Spread Love, Not Shame

I got an email from Melissa — you might remember her as the pregnant pastor's daughter — in which she confessed something that all moms (ahem, all people) can relate to: sometimes social media is the worst.

We've talked a lot about the issue of feeling judged and embarrassed — and how, as a young first-time mom, it can feel so aggressive and unfair. But then as you chug along through the years, you realize that all moms are getting judged — and age? Age is just an easy target. Mom wars are waged from defensiveness and insecurity, which — as toxic as it is — kind of makes sense. There's nothing that'll strip you raw and expose your vulnerabilities like parenthood.

But then you might look around, like Melissa did, and realize that everyone is feeling judged for something — especially if you put yourself out there on the Internet. There's always someone to tell you that you're wrong or ignorant — that you don't love enough, or you love too much, or you love the wrong kind of way. That you're too young or old or uneducated or elite.

What started as rude comments in grocery stores and whispery small-town gossip is now infinitely expanded with Facebook comments, blog posts, and tweets. And that burning, hot-faced feeling of judgment is so intrinsically linked to your own confidence — meaning the more confident you feel in yourself, the less you notice (or care about) the words/looks/opinions of the mean-spirited.

So Melissa, tired of feeling knocked down, decided to be proactive. She started writing letters.

"Every time I feel judged, inadequate and cut down, I write a letter to someone else and tell them that they are amazing and wonderful."

She sends letters to her friends — whether they're moms or not — to brighten their day and boost their confidence. And I really dig that.

So here's what I want us to do:

Write a Facebook status or send a tweet to a friend of yours who could use some uplifting. Tell her why she's rad. Tell her what she's doing right. Tell her something positive. And make sure to use the hashtag #spreadlovenotshame and tag @earlymama so that I can find it. Or, ya know what? Just write a hand-written letter like Melissa. Spread kindness however you'd like.

If enough of you participate, I'll do something cool with them.

If enough of you participate, maybe we can help each other feel a little more confident and positive in a world that always seems to be dragging us down.

Read more about Melissa's letters.