Valentine’s Day is coming up. As a mother of two small children, I don’t really have time to consider what this day means for my husband and I. We know that we love each other, and we do not need a day to pronounce this love. The best Valentine’s day gift we could get each other is an empty house and some sanity.
Even if my husband and I are not celebrating Valentine’s Day, it’s still very important to me. Why? Though it is marketed as a romantic holiday to boost chocolate and diamond sales for adults, to a child it is a time that you can tell your friends you love them. This year, I wanted my preschooler to experience this. I decided to Pinterest the crap out of my daughter’s Valentines because:
- I have just returned to work and had a free day to spend with her
- She loves doing crafts
- My projects typically end up being put on my long list of Pinterest fails and wanted to prove to myself that I do not suck
I was so proud of how they turned out, of how happy she was with them and of how excited she was to give them to her friends (hell, even that my three year old has friends!). Normally I would want to share them on Facebook, but the thought of doing so gave me pause.
I wondered whether other moms would feel bad about having store bought ones, or if people would think that they are awful. I ended up not sharing, to avoid the issue entirely. I figured that all that really mattered was that the kids enjoyed them.
A friend of mine and her son made these delicious Valentine’s for his classmates seen below, and then posted on Facebook a picture of her son sitting proudly beside his “One in a minion’s”. The whole picture was freaking adorable, and she received a ton of positive feedback. She is a busy mom of five boys, and you could see the joy in her son’s eyes from what they had accomplished and from being able to spend one-on-one time with his mom.
The next morning, I was surprised to see a post from my same friend, thanking everyone for their likes and comments, but also touching on the fact that not everyones reactions were positive. A few moms had told her that her crafts were too extravagant and that she was over-doing a senseless holiday.
Though she didn’t apologise for sharing her son’s Valentines, it saddened her that there were moms out there worrying about what other moms are doing. That when a mom proudly posts a picture, there seems to always be other moms in the background riddled with jealously and guilt- so much so that they would find a need to make judgemental comments.
Her situation really spoke to me, since I had chosen not to share our Valentine’s because of those very reasons. It made me angry. Does it do these moms any good to post rude comments? Does it help them sleep better at night, knowing that they have made another mom who is trying her best feel awful? Do they feel better about themselves in return?
To all the moms trolling out there, here is a fun fact: It only takes one comment to ruin someone’s day.
I completely understand the societal pressure that all moms are now under, because I am a mom. I feel the pressures to be perfect every day when it comes to my relationship, my kids, my work and my home, just like you. I am much less than perfect, but am trying to embrace my imperfections. It’s not easy. I am not immune to those feelings of guilt or jealousy when I see other moms pictures on Facebook, but I also know that social media does not tell the whole story of a persons life.
People don’t typically share the moments that take them to the breaking point, like when “my child didn’t sleep all night and it feels like I am dealing with a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex”, or “my partner and I are having a really hard time adjusting to parenthood and I’m not sure if we’re going to make it”, or even “this baby toy is really cute, but I have buyers remorse because we are in a lot of debt”.
You have to read between the lines. Facebook is not reality. It gives us a way to share the positive things in our lives so that we can feel supported and loved.
End of story.
Anyone who knows me, or that has read why I have a restraining order against Elf of the Shelf, already knows that I completely suck at crafting.
Meanwhile, my best friend does amazing work with her sewing machine. She started off making adorable, giant head bands for her little girl, and has recently started making full-blown outfits. Every day my newsfeed has another picture of her daughter looking stellar, while my son is in his pajamas at 3pm covered in drool and scrambled eggs.
I could have decided to be a dick and ask her not to post any more pictures, avoid her pictures altogether or unfollow her posts. But, I came to the realization that my feelings have nothing to do with her. What she is doing is AMAZING, and she deserves support from her friend so that she can continue doing what she loves.
I want her to be happy. I want her to grow. I want her to be the strong woman she is meant to be. I don’t want to cut anyone else down, just because I can’t do what they do, whether due to my lack of time, experience, or ability. I eventually was able to overcome my insecurities, and I now do everything in my power to support what she does.
Just as I hope other moms have embraced my hobby to write (thank you for your support!), I see other moms showcasing their skills in hopes of getting the support they so need and deserve. Every mom that I know bends over backwards for their children. Every mom that I know also compares herself to others.
Please, for the sake of our children and ourselves, can we spend this Valentine’s Day appreciating one another, instead of disdainfully judging? Can we please uplift one another’s skills instead of casting them down?
So, to the moms trolling on Facebook, answer me this: Can’t we all just get along?