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Parent bloggers – especially moms – find the online world an ideal place to vent about their kids

We’ve all heard the term “Democratic Parenting”, which to the best of my knowledge involves allowing the children to have a voice in making their own decisions… otherwise known as Chaos and Confusion in my house. I’ll admit it – I’m an Autocratic Parent and I subscribe to the school of “Because I’m your mother”, and “Because I said so.”

I’ve also been known to insert the following phrase into almost every argument with my children “I’m going to win anyway, so you may as well just stop talking.”

Now, to be fair, I will also confess that this strategy doesn’t always work and, in addition, probably is causing them to not make their own decisions, choose wisely or prepare and present cohesive logistical arguments. I know this, but there are many days when I just don’t have the patience for it. Truth be told, on some days I’ve been known to go even further with my Top-Down Parenting Style and simply text them my stance, which leaves no room for negotiation or verbal sparring. “No late movies on a weeknight. See you at 8:00,” or “If you ask about an allowance raise one more time, it’s going to be lowered.”


Can I take it a step further in using technology to exploit my autocratic parenting style? Apparently, yes I can. I can tweet out about them, post a Facebook comment about them…or write a blog (or in my case, an entire book) about them in a fantastic surge of one-way communication they simply can’t rebut (because they don’t know about it).
I’m not alone in this. We live in a world of the Technocratic Parent, where moms in particular have embraced the blogging world with a fervour not seen since the invention of Spanx. The allure of the mommy blogger world is easy to understand. I can vent in a public space – so cathartic – and in return receive support and empathy from other moms who find themselves in similar situations. As the reader of these blogs, it’s also a win/win situation as I discover it’s not just my children who inflict pain and misery on the very person who gave them human life.
If I’m lucky, I might actually find someone who is having a worse day than I am, which is always uplifting in a Schadenfreude sort of way.

But is being an online mom out of line? Should we be talking about our children and their foibles in such a public forum? I think we should be, and here are a few reasons why:

  • Misery loves company. Just when I’m about to entirely disown my eight-year-old for throwing out my makeup because it takes me too long to get ready in the morning, I can go online and find someone whose 10-year-old just dropped Mom’s new BlackBerry in the toilet. On purpose. Just so she would talk to him.
  • I receive feedback on viable solutions to my parenting challenges which don’t involve military school (too expensive), duct tape (too medieval), or running away from home (too logistically complicated – plus the car is out of gas or I’ve just had two glasses of wine, at almost any time when I need this option the most).
  • I can stimulate the few mommy-addled brain cells I have left by seriously debating whether I should buy the ‘free’ version of the laundry detergent. That has to be a healthy thing, after spending innumerable hours with young children and no adult conversation. I can even post an online survey about which will get my clothes cleaner (bonus!).
  • I can actively participate in the socialized globalization of the universal challenges of the matrimonial structure. Translation: I can gripe to women around the world about how useless our husbands can be.

All in all, a system of one-way parenting has its own stand-alone merits. It’s a bit like putting blinders on to the unpleasant parenting moments that eye rolling teenagers and tantruming toddlers can fill, but it’s also isolating in its “my way or the highway” mentality. Finding other similar souls (I like to call us ‘leaders’, not ‘tyrants’ as some unreasonable people like to say) in the calmer spheres of the virtual world can be just what we need when we hear those dreaded (and untrue words), “You’re not the boss of me.”

Kathy Buckworth’s latest book Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Chicken, Children, and Chardonnay, is in bookstores everywhere. Visit www.kathybuckworth.com and follow Kathy on twitter at www.twitter.com/kathybuckworth.

Published June 2010

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