“My Billy just started walking and he’s only 4 months old!”
“Susie just read her first book and she’s not even 1 yet!”
“Jimmy is already potty trained and he’s just turned 6 months old!”
So, perhaps those are exaggerations, but I can’t help feeling the pressures of raising my children in a world that is so immersed in social media (me included). I’m not just average and I don’t expect my boys to be that way either. I don’t settle. I set high goals and standards for myself, and I’m an overachiever. I fully anticipate my boys will be the same way, without me being a pushy mom.
I love social media. My iPad is always within arm’s reach and if I leave the house without my cellphone then I feel naked. I curb my intake of it as much as possible, but there are times when I just don’t want to think or work. There are times when I just want to be mentally lazy and peruse the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get caught up on what’s going on with my real friends and the other “friends”. What I’m encountering isn’t exactly what I was hoping to achieve. What I’m finding is that instead of using social media as a way to just have some down time, it’s becoming more of a hindrance and really just adds more stress to my life as I read about what other people’s children are doing.
I know I can’t be the only one who’s experiencing this. And the reason I know this is because there’s no way that the things I’m reading online are actually true. Parents are speeding up milestones to make themselves look good as parents or perhaps to make themselves feel better for not being as hands on as they should be (you know who you are). What this in turn is doing, is fueling the fire for those of us who can’t seem to turn off the social media chatter surrounding the raising of children. It can truly cause a person like me to question how I’m raising my boys, what I’m doing wrong, what I could be doing better, and in turn adding undue stress and sleepless nights. Yeah, yeah, my personal problem I know, which leads me to wonder what it was like for my parents when I was my children’s ages.
In 1977 (I was 2), there were no cell phones. Only the rich had cordless phones and answering machines. We didn’t have a computer and internet. There were no digital cameras, only Polaroids. Videos? My uncle had an old movie camera that had film rolled onto a spindle. You showed it using a projector either on a blank wall or screen and there was no sound. So, basically, back then my parents could enjoy life with me. I don’t think they ever really questioned their parenting skills or compared me to their best friend’s kid. Sure they bragged, but mostly to my aunts, uncles, and grandparents, not on a computer screen that transmits every word and character simultaneously throughout the world.
There were no immediate judgments or backlashes for what and how they were doing. Life was simpler and after talking to my mom this week, not necessarily guilt free, but a different, less stressful kind of guilt.
So, how do I go about enjoying my social media without letting it adversely effect my mommy guilt? I have absolutely no idea. I do; however, seriously doubt that other parents out there evaluate my parenting skills as much as I imagine them to. I sincerely hope that they’re more concerned with their children as opposed to making themselves look and feel better. Me? I’m completely truthful on my blogs and posts, but I gotta tell you nothing is more stressful for me right now than reading about all the other children who are potty trained and mine is still asking for diapers.
I wonder what the world will be like when my boys are parents and what sort of things will trigger their guilt as parents.