Did you all have a happy Mother’s Day? Mine was pretty good: pancakes and handmade cards and sticky hugs, followed by all the usual sibling squabbles, house-trashing and running out of milk and patience. Life with little ones isn’t exactly a day at the spa, you know? But I didn’t think much of it until I went on Facebook.
As I clicked through update after update about breakfast in bed, bouquets of roses, mimosas, picnics and doting families, I started to feel worse and worse. My husband’s homemade pancakes paled in comparison to brunch at a fancy restaurant. (Partly because we were out of maple syrup… again.) And why were her kids smiling and wearing matching outfits while mine wouldn’t even agree to be photographed together? And how did she get away with leaving the kids at home to spend a whole weekend with girlfriends when MY husband couldn’t even grasp the concept of letting me sleep in? (Hint for dads: You have to close the bedroom door when you get up and lock the kids out! Otherwise, they are dive-bombing us in our beds the minute your back is turned.)
This Facebook-induced angst is a real thing, something many moms I know suffer from. Here’s my two cents on how to handle it if social media is sending you into Negative Nelly territory. Remember:
What you see is not the whole story. Most people use social media to portray a carefully chosen image of their lives. You’re seeing the highlights, not the blooper reel. Maybe that adorable color-coordinated family photo was preceded by tantrums and threats. Maybe that mom made brunch reservations herself rather than rely on her husband to read her mind. (Hmmm… now there’s a thought.)
Sometimes people have an agenda. I wonder about those couples who post flowery love notes to each other in public forums. Are they really that happy and perfect, or are they trying to prove something? I can’t help but think of a couple I knew like that… who are now divorced.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Good point, Eleanor Roosevelt. Did looking at other people’s supposedly fun, fabulous Mother’s Days have to make me feel worse about mine? Did I need to compare their lives to my own? Did I need to be on Facebook at all when I had a rare day at home with my whole family when I (supposedly) didn’t even have to do any housework? No, I did not. I could close my laptop, cuddle up with my imperfect, non-color-coordinated children, and enjoy the moment for what it was. And then give myself a break for getting irritated when the moment passed and they asked me what was for dinner. (Asked ME. On Mother’s Day!)
So that’s exactly what I did. We ordered in, by the way. And I left the dishes for my husband. Maybe I should thank him on Facebook.
Does social media ever make you feel bad about your life?