Facebook can be a dangerous thing for a mom. And not just because it can be a time-sucking vortex, but because of the appearances and judgments that you can make from it. To be fair, I do love how social media has kept me connected to the news, to the outside world, and to lots of other moms. It can share the truth that mainstream media wont. It has even been endorsed by the Pope as a means of evangelization.
But like any online world, it can warp our reality. On Facebook you can be the awesome mom who always cooks gourmet meals and gets their kids to bed on time. And when I see posts like that I can spend my days feeling like every other mom is better than me. When I see mothers share things about how well they are eating and exercising or how much they got done today or all the fun things they did with their kids, I can easily get down on myself about feeling like I’m a bad mom for not getting dressed before 2pm or binging on chocolate-covered cranberries or letting my kids watch too much TV.
I’ve been feeling guilty lately because I feel like I’m not living up to some standard set forth by Facebook posts of what kind of a mom I should be. I realized I felt like Peter when he was sinking in the water because he took his eyes off of Christ. Facebook posts are not a real portrayal of motherhood; it’s only showing the part we want other people to see. And Christ is not asking me to be the same mom that Sally over here is. He is asking me to follow Him and He will show me my path to holiness and perfection. I need to stop comparing myself to other moms and look to Jesus, and to Mary as my model mother.
Sure, I could post that I ate a salad for lunch and went on the elliptical and did 5 loads of laundry and Timothy rode his bike through puddles all afternoon and you might think I’m an awesome mom. But then I could post a picture of my messy basement and tell you that my son ate hot dogs three times last week and that the other night he stayed up until 11 watching TV and right now my daughter is in her crib screaming because I just can’t deal with her right now, and you might think I’m a horrible mom. All of the above is true, but it just depends on what I decide to share. Altogether, it just means I’m a regular mom trying to do my best. Looks can be deceiving, the grass is always greener, and all that other cliché stuff.
I write this because I’m sure I’m not the only one suffering from Facebook jealousy of everyone else’s lives. And I bet if I posted a picture every day of something we did than you might be jealous of my family, too. But don’t be. We aren’t that awesome. Sure there are things we can learn from each other and I’ve gotten some great advice from other Facebook moms but the bottom line is: every mom is different. So be the mom that God is asking you to be for your children, and stop comparing yourself to everyone else!
Dear other moms, I like seeing pictures of your kids and reading the funny things they say. I am inspired by some of your activities. But go live your life instead of thinking, “I should share this on Facebook.” You don’t have to prove to us that you’re an awesome mom. If your kids and your spouse think so, then that’s what counts. And besides, it’s making me jealous.