Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Mommy Guilt - FB Style
1) No posts about potty-training, diapers, vomit or any other bodily fluids (exception: when it is something hilarious to even those readers WITHOUT children) 2) No posts about daily errand-running and food preparation 3) Do post about funny things the kids say - but they actually have to BE funny, not just cute or silly 4) Do post photos of kids doing any and everything that will make someone else smile
These rules obviously come from my own annoyances towards other FB moms. Of course, I want to exclaim from the rooftops when my child slept through the night without peeing the bed - and by rooftops, I mean my computer screen. Alas, I refrain because frankly, no one really cares except my mother, and I can just text her that information.
I also noticed another theme among mothers on FB - the "Photo-Op" obsessed. The mom who photographs her children doing anything that is photo-worthy - picking pumpkins, going to a Christmas tree lighting, going to a petting zoo, hunting for Easter eggs, going to the aquarium, sitting on Santa's lap. (I digress, but can we just talk about this Santa thing? Why do we feel the need to terrify babies and then take a photo and then laugh about it? It really is asinine. Funny, but uncalled for.) Yes, part of me is jealous of the parents who manage to organize and execute these elaborate day trips with toddlers and infants and then glorify their success on FB. At Halloween this year, I found myself wanting the photo more than the experience. I was falling victim to having that 'captured in time' moment with the kids wandering through a pumpkin patch, sipping cider and enjoying fall. What I got were crabby kids, fighting over how many pumpkins we could have and just trying to get out of there before a nuclear meltdown. I couldn't even fake the photo - the REAL experience was captured on film. Why was I disappointed? Was it the feeling that I'd failed to make this a memorable experience for my kids? Or that I couldn't display a photo on FB to show, "Hey, look at my beautiful family and well behaved boys who are enjoying the fall like I always dreamed we would!" Have I become that middle-class, white, suburban mom, who is trying to look the part?
I have an infant and a toddler who won't remember 90% of the places I take them or the things they see right now. So what is my real motivation? To look like a "good mom". WTF have I become?
On the weekends when we don't have "plans" and are merely running a few errands, cleaning house and lounging around, I have a tendency to think, "Maybe we should have planned something - a trip to the arboretum? A bike ride through the forest preserve? A play date with friends? Feeling guilty that I'm not nourishing my children through planned extracurricular activities.
Then it hit me. On Saturday morning, I woke up early with the kids and before I had to take Jonah to gymnastics we had about 2 hours of pajama time - just hanging around the house in our jammies, eating breakfast and playing. I sat on the floor with my boys in the living room and we played ninjas, raced matchbox cars, tickled Elijah til he nearly puked, talked about silly stuff (leprechauns, kitties and Santa) and I realized that THESE are the moments that make up my memories as a child. These are the moments when you know how deeply your parents care for you, love you and want you to be happy. These are the moments where we connect, share, and learn about each other's sense of humor, creativity, and imagination. There was no photo-op.
For the first time, maybe since becoming a mom, I felt at ease. I will make time for field trips and holiday happenings when it enriches my children and when we all can enjoy it, and not because I need to display it on FB to prove my momminess.