Why be smug?

Every once in a while I read a post written deep within this parenting niche and it really resonates. When a post is open, honest and true and touches upon experiences which are obviously so commonly recognised it feels bonding, it feels inclusive and supportive – there’s a real sense of all being in this thing together.

No one ever said that being a mother and a wife was going to be all plain sailing and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea in life, but why, I ask you, why, do some people, who have chosen a different path, feel the need to stick their oar in with a smug comment, essentially boasting that their life choices are better than yours?

When I look at people who have chosen to stick with one child I sometimes think, ‘you’ve got it so easy’, but when I look at someone with three children, my first thought is not ‘ha ha! Look at the merry-go-round you’ve opted for, you fool!’. No, I look up and wonder what I’m missing, how much more fun a family of five might have in years to come (not that I would, in any way, want to have another child myself mind you!). I would certainly never in a million years dump a smug mother-of-two comment onto a post which had opened up about how tough a mother of three was finding the challenge some days.

What these smug ‘single, child-free by choice and living it up’ commentators don’t admit to is that no-one gets away with a life which is a series of ups and no downs. Like the economy, life, by it’s very nature, is all about the peaks and troughs.

I get the feeling that single people who trawl the parenting niche must be there for a reason. Personally, I suspect that they are searching for affirmation of their own life choices and ready to leap on a post which is brave enough to explore some of the less shiny happy moments of the parenting experience.

One recent example, on a brilliant blog I follow (Sisterhood and All That), states “ No kids and no husband means I can lie in bed all day if I want without anyone messing up my kitchen counters. Bliss. Feel free to take this opportunity to tell me what I’m missing out on and how you wouldn’t swap it for the world. Go on. You know you want to…it will make you go all warm and gooey inside” which is essentially the written equivalent of a sharp angry poke in the eye attempting to negate any potential comebacks which might seek to point out that actually, getting married and having children isn’t just a series of screaming, hair-pulling, anxiety inducing misery. (Steph, I apologise if this was genuinely written in jest by your sister or something!).

But you know, whoever you are, just keep searching out the negative bits and we’ll keep dishing ‘em up, but remember to shut your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and sing ‘la la la’ if you happen to stumble across anything that looks anything like this:

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

21 thoughts on “Why be smug?

  1. I’ve just read Kiran’s post over at Mummy Says, and now this… i’m feeling there’s something quite big going on, but as usual I have no clue what it is. All I can say is sod the naysayers. [not all the time but often] people that gloat about their lot in life do so because they aren’t genuinely happy with it. They make others feel crap to make themselves feel better.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the grass is very rarely greener on the other side. My hubby and I were having a conversation just the other day, and for us and our situation, no matter how hard it gets we know it’s the best life we could have chosen.

    Hugs xxx

    • I read Kiran’s post too and it’s a really sad thought that there are people out there who would make such hurtful, even scary comments. I don’t think what I’m talking about compares really – there just seem to be a lot of young people out there who genuinely can’t see that, whilst having a young family may seem like a desperate binning off of freedom and a massive compromise, actually, it is a laying of foundations for the future. X

  2. Oh dear, I don’t know why people bother commenting at all if they are going to be negative, I mean seriously what’s the point of spreading negativity!!
    Boasting about having no kids on a parents blog is just a weird thing to do!!!

  3. Can you imagine if we all went around writing on single peoples walls how lonely they must be or whatever else?! Every choice in life has some downsides.

    I’ve been reading a lot about conflict management at the moment (thanks to a little fallout I needed to manage/damage control) and the first rule on many sites is to try and see it from their point of view because all negative comments pretty much come from a place of pain (that last bit is my interpretation). Maybe this person actually desperately wants to have someone messing up their work surfaces and is lonely?! Why you’d channel that energy in this way, I don’t know but then you’d need a degree in psychology to understand most people’s actions! My stance as a way to help me to deal with negativity is to give the benefit of the doubt and feel sorry for the other person (whilst blocking and removing comments, which I haven’t yet had to do yet!).

