Not a question about pregnancy or parenting, something a little wider. I want to know how you deal with all the reactions to what you write. On one hand, you follow the data, so it’s not “you” that anyone is angry with, but on the other hand, you must get a lot of hate online and occasionally you must raise the ire of someone IRL (because it’s bound to happen if you have an opinion about literally anything). Are you just temperamentally good at blocking that stuff out? How do you deal?—Currently turtle-ing
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece in The Atlantic about pandemic forgiveness and shifting our energy to finding and enacting solutions to get our kids back on track. I often get pushback on opinion pieces, but it was the first time I had significant threats of physical violence. That was tough and scary.
In general, though, most of the pushback I get is not violent, even if some of it is angry. I wish I could say I was temperamentally good at blocking things out, but my family would tell you that’s not true. I would say there are four things that help.
- Reminding myself why I do the things I do. With something like pushing for open schools during the pandemic, it was easy to remember that the goal there was better outcomes for kids. And if the cost of more kids getting to go to school was me getting yelled at, that’s an easy trade.
- I have a short memory for my feelings. I feel very bad when people yell at me, but then pretty quickly I seem to forget what it was like.
- Support systems: my family, my team, and also, to be honest, this audience.
- Trying very, very hard not to read the comments.