Raising Richmond: Not all trolls and crazies

14 examples of how the Interwebs aren’t always a horrible place for parents.

I’ll never forget the first time I got a truly negative comment on an article in which I wrote about a choice I’d made as a parent.

“I feel really sorry for your son.”

Sure, other writers who share their parenting experiences online have gotten much worse than that, but yeah. Ouch.

The Internet can be a rough place for parents. The constant influx of information and opinions–and, with those, judgment–is annoying on a good day and downright disheartening on a bad one.

But, like with most things, when it comes to parenting in the Age of the Internet you take the bad with the good. And believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of good floating around out there in those tubes and wires Al Gore blessed us with so long ago.1

Today I wanted to share some examples of that goodness with you–old favorites of mine and other little gems I happened upon recently. Some offer up support and encouragement you might not be able to find anywhere else; a few offer up some much-needed laughs; and the rest just help you remember why you let yourself end up here in the first place.

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1. Walking normally: the facts

This is the most accurate description of what it’s like to go anywhere with a four-year-old.

2. An open letter to moms from Kid President

Stop cleaning. Our house isn’t messy! Our house is awesome. It’s awesome because we live in it.

Ten-year-old Robby Novak (AKA Kid President) shares this and nine other bits of insight all mothers need to hear.

3. A note from me to you

I’m not one to “bookmark” things, but this short-and-sweet post from Magda Pecsenye made the cut. I like to read it when I have no clue what I’m doing with my child–which, let’s be honest, is pretty much all the time.

4. A mother’s touch

Sometimes you just need an ugly-cry inducing reminder that this whole motherhood thing is bigger than all that stuff we spend most of our time thinking about.

5. What I won’t tell you about my ballet-dancing son

Here Ashleigh Baker offers up some lovely thoughts on just letting a child love what he loves.

6. Squirrel

Three-year-olds are infuriating, ridiculous, and wonderful. This post celebrates all of their crazy-ass ways.

7. Cesarean courage

I delivered our son via C-section. Almost five years later, I still get comments from people implying that I somehow wussed out in the birth process. Because essentially saying, “Sure, I’ll lie here while you cut me wide open to get my baby out alive” is the wimpy way of doing things, I guess?

This post is a great reminder that all births require bravery — whether they happen at home, in the hospital, naturally with minimal intervention, with an epidural, via C-section, what have you. We need to remember that.

8. What is the creepiest thing your young child has ever said to you?

Our kid’s been known to say some pretty weird stuff.2 For example, he once held my husband’s head in his hands and said, quite matter-of-factly, “I’m gonna eat your face…but not your eyeballs.”


The comments on this Reddit thread are 1) hilarious and 2) comforting in that they make it seem like it’s totally normal for your preschooler to say some really messed up stuff and not necessarily an indicator that he’s going to grow up to be a total psychopath.

9. Be Brave and Kind

Or, as I like to call it, “2 simple rules3 for raising a good person (and also being one).”

10. Dear Mom (writing about Mom) writing about Mom on the iPhone

In November of 2012, Tonya Ferguson wrote Dear Mom on the iPhone an open letter to a hypothetical mother sitting on a hypothetical park bench as she ignored her hypothetical child and “messing” with her hypothetical smartphone.

And then the Internet lost their damn minds.

Some people loved it, professing that they were convicted by Ferguson’s thoughts and felt compelled to change their ways. Others didn’t, arguing that maybe this mother was sending emails for work, texting a friend having a hard time, scheduling medical appointments–you know, doing important things that come with being a parent.

While I get both perspectives, I happen to prefer Julie Robichaux’s take on it: maybe the mom was just dicking around on her phone, and why can’t that be OK? Her post is a great one to read when you’re feeling particularly spunky–or maybe need to.

11. To parents of small children: let me be the one who says it out loud

Because you can love being a parent to your kids, but you don’t have to love every moment of what it takes to parent your kids.

12. What’s more difficult: marriage or motherhood?

I first came across this video4 back in 2009 and it struck a chord with me–big time. Our son was about two months old at the time, and I, having just schlepped out of my post-partum fog, found myself struggling to balance the demands of being someone’s mother and someone’s partner. The video doesn’t offer any actual solutions to this challenging transition, but it was nice to know I wasn’t alone. I’d love to see a companion video in which dads talk about their experiences as well.

13. When you think your love story is boring

In a touching tribute to her husband, Lisa Jo Baker reminds us that most couples meet under (and live together in) very ordinary circumstances…but that doesn’t make their love any less important or life-giving. Here’s one quote that just kills me:

He lays down his life and it looks like so many ordinary moments stitched together into the testimony of a good man who comes home to his family in the old minivan, the one with the broken air conditioning. It undoes me every time to look around and find him there, having my back in the day to day and the late night into late night and then next year again.

14. Star Wars according to a three-year-old

This adorableness showed up on the Internet right around the time our son was conceived. It’s highly possible that this video had something to do with it. I’m sure many parents procreated right around then, hoping their children would one day approach such high levels of cute.

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  1. Sorry, that’s one joke I’m never letting go. 
  2. You can read more about that here
  3. Guys, remember that show 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter? Sigh, I really miss John Ritter. 
  4. Yes, it’s from a website called Momversation which kind of makes me want to slow-barf, but what are ya gonna do? 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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