I have a new favorite saying.
“Busy bodies can’t be busybodies.”
I use this as a reminder to my kids when they are tattling or into each others business. If you’re sticking to your business you don’t have time for anybody else’s. It helps remind me too when I get into a situation they could probably handle on their own.
We have become a society of professional busybodies. Social media and reality tv has made this possible. The ability to find out about anyone and anything at any time has made us all suddenly experts at everything. Jack of all trades, masters of none. We can find out where someone is and everything about them.
When I was a teen, a car full of us girls would drive by a boy’s house hundreds of times to learn some tidbit of info. Catch a glimpse. Maybe we’d spot them, more than likely we didn’t. Though I seem to recall a few hasty turnarounds and lots of squealing. Teen girls, not tires. It was part of the mystery. Now there is no mystery.
Now people post their private lives and their private parts for all the world to see in real-time the instant it happens. We have become so hungry for more and thus fooled ourselves into thinking we know all about every subject since “we read it online”. We are more than ever, well-versed in all things medical, educational and healthy living.
Oh, and let’s not forget parenting. Most of all parenting. We think because we “know” someone online that we are somehow qualified to tell people how to live. When really they have told us only those parts they want to share. A tiny slice of their life.
The combination of these things has caused us to reach a whole new level of sticking our noses where they don’t belong. I’m sorry. I’ll say it. Women are the worst. We probably always have been. We are known for butting in. We all know the neighborhood gossip, the proverbial mother-in-law, and the backseat driver.
Now with the internet, it’s busybody in turbo mode. We’ve decided we can tell everyone how to conduct their family life. We are sure enough ready to tell them they are doing it all wrong. It doesn’t matter we have enough of our own issues to handle.
Mention your plans for yourself and your family and you are suddenly judged, tried and convicted. As if they have to live your life and it’s really any of their concern. When in fact, most times, it has no bearing on their life or lifestyle in any way.
If you weren’t already unsure what was best for you and your family, rest assured some well-meaning Facebook “friend” will be sure to help you with that. No need to ask. What should be a community of people supporting each other, and it can be, has become a modern way to say “mine’s bigger”.
I am 45 years old, married to my high school boyfriend. I stay home full-time and I am a new blog writer. I am two years into homeschooling our 8, 9 and 14-year-old kids, as well as the full-time caregiver for my grandmother.
How does that affect you? It doesn’t. Any more than if I sent my kids to public school and worked in an office. That’s the point.
Really aren’t we all in this together, no matter what our situation. We’re all women learning and discovering what that means for ourselves.
Single, married or living together. Working parent, stay-at-home or work from home. Choose not to have kids, can’t have kids, or 19 and counting. Adoption or abortion. Go back to school, change jobs or be happy with where you are. Work for someone else or start your own business. Bottle or breast. Smoker, non-smoker, or recovering smoker. Public school, private school, homeschool. Spank or spoil. Helicopter or free-range. Vegan, Paleo, organic. Big city, suburbs, rural living.
Work out or enjoy your big, beautiful self. Or unapologetically, naturally skinny self for that matter, ahem.
No matter what, you’re wrong and they’re here to tell you why. Always needing to defend your choices. All because their small-minded self knows all about what is best for you.
Now with the internet, I can not only diagnose myself with cancer several times a week, but I can tell you what’s wrong with you too. For more on that, read my post, Confessions of an Internet Hypochondriac, coming soon.
If the incessant drama and whining of an imagined calamity of others on Facebook makes you feel better about yourself, Pinterest will fix that. It is one of my favorite things to do. However, it is, unfortunately, one of the worst.
Though it’s designed as a site for all things helpful, a sharing of creativity. It is and it can be counterproductive. You can find every way you’re doing it wrong all in one place. A way for millions of women to remind me maybe I am not doing enough and it looks like they are doing it all.
For instance, this pin, “5 of the Worst Things to Say to Your Kid”. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure I can come up the ones I have said and feel bad enough, thanks anyway. How about this gem? “Never Do This if You Want Your Child to Hate You”. It’s no wonder anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication usage is skyrocketing.
