If you’re ever feeling like you need an antidote to the smell of a tiny baby’s little round head, the trusting look in the eyes of a fluffy puppy or the way the sun hits your kitchen table on a perfect sunny morning, I have just the thing.
If you’re in the mood to get grumpy, to get bitter, to decide that people are the Actual Worst, I know where you can go.
If you just want to wallow in the shallow hatred and petty jealousies of people who wish their lives had turned out differently, I can give you directions.
You see, earlier this year, I spent three months hanging out in some of the most negative corners of the internet. And I’ve only just washed off the stench.
I was writing a book. It’s a novel actually, which is exactly the kind of wanky statement the women in these forums would detest. Sorry, guys.
I was writing fiction about three imaginary ‘mummy bloggers’. In my book (which you can buy here, as of today, and at all good bookshops, thank you very much), the women who write online are all nominated for the same award, and in order to win it, the stories they create to keep their blogs gaining followers just get bigger and more outrageous as the awards grow closer.
I spent a lot of time in mummy blogger land while I was writing. Mostly, it was an excellent place to hang out. Women sharing the truths about their lives is a gift to other women, and the communities that are built around them – just like Mamamia’s – are something to behold. Just a solid core of reassurance and support, a chorus of ‘me, too!’ and a whole lot of sharing of wisdom.
But then, of course, there are the haters. I spent three months lurking in the closed groups of women (almost entirely women) who had organised themselves specifically to whinge and complain about one blogger or another. It was a deeply sobering experience.
Here are 11 things I learned in those groups. Consider it a Public Service Announcement.