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Log on, lash out? Why I fear the online mommy masses

Is the Internet a mom's best frenemy? Our global village can be a scary place, writes Teresa Strasser, author of "Exploiting My Baby." When it comes to hot issues like potty training, the poop really hits the fan. By Teresa Strasser, TODAY Moms contributorPotty training is one of those mom things I have no idea about. None. I figure I’ll just pee off that bridge when I get to it. As the moth
Teresa Strasser, author of \"Exploiting My Baby.\"
Teresa Strasser, author of \"Exploiting My Baby.\"Today

Is the Internet a mom's best frenemy? Our global village can be a scary place, writes Teresa Strasser, author of "Exploiting My Baby." When it comes to hot issues like potty training, the poop really hits the fan. 

Teresa Strasser, author of \"Exploiting My Baby.\"Today

By Teresa Strasser, TODAY Moms contributor

Potty training is one of those mom things I have no idea about. None. I figure I’ll just pee off that bridge when I get to it.

As the mother of a 17-month old, I was avoiding the topic successfully, when potty leaked its way into my world, thanks to a 3-year-old named Zoe who was asked to stay home for a month by her Virginia preschool because she had too many accidents.

It took a few days, but this story found me.

Like the stench of a fouled Diaper Genie, it was bound to. There was the usual heart-stopping concern – Oh no, what if this happens to my son, I was a bed-wetter into my teens, he could wear diapers to his prom, he’ll never get into a Montessori, wait, what is a Montessori?

Online, the moms are bent because forcing a child to potty train at three is tantamount to emotional torture. Wait, no, they’re angry because moms aren’t potty training their children early enough! Wait. I’m lost.

If I use online moms as my GPS, they usually lead me right toward Self-Loatheyland, the saddest place on earth.

Like lots of moms, I’m far from my extended family, and I sometimes turn to the Internet – that darkest and cruelest of frenemies – to tell me what to do. If it takes a village to raise a child, today it’s a global one, filled with sometimes sanctimonious, pseudo-expert, shaming, myopic, catastrophically judgmental moms.

On the other hand, you can order diapers in five minutes without leaving home and receive them the next day. So that’s the friend part.

Take that, 1950s moms -- you knew your neighbors, but you didn't have free next day delivery.

I have feared the online mommy masses ever since I stopped nursing my child when he was four months old (tried herbs, teas, acupuncture and finally my doctor just told me it was OK to give up, the way you tell your dying grandma it’s OK to let go and walk toward the light). Aside from a few who give good advice and compassion, they can get bat-poop crazy.

Their passion for everything from nursing to the best brand of blender is two things I never thought could co-exist: unswervingly dull and unapologetically fiery.

Thanks to Zoe's mom and the minions who took up digital arms for and against her, I have finally crystallized what it is that freaks me out about moms who post 700-word reviews of pacifiers, or treatises on potty training.

It comes down to this: time. All the big mom feuds seem to somehow suggest that if you aren’t taking the requisite time – to make your own baby food, potty train early, nurse forever, co-sleep, wear your baby, teach your baby sign language, make every second a gloriously teachable moment – you are failing. It seems the real mommy wars are between the most clichéd of foes: those who stay home and those who work. I can only speak for myself when I say that while working is a necessity, I feel both good and guilty about it every day.

My suspicion is that some moms who don’t work, well, they second-guess that choice, too. It’s facile psychology time, but where there is anger, there is hurt. It’s painful to think we are making mom mistakes, so we log on and we lash out.

Hey, by all means post if you have a good eczema remedy, but not if you must justify your mommying style by attacking that of others. Get ardent about your kid, sure, but let’s stop excreting toxic waste about how others excrete toxic waste. Yes, your child should be number one, but not if your attitude reminds me of number two. 

Teresa Strasser is an Emmy Award-winning writer and radio host in Los Angeles on KABC. Her memoir, "Exploiting My Baby: A Memoir of Pregnancy and Childbirth," was optioned by Sony Pictures and is available now. Dr. Phil says it "will make you laugh until you're sick, I swear." Check out her blog at ExploitingMyBaby.com for more information.