This morning I was in a funk. It’s Monday (for one thing), we had dealt with one child breaking down all night and morning, and it is crazy gloomy outside. This type of weather I usually love, but today it just seemed to add to my slump. So I threw up an OLD clip on the @kidsaretheworst Instagram of a young kid giving a bit of side-eye to a crying baby in the car seat next to him. Because the crying and my emotional side-eye just seemed to identify and I couldn’t think of anything funny to write.
That’s what I say to myself after I do something without thinking about it much beforehand. Do you ever call out your own name in exasperation? Sure you do, right? Please?
When will I learn? I should NEVER post any kid ever in a car seat. Ever! Never ever. They could look appropriately fastened and have the chest clip at the right level and the straps all neat and straight and STILL it wouldn’t be right to somebody. That somebody will feel completely justified in calling me out and telling me to fix the straps. Even if it’s not my child, the video is crazy old, and that child is now driving and dating.
Listen, I get it. Car seat safety is a big deal. Babies have tragically died when they could have been saved. I am not saying that it’s not a really serious thing. It is. And I am grateful that I’m mostly out of that stage with my own kids, because MAN, people are ruthless when it comes to their own version of acceptable safety.
It’s a funny thing, the car seat social media patrol (I don’t capitalize the group, because as far as I am aware, there are no actual organizations that patrol social media for incorrect car seat buckling. But I wouldn’t be surprised, what with the fervor!). I rarely feel the concern and love that they so adamantly suggest is behind such chastising comments. Rather, I feel the heart-racing excitement that comes before judgement and unsolicited instruction. Let me repeat, these are not my kids. I did not buckle them in. I am merely trying to bring levity and acceptance to the sometimes stressful situation of raising kids. And every time I post a picture of a kid in a car seat, I mistakenly do the EXACT OPPOSITE.
People get so freaking fired up. They start instructing the other commenters on correct practices. But mostly they are instructing other fired-up commenters on what THEY think is the right way to buckle in a child and they cheer each other on (and sometimes even correct old practices—GASP!). If anyone DARE laugh off these sententious comments, they are accused of taking children’s lives lightly. How dare you try to laugh off a really hard day with a super old video of a kid IN A CAR SEAT!
I’m never going to convince anyone that their comments are unsuccessful. But maybe these comments are also way more divisive than anyone realizes. Maybe, just maybe, someone feels more exhausted and more judged and less likely to connect. Maybe some mother will feel even more drained on what is already shaping up to be a pretty crummy day. Maybe that mother is me, and maybe you don’t care. That’s cool. I don’t expect every day to be awesome and hilarious.
If you want to start an account that shows proper seat-buckling safety, I think you totally should. I legitimately think it could do a lot of good for a lot of people. If you want to tell people that you are “just trying to help” by speaking down to someone and treating them like idiots, well, that’s your prerogative. But, it kinda sucks. Chances are, it won’t make them change their mind.
I don’t know. Maybe by asking people to be more understanding, I have unwittingly condemned those who have reacted with passionate comments. And now I am the critical one.
Mondays will get you, amIright?!