Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Snapshots

 My mom is new to the world of social media. She just recently signed up for Instagram (mostly to look at pictures of her kids/grandkid.) She has finally added a few friends on there. One day she was talking to me about one such friend and she said, "She's on a vacation all day every day!" And I commented that that particular friend honestly didn't post all that much. Mom continued, "But seriously she's always doing something fun."

It took me a few hours and a scroll through Instagram later that day where I came across that same friend posting pictures of a good time for it to sink in, "Oh, Mom's new to this." Mom's new to the social media game..the one we play in our own heads. The one that says that when someone posts lots of fun pictures they always happy, healthy, confident, worry-free and are never unhappy, worried, full of self-doubt, or contention.



Always and never. And we take that away from one snapshot.We think those snapshots are all or nothing. But we don't at the same time. We know they're not. We know they are not--at least in our own experience. For example, I recently posted a picture of JaiseAnn getting into the chocolate chips while we were baking. What that didn't show was how messy my kitchen was or the number of times JaiseAnn had a meltdown that day due to teething!

A friend of mine recently pointed this out, "I think a lot of times we use social media as a way to gauge whether or not we're normal." Does our family do normal family things? Do I accomplish an appropriate amount of tasks in a day? Do I dress like other people on the weekdays/weekends? And when we don't, we suddenly fall short in our own minds. All from one little snapshot. What power we give a tiny image or phrase.

The other day I had someone from church randomly stop by. I had been expecting company that day and had scheduled my day accordingly. When I answered the door, JaiseAnn and I were already showered and dressed. My floor was recently vacuumed, the house was clean, and JaiseAnn was playing with her blocks on the floor. Everything looked "as it should."  My snapshot might send someone the message that JaiseAnn always plays well alone or my house is always clean or I always get dressed in a timely manner.



After my visitor left, I silently gave myself a "high five!" I was truly proud in that moment. But proud of what? Proud that the stars aligned and she stopped by on a good day? Proud of the illusion of always

It's okay to have good days and to be proud of them. They are accomplishments, whether or not my days like that are frequent or few, it's okay to be proud when I get a good day--the kind of day I strive for every day. Getting things done and having things go well, those are good things. Having days just like I'd always imagined being home with my kids would be like are dreamy and exciting. I had every right to be proud. But I also need to be careful. I need to realize that on any given day, someone else could be having their hard day while I'm having my "I'm rocking this day!" and vice versa.



With social media, it gets a bad rap, but it's not the media. A lot of the accounts I follow are inspiring and uplifting. Many people I follow value their families, healthy lifestyles, gospel principles, and more. I am often inspired by those that I follow and I try to post things that would make someone else smile, or think, or simply be uplifted. I think we need to use social media with caution--absolutely, but we also need to choose wisely who we follow and why we follow them. Do you feel inspired, uplifted, or connected? I also think that by spending a few minutes each evening going over the highlights from that day--whether you shared them publicly or kept them to yourself--we all have that moment. The sleeping baby in our arms, the cookie you snuck during naptime, the delicious dinner, the laughter, the little moments. I've been on a mission to not let other people's moments get in the way of my own.

How do you manage your relationship with social media?

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