Being a twenty-first century mama surely has its challenges. It seems like everything is orchestrated, scheduled, overseen, and then photographed and shared on various social media. Of course, it all looks and sounds so perfect, right? Who can resist adorable smiles, laughing children who are swinging and climbing or playing board games and co-operating perfectly? I'm guilty, myself, of posting and sharing these perfect little moments; who doesn't love to share the sweet and precious?
You can become inundated with perfection in all areas of life, really, by just logging on to one of your social media accounts. Who hasn't been caught up in this promise of perfection? My computer is full of fun and practical ideas! I can make fun snacks, accomplish an amazing craft, tackle a four-course dinner (all in a crock pot), and whip up an amazing dessert before five pm, according to Pinterest, and still have time to sculpt my body, exfoliate, and organize the pantry before bed. I should have a perfect body, white teeth, and a satisfied husband, not to mention impeccably dressed (and clean) children who have done their own chores, and eaten a nutritious meal all by nine AM the next morning. It's easy! It's attainable! The proof is in the pictures!
Wow, right? Amazing. I feel like an Avenger. I can do it all, and look fabulous, and kick some awesome tail, and… And… And… Then the letdown.
It is so easy to feel like a failure these days.
I guess it won't do to post pictures of the meltdowns, the tears, the tired, the I'm-done-sharing and the resulting boo-boo bunny being held over a scrape, a bite mark, a black eye (I actually searched my files and even I am guilty of deleting the fails)… let's not forget the pictures of the crockpot-failed meal, receipts for Pizza Hut (because of said failed meal), and the kitchen that is trashed because not only did the meal fail, but so did that organized pantry, and the snacks, and the nutrition plan. I won't mention to not post any pictures of the teeth, and, also will not mention that I was way too exhausted to do anything but sleep when I got in to the bed.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love being able to share the pictures, and successes of life with my friends and family. I really believe it is easier to keep in touch with my people who are across the country, in another country, or even across the street, sometimes. I enjoy seeing the pictures of my friends’ kids and their successes, proms, graduations, and now (I'm old enough to see) weddings, and grandchildren (!). I love Pinterest, too, for the great recipes, crafts, and visual organization! I’m a sucker for visual organization. I love Facebook so I can really know about things my friends care about, I mean, how can you vote without Facebook (I'm kidding!)?
Sometimes, though, the social media universe can feel lonely. For example, my oldest didn't go to prom, or to college. Social media reminded me of the stark reality that my kid didn't get to share in all of those typical milestones. It's ok, too, I understand that. It is still a loss, though, for me. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can be scrolling happily through the beautiful pictures of Instagram feeling a little sense of lonely-- be it because of a non-prom going child, or an adult that won't get to enjoy her mom’s birthday this year because of illness, or maybe there is someone who never had a relationship with their father, so there won't be any amazing-dad photos to post. We are all going through something. At times, Instagram and Facebook can be downright painful. On top of all that, I can't cook. It just doesn't work for me. Not a lot of those Pinterest dinners really happen in my sphere of reality, and I'm certainly not going to post a picture of any of them (again- epic fails!), either. If there is a picture of food on any of my social media, it's because it actually worked!
Seriously, though. We are not measured by our pretty pictures, and how well that scheduled play date went according to the social media. I think it's important to talk about, especially with young moms, and young families. Life is not perfect, and sometimes things just don't go right. It certainly doesn't look like a picture every day. Beware of living by the standards set on social media, because it's impossible to be that perfect, that put together, and that smiling and happy all the time. You aren't a failure if one of your Pinterest ideas failed, or if the craft didn't turn out right. It's hard to get everyone to smile at the camera at the same time. It's not realistic to have gourmet meals every night. Remember that Instagram is a snapshot. Facebook is an opinion (all the opinions, all the time). Pinterest is just a suggestion, or a lot of suggestions.
So I've resolved to celebrate the days I get to shower, and throw a party on the days I get my kids showered and optimally nutritionized. I'm going to enjoy my spouse, and take pictures together even on the days when I don't feel beautiful. I will approach organization in a way that is realistic..for me! I might even try a few new recipes, but I'll keep my emergency stash of cash for pizza delivery for when the new recipe goes wrong. I'll look at reviews of things before I try them (especially on my teeth and anything with the word exfoliate in it). I'll be humble and I'll love on my friends and their perfect pictures, even as I remember that there was only ever one perfect person, and He walked on water.
Keep calm, and parent on!