Life on Facebook Isn't What it Appears

Dear Facebook Moms,

I am so glad I’m not you. Don’t get me wrong—I think very highly of all of you, but I am so relieved that the bulk of my parenting was completed before the onset of social media. I don’t think that I could have survived the constant daily scrutiny and cutting comments. Don’t even get me started on the body parts shaming going on—mom body, mom hair, mom jeans. What’s next? Mom elbows? Like we’re all supposed to be so shamed and humiliated by what time, the lack thereof, and childbirth has done to us? “I’d love to meet for drinks after the kids are in bed, but I’m so ashamed of my mom elbows I’d really rather not leave the house.” I’m sure there is a part of us that knows that these criticisms are designed to sell products, Beach body anyone? However, there is another part of us that buys into the shaming. After all, the media has been training us to feel awful about ourselves our whole lives.

Enter the new era of social media which has created an even meaner, snarkier take down of our egos—one perfect Pinterest project at a time.

Really folks, how do you all hunker down day after day and scroll through your news feed hearing how you’re delinquent in signing up for this or that? How do you tolerate social media telling you that you are simultaneously negligent and over concerned? How do look at your friends Kodak perfect moments at the zoo when you know that your own trip ended in tears, yelling, and recrimination. My best efforts and intentions often ended that way. I don’t think I could have born the pain of seeing others in the perfect moment.

Well, you and I know that the perfect moment doesn’t really exist, and if by chance something that appears like that is captured on camera it was probably sandwiched in between, shall we say life’s more realistic moments? What we perceive is “She has it all together. Her kids are smiling, her projects turn out, and look at her elbows!” The reality was probably a fleeting moment in between tantrums, and petty fights over who sits where. The net impact is the feeling that “she’s” winning and you’re failing.

I say hold your head up. You’re doing a pretty good job. Pretty good is good enough and it’s much better than past generations. Believe me on this. I was born during the decades when it was perfectly acceptable to smoke and drink throughout a pregnancy, and here I am writing this and using noun/verb agreement and shit. My point being, you have some wiggle room in the parent department.  I’m not saying to start drinking and smoking during pregnancy, but take advantage of what lies on the parenting spectrum between lousy and perfection. Take care of yourself and your family in the ways that are meaningful to you, and not the ways that social media tells you to. Unplug if you have to, but at the very least you’re going to have to find a way to view all those caustic posts designed to make you feel like you’re less than you are. Find a way to do that so you can come out the other side maybe war weary, but still in the battle.

So, coming from a mom whose last baby was born in 1999, I respect you, I admire you, I wouldn’t want to be you.