Lately there has been a lot of back and forth (and downright nastiness) on Twitter among mom bloggers about people who tweet during times of distress. To the best of my knowledge this bruhaha began with Penelope Trunk tweeting about her miscarriage during a business meeting and reached fever pitch with Shellie Ross tweeting about her son’s accident and subsequent death roughly half an hour after he fell into the family pool (the tweets have since been removed).
Some have criticized Ross for not being available to her son or being so infatuated with Twitter that she neglected her responsibilities, while others have defended Ross’s actions as a mother who was simply reaching out to a familar community for support.
I think what some are failing to see is that Twitter and other forms of social media offer an opportunity for support that would not otherwise exist. Many of these women have developed very real and substantial connections with their online friends, so tweeting about a tragedy is no different than picking up the phone and calling on a friend in a time of need. I know that if something tragic was to happen to me, I would reach out to everyone I know for support ~ especially if that tragedy was the loss of one of my children.
Questions have been raised about the timeline of Ross’s tweeting in proximity to the drowning and death of her son. Some felt she was tweeting when she should have been watching her son, others felt she was tweeting too soon after her son’s death….Really? While I can see how developing online relationships can absorb way too much time (we are all guilty of letting a ten minute peek morph into a two hour stint), I think we all need to step back and realize that each of us handles things differently.
We are supposed to be a community of mothers who support and love each other. While I’m not saying that neglect (if it really is neglect) deserves a hug and a pass, I am saying that we need to hit the pause button and remember that this is a mother who is grieving the loss of her son and, ultimately, that is all that matters.
I think the reason people were so upset about Penelope’s tweet is the lack of sentimentality attached to the tweet. The loss was stated so matter of factly ~ like she was announcing that she was drinking a cup of coffee during a board meeting. I wonder if her tweet would have been more acceptable had she displayed what people consider the appropriate amount of grief?