I've learned over the years that you have to be very careful with what you say online. Even something meant to be helpful or encouraging can easily be taken the wrong way. I was reminded of this yesterday morning after I sent out the following tweets.
Good morning all! Work in the garden before it gets hot, or work on my poor, neglected blog while it's quiet enough to think? Hmmm.....
I really want to write, but I feel massive guilt every time I do. There are only about 100 other very important things I should be doing. :(
I honestly wasn't expecting anything in the way of a reply. That's the seductive thing about Twitter...it makes you think you can muse aloud to yourself. But I ended up getting this in response.
In typical Wendy fashion, I immediately burst into tears. "How about focus on your family first..." The implication being that I don't put my family first? That spending the remaining 30-45 minutes I had before my children woke up (after already reading five chapters in my Bible and listening to and encouraging my husband about his own plans for the day) to write a post that had been churning in my mind since the night before makes me a neglectful mother??
I could say a lot of angry things right now, but I won't. Instead, I will simply ask this:
What does focusing on your family mean?
Am I not focusing on my family when I do any of these things?
Weed 1.5 acres of vegetable garden
Help my husband string 400 yards of fencing for the pigs
Mow an acre of grass
Read books and watch videos on YouTube so I can learn to use a pressure canner or sewing machine
Chop and haul wood for winter heating
Help my husband manage our farm's website and social media outlets to reach customers for our poultry and organic produce
Try to build my own online presence in the hopes of generating income to help provide for my family
If I enjoy doing any of these things, does it diminish the priority of them in relationship to meeting my family's needs?
I did go on to write the post yesterday, with my husband's encouragement. I've been wrestling with "finding my voice" and it's not going to happen if I never say anything. As far as the woman on Twitter goes, I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, now that I've had time to think it over. She doesn't know me, has never communicated with me before, and certainly couldn't have predicted the impact of her words. I'm sure I've said things online that were taken the wrong way, regardless of how I intended them. Maybe it occurred to her that what she said might have been less than encouraging, because she deleted the tweet almost as soon as she sent it. I really don't know what she thinks or how she feels because I'm not walking in her shoes any more than she's walking in mine.
If I've ever made another mother feel guilty for the choices she's made, I'm truly sorry and offer my humble apologies. I do honestly believe that focusing on one's family involves different priorities for different moms, and not one is less or more than another.
What do you think?