    Sorry, this is meant to be supportive but thanks to the little princess I’ve lost my train of thought!! Great, thought provoking post 🙂 xxx #BrillBlogPosts

    • I always try and show empathy Hannah but sometimes you just think, you know, even if someone has had a bad day, or has some hidden desire which they are finding difficult to realise, why should they be excused for spreading bad karma? Fortunately I haven’t had to block or remove any commentators either! I did write a post called ‘Bad Attitude’ once though – basically about people who appear to hate children (in real life) and act with intolerance, and I got a very defensive but badly argued comment which I took great pleasure in deconstructing – the pen is mightier than the sword after all! 🙂 Xx

  4. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that comment, I mean, honestly, what is the point? Good for you if you’re happy with the life choices but really how happy are you of you feel the need to gloat over someone who is struggling at that moment. People can be so unkind and I just don’t get why. Makes me think they must have some unhappiness in their life if they have to reaffirm themselves by getting at others. I dunno, we all make the choices in life that are best for us, there are positives and negatives regardless of your choices. I love the blogging community for how supportive everyone is in general and such a shame when people have to ruin it by being so negative! Great post lovely xx

    • That was my thought Caroline – these snarky comments do speak of some personal issues which maybe someone needs to work out themselves without using other peoples bad times as a way to boost themselves up. X

  5. Hey – first off, thanks for linking to my blog! The comment was from an ex-colleague and I think she’s joking – she is single and always found my honesty (ahem!) about kids quite entertaining – I think it actually reassured her a bit that it isn’t all roses when she sometimes thought it was? I like the comment above from Hannah about trying to work out where someone’s attack comes from. It’s not usually vicious I don’t think, although I appreciate there are some of those out there as well! V thought provoking! xx

    • Steph – I’m really sorry I maybe got the wrong end of the stick! I did think that your response was remarkably mild mannered (despite the little disclaimer about the whole thing being tongue in cheek)! As has been said before, it is really difficult to read tone of voice into comments sometimes and it’s also impossible for the rest of us on the thread (who the comment did seemed to be aimed at looking at the ‘Dear All’ salutation) to know that the commentator was someone personally known to you who may have just been joking about (all mothers/wives are crazy deranged and bitches? Where did *that* come from? 🙂 ) Anyhow I hope I haven’t trodden on any toes – there are definitely plenty of haters out there – just not that I’ve experienced aimed at me personally thank goodness!) X

    • I guess that is true Merlinda. At least we’ve got a very strong supportive community – just sad for Kiran of Mummy Says who posted about packing up her blog due to some awful troll comments on a recent post of hers. 😦

  6. I always think it’s hard with the online world to read someone’s tone isn’t it? I feel I am constantly over sensitive and so I am always trying to ignore bad comments or snide or smug etc. I work with a lot of people who act smug about not having children, I rarely talk about Harrison to them anyway, but I just leave it be. They can’t know what he is to me or the joy he brings and as you say, that’s why they should la la la off xx

    • That’s exactly it Sian – with anything written – emails, texts blog or facebook comments – it can be so difficult not to get the wrong end of the stick sometimes. I am always super aware of how I word things because I don’t want to be mistaken in this way. As I’ve said before, people who act smug about not having children while they are in their 20s and 30s might just wonder whether it was worth it in 20 year’s time when other’s lives suddenly seem rich and varied and they are all partied out… I also hope that no-one thinks that my last bit, with the cute pics, was actually a bit of hypocrisy on my part for being smug about having children – it was actually just a way of showing the beauty of being a parent without using words at all. 🙂 X

  7. This is so well written Sam, and reading the comments above I’m not sure there is much more I can add but I will just say these are such cute pictures of your wee people! Gorgeous! Who wouldn’t want one of those?? 🙂 xx

  8. It’s always a shame when someone makes a negative comment towards a blogger. I always go by the rule of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.
    I think perhaps some people don’t realise when they sound smug or put others down..

    Emma | frillsanddoodads.com

  9. *applauds* I’m pretty sure I drive everyone at work mad when I talk abut her all day. But she is 90% of what I do and she makes me extremely proud.
    I think it’s great when people enjoy life, especially the way they have it… but never say never… people change and accidents happen… NOW who has jam on their hardwood floors?!

    • He hee! I’ve got no problem with people choosing the single life and enjoying it, I just resent the whole ‘rubbing it in your face on purpose’ attitude, but as has been said, it is hard to know the circumstances behind someone commenting like this and maybe there is some real sadness or tragedy which they are concealing. Benefit of the doubt and all that…

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