that they’ll suddenly go from being fun and vibrant person to a milk-covered zombie?

I’m pretty sure I was awesome before I was a mom and I’m pretty sure I’m still awesome. Even if I lactate and I could use a few hours of sleep.

Sure — motherhood (parenthood for that matter) is hard. You will take some time to adjust. You will need to sleep more than you’ll actually get. You will find that your life will take a shape that you can only begin to imagine before you begin to live it. You’ll be covered in bodily fluids and you may not like your body for a long time. You may find that you rejoice over pee and poop and you stay up all night the first time your baby sleeps in his/her own room. There’s a million things you’ll do that you never imagined. It’s truth.

…but that doesn’t take away your awesomeness.

Parenthood is what you make it, and I find that the people who enjoyed life before a baby continue to have a variation of the same life. We still go to movies. We still go to the mall. We still eat at restaurants. We still hit the occasional concert. We go for family drives and we get ice cream and we laugh and have a great time. Granted, I don’t go to bars or out for heavy drinking binges, but I didn’t do that in the first place. (So you may have decided I had no life before children.) Bluebelle is an extension of us – (and we ask family to watch her from time-to-time) and she’s a part of our lives.

And our lives are pretty awesome.

Also– the mommy trolls aren’t exactly right. You MIGHT pee your pants in pregnancy, but that’s not a guarantee. You’ll be sleep deprived, but you’ll also love those special one-on-one moments in the wee small hours of the morning. There’s a whole group of normal women who will tell you the same.

So ignore the trolls.

Ignore them when they tell you that it “only gets worse.” I’ll tell you now — I’ve been told that 2 years is so much worse than 18 months, and 3 is worse than 2. Now I’m hearing that 4 and 5 are worse than 3. Whatever. Tomorrow I’ll hear, “Just you wait until the teenage years.”

How about this to the new mamas (in any capacity — biological or by heart): Welcome to the most amazing, exciting, exhausting, most fun and most emotionally heart-wrenching journey of your life. Welcome to a million changes that you can both read about and can only experience through trial by fire. There will be days you’ll feel you can’t do it… but you can. You know what’s best, deep down. Trust your heart and don’t let Dr. Google freak you out. It’s okay to complain and it’s okay to gush. Parenthood is neither totally awesome nor totally awful — but it’s mostly awesome. Except for the awful days. Take only the unsolicited advice you want and ignore the rest. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not in love with the moment you are in. That doesn’t make you ungrateful — it makes you human. Grant yourself grace, and remember to grant grace to others when they need it. Welcome to the club. You’ll never be the same.

And those mommy trolls? Yeah, I don’t get them either.

I’ll admit, I try my best to check myself because it’s too easy to become one. I’m not blameless, but we should try to be encouraging, not an instrument of dread.

What do you do when you encounter the mommy trolls?

More about April

8 thoughts on “Watching out for the mommy trolls.

  1. Matthew Richard

    I’ve come to call these comments the “Just you wait…” comments. We get them in reference to raising our one-year-old. “Think she is a handful now? Just wait until she is a teenager.” UGGHH!

    Michelle and I have had lots of conversations about them, and those that say them. I’m not sure what motivates it (perhaps insecurity or personal regret?) but I know they are anything but helpful. I’ve thought about writing about it, but am afraid I might come across as an overly-sensitive jerk.

    This post does a good job at communicating your perspective appropriately and sincerely. Maybe it will help others to think before they open their mouths. And Lord, forgive me if I ever say “just you wait” to a young parent!

    1. April McGrew

      I agree! Thank you so much — and I agree, I try really hard to not say “just you wait” to anyone!

  2. Amanda E

    Such a true post! I wish we would all be more encouraging mommas and not judging or discouraging! Let’s lift each other up!

    1. April McGrew

      Thank you and I agree! 🙂

  3. @dallasbthompson

    Yes, and this happens with SO MANY THINGS.

    It really resonates with me because today at work, someone was really down on me for going above and beyond. We’re supposed to get x amount of work done in a day, and this person always gets exactly x done. I got x times two done — and got positive feedback. She LITERALLY rolled her eyes at me and told me that it wasn’t like management was going to pay me more for working harder.

    It’s a troll of a different sort, but nonetheless. Don’t rain on my parade, man.

    1. April McGrew

      Exactly!! Some women are so petty. YOU know you worked hard… and it will pay off. She’s just bitter.

  4. Amanda Wooldridge Haney

    I definitely can relate to this so well. I was the overly enthused wanted to research everything new Mom while pregnant with Teale and my biggest mistake was joining an online community full of other pregnant women. I stayed until she was born and then left due to the amount of rudeness and judging. Oh the judging. I would get negative comments like that from a lot of Moms who already had older kids and it was annoying. I made one comment about how stretch marks didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would, I just love seeing my sweet baby.. And someone suggested I tan and that will fade them.. I said MAYBE one day I’d go lay out with my friend by her pool to get myself out of the NICU and somehow at that point I was A HORRIBLE MOM, a poor excuse for a Mom, and even was called a selfish b**** by other women who were supposed to be encouraging me and were supposed to be positive. I couldn’t take all the awful comments, then people started having battles because some stuck up for me and it became too much to handle. Yes, I was at the NICU 16 HOURS A DAY with my child, but I also had to get out of there once in awhile for my sanity. Don’t all Moms need “me” time? I believe so. Because of their comments I think I might have left her like 4 times total .. I was there for every 3 hour feeding, every doctor round, every med pass, etc between the hours of 7am-10pm and she did so good that she came home 4 weeks before her projected come home date and the doctor told me before we left that I was an amazing Mom and that Teale had done so good because everything I did for her while she was there and that he wishes more NICU Moms were like me. That was the day I realized I needed to not worry so much about the parenting books and what others say, but that I needed to listen to my heart and trust my gut instinct. After all we are their Mommys right?

    1. April McGrew

      Right?? I had to remove myself from online groups for that very reason!

      I KNOW you’re an amazing Mommy, and Teale reflects that!

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