You know you’ve experienced “The Facebook Effect” if you’ve ever scanned FB only to see THAT one particular mom/friend/acquaintance (c’mon you all have at least one each day) and started to feel bad… about yourself. THAT mom is looking camera-ready, as always it seems, and today she’s posted a collage of her kids doing one million season-appropriate crafts followed by another collage of Sunset Magazine worthy outdoor adventures. There’s one of her and her kiddo taking a “twofie”. It’s cute, sure, but all you see is perfectly done hair, a gorgeously beaming smile showing off the whitest teeth, and supermodel-worthy glowing skin. Then, that glow makes you wonder…
Did she get a facial today too? Maybe she just got shagged… But how could she have done that in the barrage of crafts and outdoor adventures she’s been doing?
While your mind is going somewhere it truly doesn’t belong another photo comes through of THAT mom posted by her hubby. She’s happier than a tornado in a trailer park and looks like a supermodel at the latest hot spot. The caption says:
“So in love with this beauty! Because she’s such an amazing mom and partner, I thought she deserved a night out!” #datenight #loveofmylife
There you are, hair in a messy top knot, wearing baggy old sweatpants over hairy unshaven legs, no make-up, you’ve got a zit because you’ve been too tired to wash your face for the last few nights, and you’re not sure if you showered today… or was that yesterday… As you’re sniffing your pits, you start to think about what you did with your kids today. You spent the whole day deep-cleaning the house and they were left to their own devices for entertainment. There were no crafts or outdoor adventures. There’s certainly not a date night in your future as your hubby just ran out for take-out. Then you start to try to remember the last time your hubby declared (on FB no less) that you were doing such a great job that a night out was in order. Come to think of it, when was the last time you had a date night with your hubby. It’s happened to all of us. This, very honestly, was me about two weeks ago. I’ve learned that I have to wait until I am in the right mental space to get on FB. For whatever reason, this FB “friend” is preying on each and every one of our deepest and darkest insecurities. Insecurities we never even knew we had. The truth is THAT mom probably has no idea that she’s making you or anyone else feel that way. She’s just sharing her happy day with the world because it was a great day for her and her family.
I have another startling fact to throw at you…
You’ve been THAT mom to someone at some time.
It’s true. And tomorrow, she probably won’t be THAT mom again. Although some do seem to have quite the run. What’s a girl to do?
I think the answer is something the Buddhists refer to as MIDUTA: happiness in another’s good fortune. Be happy for her and learn from her. Let your insecurities turn into inspiration. If you’re not in the mental space to feel miduta then get the hell off social media altogether or stay away from FB when you’re NOT hormonal or emotional. Which, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much NEVER, amIright?
Or try some rational empathy. Think about the first scenario: maybe one of her kids is having behavior issues and keeping him/her busy is the best way to keep them in line, or she’s been working really hard all week and she feel’s bad for the time away so she put together a special day, or she’s dealing with some issues of her own and needs to keep her mind off them so she decided to throw all her energy into something she truly loves – her kids. Also, that glow is probably because she’s sweaty from running around and making this a great day for her kiddos.
Meanwhile, your kids weren’t exactly roughing it or being neglected. They were cultivating a very important life skill that will carry them far: independent play. Don’t downplay that! Also, chances are you had them do a chore or two. That teaches responsibility. They saw how hard you work to keep their home clean. These are all good things for kids to see and learn!
The bottom line is that her day probably wasn’t all you made it up to be in YOUR mind. Sure, she probably treasures the essence of the day because she loves her family just like you love yours. But trust me when I tell you that every moment was not a dream. How do I know this? Because we are all human. When I have a great day with my kiddos and share it on FB I’m not telling you all about how this one had a meltdown and that one talked back and said something hurtful to me because that’s NOT what I want to remember. No one really shares their warts on FB. Of course you have the TMI-er, the Sympathy Baiter, and the Cynic, but they’re typically the exception to the rule. The average FB Jane shares the highlights and the big or little life stuff through a filter and a fine sieve. And that’s OK.
So, the next time you are scrolling FB and see a pic of THAT mom, think MIDUTA and be happy that she’s having a great day, leave a comment telling her that she’s a rockstar of a mom and she totally just inspired you to do something fun with your kiddos. Let’s celebrate each other and not let envy creep into our happiness. After all, FB is a truly filtered version of our lives. It’s what we choose for people to see or know, not what the day to day, minute to minute reality is.
Miduta, miduta, miduta!