Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Battle of Allegiance with the AP Community

So someone said she was distancing herself from the AP community after much rudeness and shaming and frustration.

And somebody else responded that mothers who believe in AP principles should stay to show other moms that the AP community is more than the loud extremist voices.

It’s an old, common story.  Look, in every group of people you’re going to find some people who are angry and self-righteous and way too focused on tell all the other people where they went wrong.  Welcome to middle school, high school, college, and beyond.  Welcome to humanity.  And I often do stay involved with a community despite the behaviors of certain people (Christianity being the prime example).  But mother hood is an extraordinary time.  Trying to develop habits that will impact the course of your child’s life is not to be underestimated.  Community is both of utmost importance and a place of real risk.  Someone who undermines what you’re doing or trying to do can have a huge impact on your outcomes.  We’re vulnerable, we mothers of young kids.  Anytime someone tries to change their behaviors or habits (or institute entirely new behaviors after a major transition like becoming a parent) they are more impressionable to peer pressure.

If you struggle to stay on track when you’re in the company of certain people, change your crowd.  By all means.  Your journey as  a parent is infinitely more important than your obligation to the AP world.  If the AP community wants to thrive (and it does, and I believe it will) then it is going to have to learn how to play nice.  But leaving harsh and critical people doesn’t mean isolating yourself.  It means finding the other not-nutjobs and hanging with them.  We need support.  Not just as mothers but as people.  We’re social creatures – herd animals.

For every internet community that is angry and hurtful there is another herd of animals who are less inclined to rip your throat out.  They’re out there.  And as more people leave the angry mob for groups a little more inclined to practice what they preach (i.e. showing the kindness and grace the extend to their kids to adults online as well) the face of the AP community will change.  People will hear the loud and angry voices, but if we stop polarizing ourselves people will also see the rest of the community too.

This isn’t a black and white choice.  There is no official membership to The AP Club.  You don’t have to choose between bullies and your duties to The Club.  Just move your voice, your face, and your presence to a group that better demonstrates what you believe in.  You’ll thrive better, serve better, and experience a lot less stress.

[The problem with my argument is that the most strident voices on the internet are also people who spend the most time on the internet.  Some of them are going to pop up wherever you go.  I highly recommend Facebook’s block feature for dealing with those people.  ;)]

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