People say that if you’re a millennial, you don’t know life before the internet and social media.
That definition offends me a little. I do remember life before those things. And I’m forever grateful I didn’t have to deal with social media in middle or high school. (Because those times in my life were awkward enough.)
Let’s face it – social media has things about it that are good, bad, and downright ugly.
But in this stage of my life, the one in which I happen to be a mom, it still affects me.
It still creeps into my thinking, and impacts me sometimes more than I want to admit.
Don’t freak out. It’s not all bad. But here are some things that are becoming apparent to me.
“Social media perfect moms” feel threatening.
I see other moms on social and instantly regret my life choices. Another mom’s menu, playroom, education style, vacation, outfits, kids’ outfits, or even plants can lead me to question “how good I’m doing.”
Let’s say it all together: Social. Media. Is. A. Highlight. Reel. We try to stay relatable and vulnerable. But you’re just not going to see my piles of laundry (okay, maybe one) or me flaunting the blister under my nose from my last cold.
Often what we find ourselves pining after is a staged photo that doesn’t show all the messy moments that led up to it, or afterwards. Or even if it is a beautiful norm – I don’t have to let it affect how I feel about me. I can celebrate with them instead of taking it as some kind of personal hit.
Mindless scrolling seems like the perfect escape.
I can definitely admit that social media distracts me. I can often use it as a means of escaping things like my house, a bad day, a nasty temper.
And my kids witness it. They ask me if I’m paying attention (when I’m not). They request multiple times that I come play with them. It takes a lot of discipline to put my phone down and not lose myself in it.
I’m the only who…
The FOMO is real. I start to believe that everyone has it all together except for me. The best mom car, the chic outfits, the consistent friendships, the successful work-at-home job, the perfect getaways with husbands, the budget for the WHOLE Hearth and Hand line at Target.
If I’m not watching out for it, I start putting all my effort into all these things, and mastering none of them. Please say it again with me: It’s. A. Highlight. Reel. No mom has it all together.
It gets kind of vicious up in here.
We as people, even as fellow mothers, can tear each other up on social media over a difference of opinion. Whether or not you should kiss your child, seatbelts, time spent together or apart, vaccines, schooling, feeding choices. Who “deserves” to be a mom. Something one person would never do to their child.
Maybe it comes from a place of believing that if someone puts their business out there, it’s inviting others to comment on it. Or from a genuine concern for the child’s best interest. But really, we don’t know what’s going on in the lives of these families. If it’s a strong feeling, maybe contact someone individually. Or honestly, as long as it isn’t a photo of actual child abuse, maybe let things lie.
Privacy can go out the window.
I hate to say this, because I love a cute picture of someone’s kiddo just like the next person. But sometimes the things that go up seem a little…too private. Like a naked bottom getting ready to go into the tub. And a NSFW, up-close, and very personal view of a baby nursing. (I’m good with normalizing breastfeeding, in a reasonable way. However, I’m a mom, I did it, and I still don’t want a detailed view.)
Besides security issues, I often think about whether or not my kids will appreciate what I’ve posted of them. School kids can be cruel, and people can have evil intentions. I don’t want just anyone to have access to compromising pictures of my kids down the road.
I literally just finished talking about judgments and being vicious, so I hope no one feels attacked. Just something to consider for the long run.
Strong, in the moment connections.
C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” I have experienced that SO MANY TIMES on social media.
The hatred for folding laundry. A realization that it’s not the Terrible Two’s, but rather Threenagers and Fournados. Cabin fever, along with the desperate need for some sun and outdoors time. Sneaking mom treats in the kitchen where your kids can’t see you. Someone else sharing that they can feel purposeless, lost, or frustrated.
I need those connections. I need them in real life, for sure, with people I see and talk to. But it’s nice to have them in the day-to-day moments, to connect with someone I might never otherwise meet. It makes it more universal.
A good thing? You ask. Why, yes. I know, not a lot of people advocate for it. And I do have to be careful I don’t lose myself in it regularly.
But after a day of back-and-forth battles with my kids, getting in and out of our car to run errands and get out of the house, and chores, sometimes all I want to do is something mindless. It soothes me.
If I can remove myself from the comparison monster, social media comes with a lot of inspiration, too. Family travel ideas (and tips). Clothes that don’t make me look frumpy worn by women who wear the same size as me. Home activities so I don’t lose my mind on snow or summer days.
I’ve learned how to make snow ice cream, made some smart shopping choices, and gotten tips and advice on things I would otherwise have no clue about. That’s a good thing.
Seeing the beauty in everyday moments.
I feel awkward being that person who takes a picture of her perfect food or in front of a particularly pretty wall. But I look for those moments, and I take pictures of them. It may seem silly or frivolous, but it also is helping me notice the things around me more, not just dashing from one thing to the next.
It helps me to point them out to my kids, like the pretty flowers we pass on the way to school. And it helps me realize what a beautiful place and time of life I’m in. I’d say that’s a win any day.
What are some ways in which social media affects your motherhood?