Here we go…
If you’re a mom who gets stuck in the Facebook conundrum of comparison… feeling worse and worse as you view other moms’ lives… let’s talk:
Perhaps, it’s the perfect pics of the sun-kissed mom sipping margaritas in Mexico… or the mom posting photos of her perfectly-coiffed children, wearing stonewashed jeans and white t-shirts in front of the family mansion… or the mama whose child seems to get “student of the month” every week… or, finally, the mother whose volunteered to save every orphan in Africa all by herself… perhaps, it’s the posts of these moms that make you feel less-than or not-enough as a mom.
Or, maybe it’s the mother who continually shares political posts that you make you feel uncomfortable… or the single mom who shares TMI when it comes to her dating life… or the mom whose always posting her wildest party pics… or even the mom who occasionally uses profanity… maybe it’s posts coming from these moms that are making you feel misunderstood or different from other moms.
Could it be that social media is bad for our social lives? Could it be that social media is dividing one mom from another? And, how does this get translated to our children?
Of course, research is now revealing that those who regularly use social media tend to be more depressed. Many tie this social media sadness to several things:
- Social media posts are often “highlight reels,” displaying the best of our daily lives… that’s why some folks call it “fake-book.”
- Social media provides a buffer between people that gives us the freedom to bully people linguistically in ways we wouldn’t do face-to-face.
- Social media exaggerates the importance of our individual images, creating a desire to build up our own image in competition with others.
Disclaimer: I know social media can be used in a positive manner and not everyone succumbs to the above tactics; however, many people do get lured into at least one of the above behaviors.
Here’s my concern: Moms are already an ignored majority in our modern culture. Moms are not the loudest or most respected or most highly-lauded of groups in our society. Our popular culture does not cater to mothers (except for advertisers who want moms to buy their stuff). So, moms are already lacking in cultural status and, now, we’re allowing social media to make one mom feel diminished by another? I say, “Stop it.”
We moms are raising the next generation… feeding them, nurturing them, loving them and training them. Moms are teaching the children moral and spiritual rights and wrongs, passing on lessons in faith and forgiveness, kindness and mercy. The role of a mom is INDISPENSABLE in our world. We need moms to be rock solid in their commitment to mothering or our future world will suffer deeply under deviant adults who weren’t truly mothered. So, moms need to stand arm-in-arm, cheering each other on, lifting each other up and helping each other be better in their mission as moms. We should not allow cyber space to separate us.
I happen to be a Christian mom, who wants my children to know that God loves them and that they’re called to share His grace-filled love with others into their adulthood. But, I don’t want to separate myself from the non-Christian moms, who love their kids as much as I love mine. I want to step over the hurdle that divides us through social sub-groups.
Recently, the CEO of MOPS International (a highly-respected organization for moms) and I were chatting with a group of moms at a ChannelMom Coffee; every mom in the room appeared to agree that moms are better together than divided. And, this is something we must pass along to our children. I don’t want my kids to think their social media image should make them superior to others or divide them from others. I don’t want my kids to allow social media to make them feel worse about themselves or to use social media to make others feel worse in comparison to them. I DO want my kids to stay strong in their Christian identity in the social environment, but not to make others feel small. A true Christian would use that social place to build others up… no matter how different they are from us.
3 Tips for Moms Using Social Media:
- Delay your child’s debut into social media as long as you can. [My kids are 17 and 13 and still not allowed to have a Facebook page.]
- Monitor your kid’s social media use (within reason), occasionally viewing their posts, tweets, snapchats, instagrams.
- Discuss, in a relaxed and friendly manner, what they’re viewing or saying in social media and ask them about how they’re feeling in regard to the conversations.
It’s as though scripture anticipated the lure of the perfect social media image: “You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned” (Luke 16:15).
By Jenny Dean Schmidt
Wife of Mike
Mother of two teenagers, Otis and Georgia
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Executive Director, ChannelMom Media & Outreach and Host of ChannelMom Radio on 94.7 KRKS FM in Denver and also at channelmom.com.
Moms, if social media is getting you down check out Becky’s post, Are Pinterest and Facebook Stressing You Out?