One of my favorite coffee shops happens to be in a neighborhood with very little parking. In an effort to find a silver lining, I use the time it takes to walk from my car to the coffee shop to quickly call the few people I can bear to talk on the phone with.
Quick caveat: I hate talking on the phone. I will only do it in emergencies or with people who I have known for YEARS. Seriously – YEARS.
Today, I decided to call my mom. We don’t talk everyday by any means – at most we talk once a week. Our relationship has been truly tumultuous at times but we seem to be through the worst of it in that we both now seem to at least be able to laugh at the other instead of scream 😉 I entertain her with stories of how I’m still sleeping on the queen sized air mattress she got me for Christmas and how I accidentally got a twin sized comforter but didn’t return it after realizing it functions just as well as a blanket. Living in a brand new place without people who really know you can be odd but having these one off conversations helps a ton.
As we were getting off the phone, she paused to ask me, “As your mom, if there’s anything I can do more of can you let me know?” I was a bit baffled – I’m very low maintenance and feel like both of my parents very much encouraged me to be independent from an early age. When I pushed for clarification, she told me how she sees other moms on facebook posting about how great their kid is, how proud they are that they did XYZ, etc.
“I saw Mrs. So & So post about her child the other day and it made me think about whether this was something you wanted me to do.”
“Ahhh you feel like you should step up your mom game?”
“Yes – I see those posts and I think about whether that’s something you’d want me to write and share. I don’t know – do you want that?”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This was so amusing to me for lack of a better term. My mom who fought for me to get speech therapy for years, who drove me to HOURS of soccer related activities, who took care of me when I was a true asshole after my ACL surgery, who patiently listens to me rant when I’m angry, who taught me to appreciate art, who has proofread countless papers of mine, who accepted me over time when I came out to her…. My mom who has done more than I can list on a blog was wondering if I wanted her to post more on social media about how proud she is of me, how much she loves me, etc. She was worried that was something she should do. She was afraid I would be left feeling like she didn’t care as much as other moms. I wanted to laugh because of how absurd and how twisted the logic is. I wanted to cry because I felt awful she felt in any way guilty or worried about having to do something like that. More than anything, I sadly understood where she was coming from. It’s a product of how folks are using that space and it’s leaving my mom feeling like there’s something wrong with how she parents me in the same way a girl in middle school worries she doesn’t get enough likes on her profile picture.
The icing on the cake of all of this is that my mom hardly knows how to use Facebook but I know if I told her that I wanted that level of interaction she’d make it happen.
Let it be known – my mom is awesome and I could care less if she posted about me on any form of social media. I know she cares because of her actions and not just her words. I don’t need anyone else to witness that in order to know that myself. I don’t need others to see whether she’s proud of me or to hear about the latest thing I’m up to. What folks forget is that she’s done the HARD work to be my mom – posting on Facebook is the easiest damn thing in the world.
Mom, rather than crafting Facebook posts let’s keep planning new adventures for us to go on 🙂 It seems like a much better use of time.
To everyone else, remember how your posts affect others. Portraying a perfect life has ripple effects. Portraying real life does too.