Parenting

Cyber Bullies and Trolls- The Day I was Attacked

After years of being part of the blogging community I’ve heard and seen some pretty nasty comments and online situations. Bloggers attacking other bloggers, readers leaving mean comments and trolls, oh the trolls. Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid it ever happening to me. I knew someday it would, it’s was just inevitable and last week it finally happened but not in the way I thought it would or who I thought it would come from. Teenage boys. Yes, you heard it right, I was attacked by teenage boy trolls! Here’s what happened…

My four year old son is into scooters big time. You’ll find him most afternoons at the skate park with his Dad practicing his moves and tricks. He watches you tube clips on scooting, it’s his thing and he just loves it. A couple of weeks ago he’d worn out the grip on his scooter so hubby ordered him a new one from Scooter Hut. When it arrived in the mail there was a leaflet to enter a competition to win $500 to spend at Scooter Hut. My son really wanted to enter and we were happy for him to (because let me tell you, scooter stuff can get expensive). It involved taking a pic of his purchase in an ‘inventive way’ and sharing it on Instagram. So we came up with an idea, the little man helped me design it and we snapped the pic. Then early Saturday morning this happened….

Scooter Hut, winner, www.sarahdipity.com.au

We totally won! I told my son the good news. He was quite literally jumping up and down with excitement. “We won, we won mummy!” You could not wipe the smile of his kids. It was all happy, happy, joy, joy until…the trolls came out in force. By the end of the day I’d lost count of how many teenage boys had followed my account and left nasty comments. Here’s just a little snapshot:

“Dude, it’s like a Mum’s page, you should give it to someone else. She’s probably never gonna use it”

“Her son is like 2 years old, this is bullshit”

“Why would you pick some little ass kid who doesn’t even know how to scoot”

“What a wank”

“Such a fuckin joke”

And it went on and on. At first, I was legitimately shocked. Then I laughed, because honestly, it was laughable. And then I was just plain annoyed. I was annoyed that for the next twenty four hours I had to continually check my account to block the little buggers and delete their comments. I was annoyed by their nastiness, their sense of entitlement and their lack of sportsmanship. I mean seriously we entered a competition, we won fair and square and here they were beating up on an innocent four year old boy!

Luckily my son isn’t old enough to read or understand what went on but it does make me scared for the future- when he will be old enough and he will have to deal something like this, probably worse. Because just as sure as I was that I would one day face the trolls, I’m just as sure that he is growing up in a world where the use of social media for cyber bullying has become the norm. And that’s really sad and damn scary. So it’s got me thinking about how I will prepare and manage that in the future. The fact that all of these kids were so young (some not even teenagers yet) and they already have instagram accounts that clearly aren’t being monitored by their parents; well it just shows the kind of tech savvy world my son will be growing up in. My instinct of course will always be to protect him but more than that I need to teach him to protect himself, because the thing about these trolls is that they can follow you everywhere, into your own home, and your own bedroom without anyone even knowing, unless you speak out.

I do have to add that amongst all the hate there were some nice words; some kids that congratulated us on winning the prize and said we did a great job. Man I hope my son grows up to be like those kids. Those kids were great!

Parents of older children I’d love to hear how you manage this? What do you do to ensure your kids are protected from cyber bullies and trolls? Would love to hear your advice!

blog signature, www.sarahdipity.com.auA big thank you to Scooter Hut for our amazing prize! The competition runs every month and if you have a scooter loving child I encourage you to enter- haters are always gonna hate but winners will always be grinners!

 

 

 

 

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Looking Forward, Looking Back

Not long after our son turned one I bundled up all of his baby clothes and gave them to a friend who was having a baby boy. In my mind we no longer needed them as we weren’t planning on having another baby, so it just made sense to give them to someone who could make use of them. I told her to just donate them to an op shop when she was done with them. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I realised I had made a terrible mistake. I’d given away all of my son’s baby clothes! I hadn’t even kept one outfit. I felt like a terrible mother, I felt sick. I had no reminder of how small he was when he came into this world. Of course I have photos and I have memories but that’s just the problem. I struggle to remember. I look at newborns now and I just don’t remember our son ever being that small. Was he ever that small?

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When our son was a baby I think I spent so much time looking forward and waiting. Waiting for him to go to sleep, for him to wake up, for hubby to get home from work, always waiting. Waiting for the next milestone; looking forward to when he would start walking or talking or sleeping through the night. I spent so much time looking forward that I forgot to be present, to just enjoy the moment. People told me of course, all the time, friends and family and even complete strangers would look at my baby and say “enjoy it while it lasts, they grow so fast” and I’d smile and nod but I don’t think I really go it. Not until now.

Now, you’re a walking talking little human being and I can’t remember what it was like before. When you had no words, when your tiny little body fit inside my belly. Of course I know all of these things happened but it seems like a lifetime ago, a whole other world away. I spent so much time then looking forward and now all I can do is look back.

And for anyone out there who thinks I’m sounding clucky (yes Kat I’m looking at you) no, I don’t want another baby but I do wish I had my time with my baby again. There are a lot of things I would do differently, now that I know

You are one thousand, six hundred and forty nine days old….but that’s only four years. It’s so true what they say, the days are long but the years are short. Embrace every day.

If you’re a parent can you relate? Have you ever felt any of these feelings? Did you keep all your child’s baby clothes? Do you ever struggle to remember?

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Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Sons, www.sarahdipity.com.au

I am a mother of a boy. I absolutely love being a mother of a boy. I know we’re not supposed to stereotype but the fact is boys and girls are different (clearly). My son is your typical boy; he loves cars, ninja turtles, motorbikes and getting dirty. He thinks farts are hilarious and loves nothing more than a tickle fight. I always pictured myself with a boy just like this. But he also has this really sweet side, he’s a mummy’s boy and loves to snuggle, it’s the best.

