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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

In Response To Mom Trolls

I rarely pay any attention to Internet trolls. You know the people I'm talking about. They're the ones that find the beautifully written, emotional posts about controversial topics and post the most negative, critical, and often flat out rude responses. They're the ones that find every opportunity to tear others down via anonymous (or sometimes not) comments because they don't have to face the person they're attacking. They're obnoxious critics, social media bullies, and ultimately they're cowards. So I ignore them for the most part, until today.

I follow Mama Lion Strong on Facebook. Jennifer Campbell is a health, fitness, and lifestyle blogger from Canada. She recently posted a heartfelt and emotional commentary on the recent drowning death of a two year-old boy in rural Canada. I think it's a post with which most mothers can identify. None of us are perfect, and accidents happen. It's an eloquent post that truly tugs at your heart strings, especially in light of the tremendous loss of little Chase Martens. Enter the trolls. Almost unbelievably, their attacks ranged from "you're an idiot" to "I'm going to let CPS know what a terrible mother you are." Really?! My thoughts on CPS aside, that's a gross misuse of an already overburdened and underfunded government entity. Not to mention the fact that, as I said, most mothers can relate. We've all had those moments when we take 90 seconds to go pull the laundry out of the dryer, only to return and find our child playing with a pair of scissors we thought we'd hidden well enough. Or maybe they fall playing in what we think is our relatively safe backyard and break their arm in two places. Or maybe they get a bead stuck up their nose. I am positive that every single mother out there has those stories. How can I be so sure?

Because there's no such thing as a perfect mother or a perfectly safe child.

They simply don't exist. The only perfect human being to ever walk this planet lived 2,000 years ago and He was actually God incarnate. I won't tell you every last detail of His life right now because that could take forever, mostly because I love talking about Him. For now, I will tell you that it is my faith in Him that gets me through each and every day. Not all days are a bloody battle, but they do all require strength, wisdom, and sometimes protection from things I have no way of controlling or predicting. This doesn't make me a bad mother; it makes me human.

So in defense of Jennifer Campbell (who handled the criticisms very graciously!), I would like us to completely change directions with our line of thinking. When tragedy strikes, we focus on the negative what-ifs: what if I had done something differently? What if I had said something? What if...what if...what if somehow everything is our fault because it's all within our control. I'll reiterate because it's important: as much as I want to protect my kids from everything, I CAN'T because I CAN'T control everything.  That's not to say there aren't precautions I can take, and I'm sure there will always be things that we "could have done" when these situations arise. But when parents are mourning the loss of their child, that is not the right time to dwell on what could have been.

Instead, what if we focused on the positive what-ifs? What if, instead of criticizing, we encourage each other? What if, instead of pointing out flaws, we highlight strengths? What if we were to remember the good moments? What if we learned our lessons and moved on from the bad moments? I am not trying to be flippant or dismissive of grief. I am simply trying to say that Chase Martens' family needs our support. Want to get real down and dirty? That's what Susan Klebold and her family needed in the wake of the Columbine shooting. I'm sure that touches a lot of nerves. But can we really blame parents for everything that happens, every choice their children make? Whether it's toddling out of the safe haven of a back yard or murderously terrorizing a school, the depth of these tragedies will effect countless lives for decades to come. These mothers are already in the most immense, dark, lonely pain known to mankind. Who are we to rub salt in their wounds? But for the grace of God, we're not in their shoes.

Every single day we are given is a gift. Loving the people in our lives is our privilege. We are not guaranteed or promised long, perfectly safe lives. Rather, we are promised both blessings and sorrows. The nature of living in a broken world means that as imperfect humans we will live imperfect lives. Mothers are no different, try as we might to anticipate, prevent, and protect our children from every possible threat. The most powerful thing we can do is to continuously give them to God. I pray over L every night, pleading with God to grant her a long life full of blessings while acknowledging that she is not mine. She's on loan to me, and I am overwhelmed by such an incredible honor. I am awed. And I am flawed. The most powerful thing I can do, the best thing I can do, is drown her in prayer and love every day. And when it comes to it, I will support other mothers as much as possible.

We're all just doing our best to love and care for our children. Why wouldn't we support that? 

A haplessly imperfect but humbly hopeful Mommy,

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