Brooke Wheeler, a stay-at-home mom to two young children in Gretna, wrote this guest blog for momaha.
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Lately, I’ve been evaluating the role that social media plays in my life.
This evaluation came after I was about a month in from enjoying the perks of the new iPhone 5 that my husband gave me as an anniversary gift. I’m not at all new to the social media scene, but suddenly it was readily available to me, wherever, whenever, I wanted it to be. Nowadays, you can take and share a picture with the world on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook – which is not a bad thing because I’m able to connect with friends and family that I wouldn’t otherwise.
The trouble potentially comes into play when you’re examining your motive for posting said picture and status.
Just the other day, I was taking a picture of my 5-year-old son while we were doing something fun together, but I became frustrated because none of the pictures were “Facebook-worthy”. We were having such a great time and yet I was more concerned with what my caption for the picture should be.
That scenario questioned what was more important 1) coming across like a good mom on Facebook or 2) having my son feel like I was being a good mom to him and letting him know he had my full attention. The choices made me feel quite petty and guilty. Obviously, there wasn’t a shred of doubt which was more important. Heck, if we want to take it a step further, the first choice shouldn’t even fall anywhere on my scale of importance.
Am I saying you should never share special moments via social media? Of course not. But I do think there is something to be said for just being present in certain situations.
For me personally, two of my favorite hobbies are photographing my children and writing on my blog, thewheelerweekly.com. When I am doing those two things in their purest forms, no harm is done. It’s when I alter things that I say or do for the sake of other people’s eyes that it gets hairy.
I am sure many of you can relate to this – whether you are guilty of trying to portray yourself as the “model mom,” or whether you are on the other end and are left feeling inadequate as a mother when you see the extravagant things other mothers are doing for their kids. If you fall in the latter category, I’ll let you in on a little secret behind the typical Facebook picture, at least in my life…
Let’s say I may have just posted a picture of some elaborate snack that I made for my kids. It’s a festive Christmas snack made out of cut up pieces of bananas and strawberries, and it resembles a candy cane. When I hit “post” and this picture shows up on everyone’s news feed, to many, I look like mom of the year. I suppose if I’m being really honest, on some level that is exactly what I want you to think. However, the reality of that scenario looks quite different.
What that picture doesn’t show is the stack of dirty dishes next to my kitchen sink. It doesn’t capture the screams erupting from my two boys who are in the other room and are currently having a tug of war over a Ninja Turtle action figure. It doesn’t show my make-up-less face and frazzled hair that I eventually gave up on, halfway through the day, after being interrupted 20 times- something that happens more often than not around here. Those are just a few examples of the realities of my life on the average day. And you know what? I love every single chaotic minute of it.
So why do I feel the need to portray my life as some nice, neat, wrapped up in a big shiny bow, package? Quite simply…I shouldn’t. I know what I appreciate most from people is realness and candidness. I am going to be much more mindful of all of this the next time Facebook asks me, “What’s on your mind?”
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