Lately, a Facebook post has been shared, a lot. It involves one woman watching another woman’s brief time at the swimming pool. It covers the arrival of a woman and her daughter, dressed to the nines. They take some pictures, the mom being watched, makes a phone call. The daughter asks the mom to play, while mom is on the phone, and after a few minutes, they leave. It’s set up to remind us, that we don’t have to be picture perfect, and that social media can be a highlight reel, of brief moments of perfection, and that it’s ok to not live a highlight reel. It’s meant to be about time spent with our kids, time spent making memories. But it seems it’s turned into an unintentional mom shaming of its own.
My Thoughts On This:
When I read that post, and so many like it, I wondered, “why isn’t anyone standing up for that woman? Why hasn’t anyone said, ‘Maybe she intended to stay, but that phone call made them have to leave. Maybe something came up.’ Or ‘maybe they came from somewhere else, and that’s why her hair and makeup was done.’ Or ‘what if she struggles with anxiety/depression/body image issues, and she thought, today is the day I can be ok with leaving the house, we will take a picture to document it. And after that was done, she had to call her therapist, or a friend, but she just couldn’t feel comfortable to stay.’ Or maybe, she wanted to go and have fun, but felt like she was being judged by the other moms, because she ordered matching bathing suits with her daughter, and because she had done hair and make up for the day, then snapped a picture, she felt very unwelcome.”
We are so quick to judge women who excel at something that isn’t what we excel at. That woman has 5 kids, and makes it to the gym every day… “must be nice” or “her poor husband has to do all of the work raising those kids”
That woman who got matching swim suits for her family, “wow! Who has time to do that? I bet she spends all her time looking for those things, because she has nothing else to do” when really, she wants to know what everyone is wearing at all times, because she’s afraid if one kid goes missing, she won’t know what to tell police what they were last wearing.
What I Take From This
My social media, tends to be a highlight reel, because “on this day” I don’t need to remember my child had a fit in the grocery store, but I do want to remember that funny thing they said, I want to remember those sticky popsicle hands, or that amazing thing they conquered that day. And my life may look like it’s a highlight reel, because I enjoy getting up, and getting ready every day, even though I work from home. I feel like if I’m ready, I can conquer a lot more.
I don’t have an totally trashed toy room, because in my house, part of playing includes picking up. I’m not here to judge, or shame. I’m here simply to point out, we can all be different, and we can all be exceptional, however we are. There is no parenting badge of honor, you don’t get it for being perfect, or being messy. And if there were a badge of honor, you’d probably get it for just doing your best, and cheering other women on.