I remember being pregnant with Cameron when my mom said, "sometimes I think it was a good thing that we had no information while I was pregnant with you guys." Don't get me wrong, I think that the information that has come to us from the internet & social media is awesome & has so many benefits. But just like anything else, with the benefits come the drawbacks. Because of a clotting disorder we incidentally found during Cam's pregnancy, I was seen by a high risk OB & had many detailed ultrasounds. It was so incredibly amazing to see his face in 3D on the big TV screen in front of me... he had my lips, Mike's nose, and we knew that before we even met him! Then my doctor told me that I had slightly elevated levels of amniotic fluid. He begged us not to Google it because it would bring up a lot of (likely) unnecessary worry. I obligiged, trusted my doctor & looked at nothing. What did Mike do? He Googled it!! With that, he worried about issues with neurological function, issues with Cameron's swallowing.. but then two months later, praise the Lord, a healthy baby boy was born.
|Typical evening in our house.. kids are put out back with food to entertain them so I can clean the kitchen!|
With Cameron's pregnancy, I was not at all into blogs, Facebook or any other social media other than MySpace. Do you remember MySpace?? I think my account is still active from over five years ago! We started Cameron's blog as soon as he was born so that family & friends could check in on the little bugger. Fast forward to two years later & I had a Facebook account, followed many blogs & had two blogs myself. It was great to see what my Chicago friends were up to as I sat in my living room in Florida at 9pm. By following one blog, I'd stumble onto another & another. I found many, many heartbreaking stories of pregnancies ending with an empty nursery, women losing their babies at the bitter end of their pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, I had my share of worries with Cameron's pregnancy, but with Reese, a whole new can of ideas had been opened & my worry skyrocketed. The sad stories made me both thankful for my healthy child & thus far healthy pregnancy, but also fearful of what could potentially happen to these now healthy babies.
On top of causing unnecessary worry, I find that blogs, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram (amongst others!) make us very competitive with one another. It makes us feel bad about ourselves & creates way too high standards for what we think our lives should look like. For me, the reactions are mostly based on my mood. I could look at a seemingly perfect life on a blog with an insanely organized, large, lavish home, perfectly groomed children, and feel no jealousy at all. The very next day I could be PMS'ing, feeling fat & disorganized after having a rough evening with my misbehaving children & feel very inadequate while reading that same blog. Mike will sometimes call me out on my mood shift & I'll admit that it's probably from comparing my chaotic life to the perfect life I'm looking at on my computer screen. He'll then shout, "Stop reading that crap!" But now that I've found it, I can't!
Social media is too hard to avoid with our laptops & smart phones. And really, it's my issues I need to work on. I know that I have an awesome life & have been so incredibly blessed to have two healthy pregnancies/children, a job, a home & family that loves me. I know that no one's life is perfect & everyone is sharing similar insecurities & issues, but sometimes it just nags at my brain that my life is less perfect than that of others. I also know that I'm guilty myself; we all want to put our best face forward & highlight the good parts of our days. So yes, I do realize that as that mom from the perfect blog is hitting publish on her perfect picture, I'm sure her children are yelling & fighting in the background too.
With that being said, I think it's also important to be real & cut the crap from time to time. Motherhood is NOT easy & definitely not always pretty... here's a post from a few years ago when I blogged about the complexity of motherhood. I often post pictures of tantrums & meltdowns on Facebook. Why not? My kids aren't perfect & neither am I or you or him or her... we're just human & trying to do the best that we can. It's really important for women to support each other rather than compete with one another. I love, love, love the message on Nick Jr that says, "We're not perfect, we're parents!" Give yourself a break, you're doing the best that you can & I'm sure you're doing a great job. Your kids will turn out just fine whether or not you made that birthday cake from scratch or picked it up from the local grocery store. Trust me, I'm talking to myself right now too since I am my own worst critic & put way too much pressure on myself. But, it's a work in progress & every day brings something new!