Late night thoughts on social media
Facebook mom groups can be a place where you seek support, and find answers in the dark hours of the night when your newborn won’t stop screaming. It can be a place where you go to express your frustration towards your toddler for refusing the 17th meal that week. It can assist you in starting lifelong friendships you wouldn’t otherwise have made, sitting on your couch while you sob into a pillow on the first day of sleep training. Facebook mom groups can be a place to celebrate your mom wins, and to share your successes in hopes of helping another exhausted new mama out. It’s a resource like no other, that (usually) won’t have you convinced that your baby has contracted a previously eradicated disease overnight, unlike the famous Dr. Google.
Instagram can be a place you waste endless hours scrolling, to feel like you’re part of a community of mamas whose realities are so similar to yours. It can be a place that brings you closer to mamas around the world, who are sharing their adventures in parenthood through photos rather than words, so that you feel less alone without having to engage with paragraphs of knowledge. Instagram can be a place to gawk over beautifully curated accounts like @christykeanecan, where you can indulge in the photos of @jillian.harris’ new Etsy line or drool over snaps of @buzzfeedtasty recipes you’ll never have the time to make.
Thing is, about these platforms, they can also be a cruel place. Without any prompting, you can be made to feel so little, and so inadequate. You can be made to feel like you aren’t doing enough, and like your life isn’t as perfect as that teeny little photo square in that pristine feed. Truth is, these ‘perfect’ accounts don’t have perfect lives either. You have to remember that these captures are ONE still shot from their entire day, ONE second among 86,400 seconds in a 24 hour period. There are real people, just like you and I behind these feeds.
Some people, like @makeitlaura, enjoy the Pinterest crafts and totally succeed at them every time they try. Some people, like @mylittlelambblog are absolute rockstars in the sensory bin department, and make you wonder if you’ve stuck your kids’ hands in water beads enough times this week. Others, like @situpsandsippycups make the time to work out, and to be fierce AF while she does it. I could go on and on with the other mama bloggers that I idolize, but I’ll spare you the novel. The thing is, mamas, the people behind these amazing Instagram accounts love what they do. They’d be doing it without the Instagram accounts. If crafting, sensory bins, and Pinterest parties aren’t your jam, that’s okay! If you don’t know what a dumbbell is anymore because they just don’t bring you joy, that’s one hundred percent fine too! My reason for not currently working out is that my toddler once told me to stop squatting. Once. And we all know that we should listen to toddlers, right? Right. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.
Maybe, you do enjoy these things but you’re struggling to make the time. I say ‘make’ the time, because if you truly want to find time for something, you will make it. If something brings you joy, drop something that doesn’t make you happy to make time for that something you love. Fuck the clean bathrooms, and fuck the fancy dinners. Unless clean bathrooms and fancy dinners bring you joy. What I’m getting to, from this ramble, is that you likely have another skill set or interest that sets you apart (don't tell me you don't, because I'll pull it out of you - can you eat that bag of Doritos faster than anyone else on this planet? Yeah? Skill. Done.). Life’s too short to waste your time doing ANYTHING you don’t enjoy.
In all of this, both social media and motherhood, the tools become what you make of them. The choice is yours. Choose to use them positively. Answer the original questions, and don’t give unsolicited advice. Make sure your comments are always true, necessary, and kind (always, mamas… always). If you’ve got beef to start, text a friend instead to get it off your chest, or reach out to the person directly. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself on these platforms as some people can be REAL internet bullies and make you feel like absolute crap, but take note of what the people bullying you truly mean to you.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, other than getting it off my chest (because I’m human too and appreciate a good rant). I, too, sit here on a late Friday night, after a long week, and compare my feed to so many others'. As I sit here, I'm trying to remind myself that everyone else's story isn't mine, and that I have my own to tell, as do you. On social media, or off it, as you please.
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t waste any of your precious, precious mama time on anything that makes you feel inadequate. Instead, enjoy the mindless scrolling, take inspiration from whatever motivates you on these platforms, and run with the wind.