In this day and age of social media, moms are trying to show that they are keeping it together. I’m guilty of it, also. I think as moms, social media can become our main form of communication, especially with other moms, and that’s where it gets dangerous. When you very carefully pick and choose what part of your life you share and when you have time to type-out a well articulate response to a post- things get too fake.
I’m not looking to make a life on social media. I’m looking to have real conversations, which I think moms are missing out on too often. I’m talking about going to lunch with an old friend who you haven’t seen in years, or meeting up at the park with a mom new to your neighborhood.
When I lived in Texas, I was a new mom, working full-time in television and had
no family within 500 miles. Just between getting myself to work, my daughter to daycare, and trying to keep food in the house- I was exhausted. I remember thinking, “There must be other families being stretched this thin.” But I couldn’t find them. On social media, it always looked like everyone else had tons of friends and family, clean houses and inexplicably flexible work schedules. Was I really the only one struggling this much?
A few months after moving back to Colorado, I had dinner with an old friend of mine from college. She had been living a life parallel to mine for a few years; living far away from family when she became a mom. We recounted old times, and I told her about the struggles I faced: anxiety, pure exhaustion from having a busy toddler, infertility and loneliness. As I was unloading three years of deep, rarely discussed struggles, the most comforting phrase kept coming out of her mouth:
I found someone who understood! With each “me too,” this fellow momma told me about her similar struggles.
Recently, I was at a park with my daughter when she started playing with a little boy. His mom and I struck up a conversation. She told me her family recently relocated from the east coast, and she mentioned how hard of a time she was having finding moms to connect with, and not just on Facebook. It was my turn to offer those reassuring words:
I told her that I dealt with the same thing in Texas, and asked her for her contact information to meet up for future play dates.
The struggles we deal with as mothers are unique to motherhood, but not unique to each mother. If you have a child with an ongoing illness, so does another mom. If you’ve had to run out of work because you miss your baby too much and don’t want your coworkers to see you cry, so has another mom. If you let your toddler eat mac and cheese for lunch six days in a row because it isn’t worth the battle, so has another mom. I don’t say these things to belittle your struggles, I say these thing to let you know that there’s a mom out there who you can tell your story to, and she would reply, “Me too.”
If your best outlet for these struggles is social media, I would advise sharing them with discretion. By all means, call out for help. And when some respond with a genuine, “I hear you, Momma,” invite that mom out for lunch or a play date.
Let’s get back to real connections. Let’s get back to conversations where we’re sitting in front of each other instead of in front of a computer screen- where it’s too easy to gloss over the difficult stuff. I think social media is a great way to share our lives with friends and family, but don’t forget HOW you became close with those friends and family – through real interactions and conversations.