Parenting a child of the opposite sex has its challenges. You’re dealing with the unknown; I don’t know about penises because I don’t have one. Lucky I have hubby for that stuff! But there are a few things I wonder about when it comes to my boy, like:

  • At what point does it become unacceptable for him to come into female public toilets with me? At what point does it become safe for him to go into male public toilets on his own?
  • At what age does it stop being ok for us to see each other naked?
  • Will there come a point when he stops being a mummy’s boy? How will I cope with that?
  • Will I automatically hate every girlfriend he ever has? Will I become ‘that type’ of mother in law? Eeek I hope not!

I’m hoping that these things will just happen naturally, that it will know when the time is right and what to do when that times comes. I know that things will change as he gets older but I just really hope that we always keep talking.

Mum’s of boys- any golden pieces of advice?

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Do You Miss It?

working mum, www.sarahdipity.com.au

At the end of January this year I began twelve months long service leave from my part time job. I’m spending my son’s four year old kindergarten year at home. Three months in and I’m often being asked by people “do you miss it?” Work that is. The answer? I don’t think there’s been enough time yet to “miss it”. Three months has flown by and I’ve been pretty busy. But I know for sure that there will come a time when I will start missing it. I know that after the year I will be ready to go back. I love being a Mum, I really love my son (goes without saying) and I’m so glad that I’ve taken this time to be there for him. I like that I don’t have to rush out the door each morning when I drop him off at kinder, I can stay a while and play. I like that I’m there to pick him up and hear about his day, everyday. I like having more time to spend on the things I enjoy (like this very blog). It’s all good and in this moment it feels right.

But I also really enjoy working, I’ve said it here before that like my job and I love the people I work with; they’ve become great friends. I think I’m good at my job, I feel confident in my role and I get to be part of some pretty great projects and events. If I’m honest I also like the financial freedom it affords our family. The money I earn means we can do more, and get closer to our dreams quicker. So yeah, I know when the time comes I’ll be ready to go back.

As a working Mum I’ve always had to walk the wire; a balancing act between competing priorities of career and motherhood. But this I know for sure; work opportunities will always be there and my son will only ever be this little once.

Are you a working Mum? Do you find the balancing act tricky?

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Co-Sleeping

Co-Sleeping, www.sarahdipity.com.au

There are quite a few so called ‘controversial parenting topics’ I have tended to steer clear of writing about in the past; breastfeeding, controlled crying and discipline to name a few. But today I’m going to go there…I’m going to talk about co-sleeping.

We’ve never really done the whole co-sleeping thing in our house; it’s not that I’m against it or anything, it just that it doesn’t work for us. I’m a really light sleeper and we all know what sleeping with a kid is a like- knees in your back, getting hit in the face, snoring in your ears, being squished right to the very edge of the bed…I end up getting no sleep whatsoever! Our son doesn’t get up during the night and come to our bed and he doesn’t ask to sleep with us; I guess maybe because it’s just how it’s been from the start. We never had him in bed with us as a baby and he was in his own room from about three weeks of age. He did however go through a stage recently where he wanted me to sleep in his bed with him. I was in two minds about it. He was going through a lot of changes- finishing day care, starting kinder and I got the feeling he just needed that extra comfort. But I knew once I started it would become a habit and habits are hard to break. I wanted him to sleep easily and to feel safe but I also wanted my own time of an evening and time with my husband…I didn’t really know what to do!

I remembered a story I saw on Sunrise a few months ago about a family who all sleep in the same room. I guess the story was unique because the couple had something like six or seven young children. They had a king size bed in the middle of their master bedroom surrounded by three bunk beds. My first reaction? That’s crazy! So I turned up the volume to listen. Turns out the family had recently returned from a year long trip. They had spent the past twelve months sleeping in very close quarters in a caravan and when they returned home being separated at night was causing major anxiety in the children. So they came up with the solution of co-sleeping to the extreme and it was working for them. Having that many children they also found that when they were all in separate rooms they had to get up countless times during the night and everyone was suffering from lack of sleep. Being in the same room, everyone started sleeping through the night or if any of the children did wake they were easily settled with a quick cuddle. It all kind of made sense. Of course Kochie asked the question I’m sure you’re all thinking (I know I was), if they were sharing a room with all of their kids how did manage to be intimate? “Well there are plenty of other places to have sex then in the bed” they answered. Good on them I thought!

So I tried to just stop worrying and go with the flow. I began to lay down with my son to get him to sleep each night and then would slowly creep out once he was asleep. Of course then he started waking in the middle of the night wondering where I was so I would crawl back into his bed at some ungodly hour of the morning and he would sleep while I would lay there awake, hanging over the edge of the bed. I tried to just go with it, really I did, but it just wasn’t working, in fact it seemed to be only making things worse. So I talked to him about it and explained that his bed just wasn’t big enough for the both of us and Mummy wasn’t getting any sleep. There were tears and I did feel bad. We made a compromise and for the past few weeks I have been sitting beside his bed and holding his hand until he drifts off. If he wakes during the night (which seems to be getting less and less frequent) I do the same. It seems to be working…for all of us.

I guess my whole point is that you’ve just got to do what works for you. Sometimes that may take a bit of trial and error to figure out and that’s ok. I think this applies to everything in parenting. If you want to co-sleep, do it, if you don’t then don’t and don’t judge others for the parenting choices they make- we’re all just trying to figure it out and do what we think is best.

What are the sleeping arrangements like in your house? Do you co-sleep, bed hop or do you have a strict ‘sleep in your own bed’ policy?

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