Lately, I’ve had a few separate conversations with friends about the devastating effects of social media. It seems like there’s always a new study coming out about the ill effects of social media and how Facebook distorts our views of others and ourselves.
Let this serve as a public service announcement — Facebook lies! Instagram lies! Pinterest lies! SOCIAL MEDIA LIES!
We all put our best foot forward, showing pictures of sparkly clean houses, beautiful casserole dishes with farm-fresh ingredients, well-behaved children smiling for the camera, and thoughtful husbands buying large bouquets of flowers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty of sitting there counting the likes that my baby’s latest picture is getting! Guess what’s not showing up in anyone’s Facebook posts? The 20-minute temper tantrum, the crayons all over the floor, the McDonald’s that was yesterday’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the two-hour screaming match with said thoughtful husband.
I think we all know on some level that people only put the good stuff on social media. But it’s so easy to get caught up in the social comparison downward spiral, especially when we’re already feeling insecure and vulnerable, as motherhood tends to make us.
Let me be the first to say it: I pooped on the delivery table!!!
This was the first of many dirty and not-so-sharable adventures in motherhood. People always share the positive milestones, especially on Facebook — the first rollover, first word, first food, first step. I am here to share with you some of the milestones that are not widely shared.
The first time you feel like an utter failure as a mother
It might be because your child didn’t latch. It might be because you gave her non-organic food for the first time. It might be because your baby will not fall asleep in your arms. It might be because of what that other mom in Mommy and Me said. It might be because you have to go back to work and feel like you’re abandoning her. It definitely was not the first time I felt this way, but the going-back-to-work one was a definite one for me.
The first time you laugh and you leak
No one told me I would be peeing myself a little for a while after I gave birth. And, if they did tell me, I probably didn’t believe them. I was five weeks postpartum. I was driving home after a long drive with my mom and her good friend, who is hilarious. ’Nuff said. Then, when I went back to the gym, all that jumping in Zumba, well… All I need to say is, it felt good to ask a friend about that, hear her tell me it would stop, and see that it did.
The first time you understand how people can hit their kids
I am not saying I ever did hit my kid. I would never actually do it. But, man oh man, I have experienced the frustration of holding a baby who would not stop crying for three hours. I have done the five-outfit-changes-in-a-day thing. I have held down the squirmy toddler who just won’t stay still during a diaper change. I have done all of these in the same day! The amazing thing is that when I had the courage to tell my husband how I felt, he told me he had come to that same realization. I am not saying it is OK to hit your kids. And, if you are concerned that you may reach that point, please call the Parental Stress Line at 1.800.632.8188.
The first temper tantrum
Our daughter wanted my husband’s sweet potato. Our daughter was not getting my husband’s sweet potato. Our daughter did not like that. Our daughter was 15 months old at the time. Our daughter really did not like that. Our daughter showed us she did not like it.
Of course, motherhood is full of so many other Facebook-worthy moments. Motherhood is incredible. It is unlike anything I ever have experienced, and it is absolutely impossible to explain to anyone who is not a mother what a high you get from your child’s giddy laugh or how your heart swells when you see her toothy grin. I seriously do love seeing those pictures of your beautiful babies growing, of toddlers taking their first steps, and of kids donning their first cap and gown.
There are so many messy moments in motherhood that I have yet to experience, and I’m sure you all have your own that you could (and I hope you do) share. Imagine a world where people Instagrammed the snot caked on their kids’ faces when they woke up in the morning (your kids have that too, right?). Imagine a world where people took pictures of the food they ate every OTHER night besides the special meals. Imagine a world in which moms posted how many times they actually shower in a week.
As a community of moms, wouldn’t it be great if we could share the not-so-sharable moments with each other? If we could be willing to risk being vulnerable to help another mom feel less shame? If we could, as a group, help each other feel less alone? What is your Mom secret? What would make you willing to share? Who will dare to be the first?