You started off as a fun way to reconnect with old high school friends and keep track of evil ex-boyfriends but over the years you have evolved into something much more sinister.
A while ago I posted an article about dealing with extreme behaviors from my middle daughter. I got some feedback from a family member who asked how I thought my daughter would feel about me sharing this information about her. I was caught aback, thinking, ‘why is it ok to share the good stuff but not the bad?’
We are the first generation of Facebook parents and unfortunately it is shaping the way we approach parenthood. The mommy wars now have a large platform. The five per cent that makes our profile page is not a real example of our family life, but rather the ‘keeping up with our friends list’ where we constantly one up each other so no one will ever win. It’s a highlight reel of what we choose to share, but it is not our reality. We are way too scared to share our reality.
We post cute pictures that take ten different takes (and a few meltdowns to get); we post recipes we will never eat, crafts we will never make and the end result is simple.
We never feel good enough.
Just take a scroll down your newsfeed to have your self-esteem lowered as a parent. Are you baby wearing? Breast-feeding? Extended breast feeding? Yelling? Spanking? Have you taken the kids to the beach? To Disneyworld? Does your kid know how to ride a bike yet? What is wrong with you? Don’t you know you are hurting your children? They will be grown up before you know it! CHERISH THESE YEARS!
It’s time to post a picture of the gluten-free apple pie you have baked with farm fresh apples you picked with your toddler to make you feel better. Don’t add in any pictures of the three tantrums they threw in the apple orchard and the fact that your inner control freak took over and you did the lattice work during naptime; only to your kid refuse to eat the pie because the cinnamon made it look ‘dirty’.
Before you take the picture, clear an area of your counter so that no one can see you still haven’t cleaned up last night’s dishes because no matter how many memes I see that tell parents a dirty house equals happy kids, the reality is, we still can’t post THAT on Facebook.
If the pictures and statuses weren’t enough (#blessed) to do parents in, those parent groups will finish you off. What is purposed as a support group for parents, actually often critiques those looking for help. Most posts begin with ‘No bashing please’. Honestly, is that not a given? Not on Facebook, the virtual world where everyone is smiling, happy and eating delicious meals that kick your macaroni and cheese’s ass. Everyone is a perfect parent on Facebook with a perfect solution. It’s too hard to admit we don’t all have all the answers and we are making it up as we go along. We can’t post THAT on Facebook.
Even if you are able to rise about all the Facebook BS as a parent you still have to tackle its biggest threat to parents: it’s a total time suck. Have a few minutes? Why not check the newsfeed? Going out on a family excursion? Better upload a new album to FB. I’m the biggest culprit of them all. Hello random acquaintance from high school, let me “like” your new profile picture of your toddler because that is a constructive use of my nap time freedom.
It’s obvious that my relationship with Facebook is love/hate at best and I know many others that feel the same way. Many friends talking about quitting FB the way we would talk about quitting smoking in our 20’s, we know we should do it, but the addiction just keeps bringing us back for more.
So if you are, like me, not strong enough to quit, why not start to become the change. Post a picture where you aren’t primped with a duck face or where you kid isn’t looking, or is having a meltdown. Let’s flood our newsfeeds with reality and skip the BS.
That way when I post about sensitive topics it won’t stick out like a sore thumb. I won’t have to justify posting about my daughter’s struggles because her reality isn’t as pretty as her back to school pictures. Then maybe she will realize she has nothing to be ashamed of and neither do I.