Connecting and sharing on Facebook keeps us posted on what all our "friends" are doing. Perhaps the younger generation gets hurt when they see parties they weren't invited to, boyfriends out with another girl, or other friends having fun without them. But one group may rival the communications and emotions of today's hi-tech teens: parents.
Below, five ways checking Facebook can make moms (or dads) feel like they should be doing, well, more!
- Pictures of (too many) milestone moments. Parents who post their kid's every moment -- from little things like eating a banana split to big ones like holding up a preschool graduation certificate -- make you feel like the world's worst photographer and parent. You always forget to bring your expensive new camera -- or, more often, you can't even find it. So you snap a shot with your iPhone or Blackberry and hope it's good enough to frame for grandma.
- People who run 6 miles before you even get to your mid-morning meeting. You were determined to stick to your exercise routine and run at 6am, before you get the kids out the door and head to your full-time office job. But you didn't. You were tired. You want to kick yourself. You want to kick the person who had time to run. You are supposed to be the parent who can stay fit and be fun! Where's your motivation? Now, feeling like you have to try to find it makes you even more mad. Yet another thing on your to-do list for the day.
- Here, there and everywhere. People who check in with their kids via Four Square on a Saturday are really out on the town -- exploring museums, chowing down at the latest cupcake shop, schlepping over to the recycling center, volunteering at the homeless shelter. You should be a more cultural/adventurous/environmentally-friendly/charitable/fun parent.
- Happy families. There's nothing worse than seeing intact families together and smiling when you're divorced. The images you see sneak into all that mommy or daddy guilt you have for trashing your child's chances of growing up in a "normal family." You may be happy, too, but the photos mess with your mind.
- The things kids say -- all the things they say. People who not only listen to the things their kids say but remember them well enough to post all those (not always) adorable sayings make you wonder if you should stop zoning out and zero in on what you're kids are saying. But you really don't want to turn down your favorite Coldplay song on the way to soccer practice.
Is this a problem, and is there a solution? I think the answer is: suck it up. Either brace yourself when logging on to Facebook or take a break and don't look. Life will keep moving along, you basically can guess what you'll miss (all of the above) and you might just have more time to become the kind of parent you want to be.
Follow Erin Mantz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ErinMantz