If you’re not parenting wrong, then your house is a messy, crappy place or so your pin feed reminds you daily. DIY home improvements, cleaning products and organization tips abound. No one can do all the pins they love. I wish I could. Trust me, my boards would be a frigging full-time job and that doesn’t count all the pins I keep adding (over 6000 and counting, thank you).
Pinterest, the biggest honey-do list ever.
Don’t get me wrong I love it. I am on there daily for dream building and real workable ideas. No one can come up with a solution to every problem. For a perfectionist introvert who doesn’t like to ask for help, I am thankful someone else has done it before me. I am not afraid to use your idea, but let’s not beat each other over the head with it.
No worries they’ll be sure to find you. At two am when every problem seems monumental. It’s quiet, except for your thoughts. It’s there waiting for you.
Women have been judging each other forever. We know this. However, before the internet, we kept it behind your back like good girls were taught. I am not talking about obsessively politically correct bullshit or jokes that people with no sense of humor can’t realize is society laughing at itself. I am talking about remarks cloaked as advice that make us question our abilities as women, mothers and productive members of society.
This internet nugget is a perfect example:
“ I think the opposite of AP (attachment parenting) are the parents who just don’t think about their children very much at all. They operate as robotic caregivers, putting as much responsibility on others as possible while doing the bare minimum in order to spend as much time on themselves and their own interests as they can. They don’t mind spending long stretches of time away from their kid, because as long as the child appears to be ok, they’re satisfied. (And if the child doesn’t seem to be ok, well, they just need to grow up and get over it.) These parents don’t consider the impact of anything on their kids, because it’s too much work. Just give that thing it’s bottle, shut it up, and let me get back to playing xbox. “
Now I am NOT debating the pros and cons of attachment parenting. What I did, should have nothing to do with what works for you. I realize people have the right to an opinion as well as the right to free speech. My problem is when people like this are judging others disguised as someone who is offering helpful and supportive information. All they really do is make women feel like they suck at the hardest job in the world. Most parents care more than anything. Which is why they are looking for information that will help them, not another reason to feel guilty. This is not helpful. It is hateful and rather extreme.
I’m not implying getting advice or help from the internet is unnecessary. Hello, obviously I write a blog. What it should be is a way to find people who are like us, who can we can relate to. Support each other because life can be hard.
Sometimes we just don’t know anybody personally who understands. Instead, it’s turned into a place to hide behind a computer and preach about how my way is better than yours. Rather than explain how we do something and offer it to the universe to take it or leave it as people see fit, we use it as an opportunity to make people feel bad about their choices.
We seem to make everything our business and find any excuse to let people know our opinion.
A great boss I once had used to tell me, “If you have a decision to make, try it on like a sweater. How does it fit? How does it feel? Does it work for you? If it’s scratchy or stretched out, take it off and throw it away.” If we apply that logic to the way other people live – why the hell do I care about the sweater you’re wearing? Maybe I think it’s ugly. So what, I don’t have to wear it.
As long as your shit doesn’t interfere directly with my shit, why should I give a shit? I have a hard enough time deciding what’s for dinner, why am I qualified to tell you what to do?
I consider myself a recovering busybody. I do occasionally fall off that wagon. I cringe when I think of the ways I have shared what I am doing with my family and friends and realize how it must have sounded on the receiving end. Now I look back and realize how much of that came of being unsure of myself. As if I had to tell as many people as I could about it because I needed their acceptance or permission. Must we always be defending our choices?
For some of my own judgy, sarcastic nonsense read these:
We go out into the world with little to no experience at life. Through trial and error, often times many, many errors, we begin to figure things out, sort of. Millennials have always had the internet at their fingertips to guide them. We had books that we could read, digest, then try ideas. Those didn’t talk back. If we were lucky we had family and friends.
We aren’t born knowing how to parent. Sometimes I feel like, “I am pretty sure, there must be an adult to ask. Wait, I’m the adult. Who the hell approved this promotion? I’m not qualified. Aww, crap.”
Then someone tells me something positive I am doing or that my kids are doing and I realize I am just where I should be. So are you. Trust me. I read it on the internet.
Now if you’ll excuse me, but I have to make pancakes for dinner because I spent so much time on Pinterest I forgot to take something from the freezer. No worries. The thing is, its become a dinner favorite here for everyone. That works for us, and that’s all that matters.
Are you guilty of being a busybody? Leave a comment.
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