Way to Poop on the Parade….Ladies.
Over the weekend, a friend and fellow mom I’ve known for many years, tagged me in Facebook’s latest challenge to go viral, the ‘Motherhood Challenge.’
The post read:
Normally, I groan when I’m tagged in some sort of challenge or chain letter type thing on Facebook….and I pretty much never acknowledge that it happened by playing along….but when I saw this post, my first thought was, “Awww!”
I don’t live or die by the validation of others, but it’s nice to get an occasional nod now and then. Truthfully, it felt good that she took a moment to acknowledge me.
Of course, once the challenge went viral, it didn’t take long before a bunch of other women came along and menstruated all over it.
The challenge has been criticized because it’s called a “challenge” when its nature does not actually meet the true definition of a challenge….”challenge” being defined by one writer as “coping with grief when you wish you were dead, or pushing your mind and body to the limit in a feat of superhuman endurance.” Seems a bit reaching, desperate for relevance and overly dramatic to me.
Another criticism is that the challenge and its associated images are harmful to women who are struggling to conceive, or who are grieving the loss of a child.
By that logic, happy couples should never post pictures of themselves being happy….because other people are on the verge of a break-up.
Never celebrate a birthday, because someone else might want to forget hers.
If you get a new job….don’t share….someone else might have lost one.
Buy a house….don’t tell anyone….other people are homeless.
Enjoy a great dinner at a swanky restaurant….keep it to yourself you selfish bastard….somebody else ate at Taco Bell.
I guess, social media should only be full of miserable people commiserating with other miserable people.
I’m not trying to be insensitive, but the intent of the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ was not to make anyone else feel bad or inadequate. Personally, I saw it as a rare female to female high-five and a very simple opportunity to celebrate the joys of being a mother.
Which brings me to the next criticism….that the pictures posted were the filtered images of parenting made Facebook pretty….instead of what motherhood apparently is….one long period of vomit splattered yoga pants and Kool-Aid stained, grubby, screaming, cock-blocking, soul sucking spawn, who are wreaking havoc, while the family dog craps in the corner and the husband floats in and out asking what you’ve done all day since you don’t have a job.
Please. Give it a rest ladies.
Yeah, being a mom is hard work. There are days and weeks where I spend more time in my PJ’s than out of them. My hair will likely spend more time styled in a wet bun than a sleek blow-out and I typically only wear mascara when work requires me to leave the house.
There are days I want to run away. There are times when I feel like I’m running on empty and I turn on the TV or hand my son a tablet for an hour so I can get a few moments to recharge….sometimes I’m short on patience and I lose my temper….sometimes I have a good cry in the bathtub and I hate my childless friends for their freedom.
But, often….quite often….there are also truly incredible moments that remind me why I wanted to be a mom in the first place and yes….most of the time….those are the moments I choose commit to a digital image and I may even add a filter….but the heart of those moments is as real and honest as any other experience I have as a mother.
Regardless, I can honestly say I’ve never felt alone in the trenches. My Facebook newsfeed is flooded, daily, with commentary on the hardships and harsh, but often hilarious, realities of parenting. There is no shortage of attention to these facts and it’s refreshing to see so many women willing to lay out the ugly.
So, the suggestion that social media users are harmfully distorting the realities of what it’s really like to be a mother, by playing along with something like the ‘Motherhood Challenge,’ seems like a mad dash to make something out of nothing.
Furthermore, the idea that as women we are incapable of separating fact from fiction….that our perceptions, feelings and self worth are largely linked to what social media says we should be….that we’re these delicate flower’s the internet must coddle….is insulting.
Also insulting….insinuating that we are so selfish and self-centered that we can’t be supportive of another woman’s happiness when it doesn’t mirror our own.
Maybe that was the challenge. For all us moms out there to take a moment….in the midst of the craziness….to remember those times when we felt we were at our best….and for everyone else to simply allow us the space to celebrate it.
I promise, I will be more than willing to root for your happy moments too.