My precious friend Amy posted this on her Facebook page yesterday:
You know, I’m a bit tired of the mom blogs telling me to surrender my guilt and be proud of the fact that I’m doing the best I can. Actually, these blogs make me feel worse because they illustrate the fact that mom’s feel guilty about not making cute and healthy bento box lunches, gourmet meals for dinner, Pinterest styled homemade crafts and organic baby food. I’m perfectly happy with the type of mom I’ve become and excited to see how I grow in the future. I’m not competing with other moms I’m just being the best one I can be. So please, mom blogs, quit trying to make me feel guilty for not feeling guilty about all the things you say I shouldn’t feel guilty for.
Pretty profound, right?
I’ve attempted for a long time to give my two-cents worth about this whole social media-driven parenting fiasco that is currently undermining ALL parenting for some time now, but just about the time I get the words to make sense or find an actual point to make, I hesitate, wondering if I’m just going to be thrown into the same category or if I’m just saying the same things 10,000 other people have already said in one way or another, so I just don’t. But the truth of the above statement is so literal and pure that it makes me want to scream that we’re all under so much pressure to begin with. So really, who started this mess? Who is responsible for the first comparison?
Kelly at Kelly’s Korner wrote about comparison today. Ironic. Scathes of other bloggers and statuses are starting to echo the same thing – that we all need to just be the parents we are and live life. It sounds to me like we’re all just sick and tired of trying to out-do one another – but how did we get here? Who started this all-out war on who’s better than who?
So, here’s my two-cents, for all the two shiny pennies it’s worth.
I truthfully believe that parenting has been warped by social media, yes – BUT, I don’t think that parents have changed all that much – it’s just PUBLIC now. Maybe I’m looking for something to blame (social media being the culprit here) but haven’t parents ALWAYS wanted the best for their children? To have the best things, to be the best at this or that? The only difference now is that there is an instant-speed method of promoting such thoughts. Parents have always bragged on their kids (and criticized other parents, for that matter), but it was on the sidelines of ballgames or at the grocery store. People don’t even actually talk at those places anymore because they’re too busy updating their Facebook with what’s going on at the game or asking if they should buy a cereal because it has artificial flavorings. (This fact is quite sad, but that’s a whole other issue.)
Yes, I posted pictures of my daughter’s first birthday, not for someone else to look at and say, “Hmmmph, my kid’s birthday was better/worse than that, so I must be/not be a good parent…” I did if for my own memory and for those that wanted to know. I think that was the original intent of children’s/parenting social media posts from the beginning, but it’s insecurity that got us all. ALL of us. Because let’s face it, there’s no more insecure place on the planet than being a parent. (Something else they didn’t tell you in the hospital before they sent you home with a baby.)
My point is, like Amy said, just parent. Just be you and be the best you for your kids so they can grow up and be the best version of themselves too. And like Kelly said, STOP comparing. If we’re constantly looking at the way others are parenting, that probably means we’re missing something our own kids are doing, so let’s not do that.