I am part of a generation where I can remember the days before social media, and I have watched it grown through it’s massive reach around the world. From MySpace Tom (who is a real person and an awesome traveling photographer by the way) to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to now Snapchat, Periscope, and I’m sure a million others I don’t even realize exist, social media defines our lives. Or at least the way people around us perceive our lives.
As I have grown, pictures on my “friends” have gone from drunk college parties, to weddings, to babies. Now most of us are in the throws of parenthood and I have seen a separation happen, and I’m sure you have too: the good moms vs the bad moms.
The Good Moms show pictures of their children in perfect outfits with perfect hair in perfect lighting talking about how perfect life is for them. The Bad Moms show pictures of themselves holding a glass of wine as their kids throw temper tantrums with mud on their face. The Good Moms talk about how they cherish every moment, every late night cuddle, and every sweet smile. The Bad Moms talk about how they just need some time alone and how they are counting the days until everyone is at school.
Now I’m not saying these moms are actually “good moms” or “bad moms.” Everyone, no matter how perfect their Instagram grid looks, has good and bad days. Or good and bad moments. Some days we feel like we are rocking this motherhood thing and other days you can find us rocking in a corner. It’s a balance, but social media would have you believe otherwise.
Social media is an outlet for many, and nowadays we use it for more than connecting with family and friends. We use it to advertise, we use it to make money, we use it to promote things. So people end up adopting this persona, this identity that only shows a portion of what their life is really like. It seems to be that when we get behind our computers or our phones we only show that one side of us instead of all the facets of parenthood and life that actually make us who we are as a person.
I know I am guilty of this. If people only knew me through my social media posts they would only see one side of me- I am the bad mom. I complain about my kids on social media and I take pictures of them when they are throwing a temper tantrum. Why? Because it helps me deal with the frustration and exhaustion of parenthood. It helps me to connect with other parents, and I like to know that other parents experience the same crappy things I do. I do it because I like to let others know they aren’t alone when their two year old dumps cereal on the floor and your baby pukes in your hair and you think, “Someone please tell me why I had kids again?”
I wish there was an easier way to make a balance. A way to show that yes, we all have crappy days with our kids and sometimes we envy those who don’t have to pack half their house to go to Target. But we also have days where four year old tells you she loves you the most and your two year old all of a sudden looks so big and your baby signs to you for the first time. It seems to be you’re either an Instagram model mom or #assholeparent. But aren’t we all both of those things?
Social media is an amazing tool, and I love it. I love the connection it brings to people (I swear, I have some mom friends who I haven’t even MET that I love dearly). I love that I can jump on a group page and ask a question and get a million answers in minutes. I love seeing my friend’s beautiful birthday parties and their kids throwing themselves on the floor because you gave them the purple cup.
We are all these things as parents, and if we choose social media to be a light into our lives then let’s show people who we really are instead of setting up a false advertisement. You never know who you can connect with or help.