I came across this meme today:
I’m working HARD to unpack my irrational anger that immediately surfaced when seeing it. I’m not sure if it’s because I am fiercely protective of my identity as a mother. Or I’m not sure if my fierce protection of my identity as a mother comes from a place of insecurity or constant wondering if I am ever meeting societal expectations of me (and my own expectations of me). Or if I’m being judged, or heck, even if I am the one judging. Sometimes I don’t even know what I think anymore, I’m in my own damn head most of the time. I wasn’t always like this though…so over-analytical with such emotional responses to seemingly silly things.
But I pondered this for a moment and I think I pinpointed everything that connected the angry dots for me.
One: Why the heck are we sitting here dividing each other in motherhood when really we should all be united? I think the intention of this meme was to call out working moms who seem to think stay at home moms have it easy (I give them all the credit in the world – I am home with the kids over the summer and there are many days where I STRUGGLE). But why on earth has our society gotten to such a place where we are all put in boxes…the working moms, the stay at home moms, the nursing moms, the formula moms, the soft moms and the yellers, the helicopters and the detached moms, the perfect moms and the crappy moms. The DIYs and the non-DIYs, the organic moms and the commercial moms, the natural birthing moms and the epidural or c-section birthing moms, the successful moms and the failing moms, the 1 kid moms and the 6 kid moms, the religious moms and the atheist moms, first-time moms and been around the block moms, heck even the moms and the non-moms,…I literally have to stop myself, I can go on and on and on. There’s something wrong when we have memes designed to put others down or make fun of the “other” camp just to make those of us in our camp feel better, and I know that’s not just in this mom world, and the mom world is just a microcosm of what’s happening in our greater society. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be human if I sat here and said I didn’t judge at times, or I didn’t have strong opinions on matters that have nothing to do with me at times, or that I am never ever a hypocrite (because I am at times). That’s what makes me human, the fact that I DO do that – but I think it’s imperative I reign myself in on that. Be metacognitive on that. Be able to dissect it and call myself out when I need to. Because I’m freaking human and I AM a work in progress, and always will be. Let’s reframe, people. Let’s realize that we are all in our own stages of life and we have zero right to judge, poke fun at, or criticize others for their decisions, choices, or stages. Nor do we have any right to put down those who choose or decide or exist differently than us, even if it is for the sake of humor or self-defense. As a little kid, my parents or my teachers never taught me to make fun of others as a way to stand up for myself. Why as an adult is that all I tend to see on social media? IT DRIVES ME WILD.
TWO: I put a lot of blame on social media for this, and I am a HUGE social media user. (See, told ya I can be hypocritical!) Once facebook and instagram and snapchat (and whoever else) decided to put us in boxes with a bio and a highlight reel, we stopped allowing ourselves to be truthfully and unapologetically us and started trying to find ways to fit in, in some cases, WITH STRANGERS. It’s a giant mind game actually. We stopped having to face our own decisions, relationships, and social interactions IRL and started allowing ourselves to be a sneaky chameleon, and to not have to be accountable for our actions, decisions, and choices as they relate to and impact others. Passive aggressiveness exploded ten fold with social media. An then there’s this. At times, it’s a great escape from reality for me and at other times it’s just exhausting. We started seeing the lives of others in a way that caused us to make comparisons, wondering if we are ever good enough, when in reality we are comparing ourselves to a false reality. I talk all the time with the husband about how hard it must be to be a kid going through school with social media around. Back when I was a kid, the biggest thing since sliced bread was tetris and snake on cell phones. Case in point: I’ve found and felt such a strong community in this space and over on the instagram side of this, but I also think that on the other side of the sword I’ve become more insecure, less confident, and generally just more questioning of myself. It’s a rollercoaster – some days I wanna give up and throw in the towel and walk away from it all because I see the worst in people (or better yet, the worst in myself), and other days I wanna create and make and share and connect because I see the best in people (or better yet, the best in myself). And the craziest piece of this all? I’m sure people read and see my content and think the same terrible things that I often see or think of others, because that’s how it’s designed to work.
So what’s the point of this post? No idea actually. Maybe just to remind myself that there are humans, actual humans, behind the screen, and I need to keep working on myself to be the best human I can be so that I don’t make the same judgy, critical, or hypocritical mistakes I’ve made in the past (or if I do, please help me reflect and be better), while simultaneously hoping that others can do the same so that we can all keep learning and growing and not assume that we’ve already gotten it right and have it all figured out. Maybe that’s the point. I really don’t know, but I feel better now. Thanks for sticking it out through all of my nonsensical word vomit.
2 thoughts on “Thoughts from an over-tired, increasingly-frustrated, and self-struggling social media user”
Excellent post, my friend.
Hi, Katie. This working mom/stay-at-home mom divide caused me to pause and reflect. In the mid 1960’s, my mom (your grandmother) was the only full-time working mom in our neighborhood. Beginning at 10 years of age, I became aware of the snide comments made by the other moms when I played with their kids in their homes after school. “I bet your mom doesn’t know how to make an apple pie.” “Is your house clean?” I realized, when I became an adult, that this constant judgment from the neighborhood ladies led to my adult feelings that I was substandard and different. I chose to heal by advocating – first for working moms, then later for all women to have freedom of choice, and respect, in all areas. As you said, it’s a rollercoaster – some days I still feel like an insecure ten-year-old girl again, rather than a secure, accomplished woman! But I know I have to continue to mentor, model, and educate so that my daughter – and all women – respect and are kind to one another. Love you, Aunt Cathy ❤️