Lately I find myself perplexed by our modern relationships, or lack there of, and particularly the way we relate as mothers, through social media, and with each other.
There are many kinds of mamas, if we break ourselves down into types, of this and that. There are mamas who don’t want to be solely identified as mamas, but rather want their former identity upheld, respected, not impinged upon, as identified in this article. There are working mamas, there are home-maker mamas. There are mamas who send their kids to school, there are mamas who school their kids at home. There are do-it-yourselfer mamas, and mamas who prefer to pay someone else to do it for them. There are all kinds of mamas, when we break ourselves down into categories such as these. However, when we do this, we may be inviting the very thing that mamas need absolutely none of, judgement.
The thing I am perplexed over, is how social media seems to have created a rift, instead of a raft, from one “kind” of mama to the next. This article explains it well. There are so many images, personal stories, and opinions floating around on the internet, especially those regarding motherhood, that it makes it impossible for any of us to really feel satisfied, accomplished, or even enough, no matter what or who it is we are, or identify with. Becoming a mom is rife with anxiety and uncertainty as it is, why does it seem that social media is fueling these fires?
And yet, if it were not for social media, we would have much more limited access to perhaps the single most important relationship for a mother, and that is other mothers! On Facebook alone I see mamas sharing stories, asking for advice, planning play dates, and offering support. There are groups created for everything. Healthy living groups, babywearing groups, attachment parenting groups, local groups, mamapreneaur groups, ect, ect (those are just the ones I belong to). And yet within these groups I rarely see judgement. There are differences between us. There are opinions, personal stories, and even images of our beautiful children, in golden sunlight… dancing with unicorns and farting rainbows… no I lied, there are no unicorns. However there are opportunities for rifts to be created through the “besiegement” of these things, but what I see instead is connection.
When we take the time to actually connect, to use social media, as best as we can, as a tool for communication, real time and space relations, instead of as a platform for perfection, jealousy, and never-enoughness, we create the opportunity for rafts, not rifts, from one mama to another.
I suppose I am super conscious of this topic, because as a writer, especially as a blogger, who posts my seemingly idyllic photos, homemade recipes, and craft projects, I don’t want to convey that my life is perfect. In fact just the opposite. I write and share only to express, only as yet another creative outlet. To inspire? sure. To connect? yes please! To besiege, cause anxiety, or judge? never.
I am just being me.
I think that is all any of us can be.
All any of us should be.
I am often tempted to leave social media. To hide away in my shell, doing the things that I love, without the potentially judgmental eyes of anyone on me. To me, that would be bliss. But the reason I stay connected… is that I believe, and see, that there is the possibility for good to come from this connection.
So I want to hear from you…
Why do you use social media? Do you find it uplifting? Do you find it overwhelming? (Both, I say both!) How do you see it being used for good?
And… I want to leave you with one simple message. Each and every one of you (of us!) is perfect, exactly as you are. So…