By Kriste Stevenson, Blogger for CTWorkingMoms.com
"Pause the TV."
"You really made it a nice weekend for Zoey. She really had fun."
This was the conversation on Sunday night between my husband and me. I was exhausted from the full, fun days we had just had and I truly appreciated the compliment. (It was definitely pause-the-TV-worthy, and we were watching Game of Thrones!) I just couldn't shake the feelings of inadequacy I was having. I felt like what we did wasn't creative enough or enriching enough. I was being really harsh on myself.
I've been feeling this way ever since my daughter's birthday. I admittedly went over the top with the theme and the favors and the planning. I secretly loved that the other parents were impressed with what we did at the party. I couldn't wait to get the pictures up on Facebook. I was insane and exhausted when all was said and done. Damn skippy, I was so proud of myself. There may have been a little voice in the back of my head whispering "So what? Who are you trying to impress?"
Then on Sunday, the thought occurred to me that I'm one of those people who have turned Facebook into a competition. At least in my head. I have heard all about the reports that say Facebook makes us feel bad about ourselves, but I was the first to poo-poo them and say "Not me!" Now I'm not so sure. It's possible I'm putting too much pressure on myself to be a super mom by creating this memorable childhood for my daughter.
The pull of Facebook is strong.
I look at all the things other people are doing and wonder, how on earth do they get all that done? I've started to think that some people are doing all this stuff over a period of weeks, taking pictures of it and then saving it all to post in one day so it looks like they're a super family. "Look at us! Look what we did today!" Between the fundraisers, the soccer and T-ball games, the family celebrations and topping it off with Girl's Night Out, when do these people have time to sleep? And it's not just weekends. The madness happens on weeknights too.
Maybe I feel like I work so much and I feel like I need to maximize that "quality time." Let's face it; I get home with just enough time to throw dinner on the TV tray and start the bedtime routine. There's hardly time to get my girl in the shower every night, let alone go for a nature walk or ride bikes. There's not a lot of variety to our weeknights. Maybe I feel bad because I don't have any real hobbies of my own to share with her, so I don't always know what to do with her. Running errands on Saturdays and going to the library get old really quickly for a 6-year-old. Maybe I feel guilty because she's an only child so I feel like it's my responsibility to never let her feel lonely or bored. It's because of my choices that she doesn't have any siblings to keep her occupied, so I feel like I have to make it up to her.
Whatever the reason, the comparison has to stop. I read this article about not being responsible for making my child's childhood magical. It made so much sense to me. The magic is already there. It's impossible to keep up with the Joneses, especially if the Joneses are on Facebook. I need to stop driving myself crazy and put this track on repeat: I'm a good mom. I just need a little unplugging and a little more life. Here's what real life is, right now: My child is very happy. She laughs, she plays, she sings songs she makes up and strums along with on her "buitar." She's interested in the world around her; she becoming a master of the knock-knock joke... she's just awesome. And me? I'm doing the best that I can. She's going to be just fine because of it.