Imagine the “perfect” 1950’s housewife. This woman cooked and cleaned in dresses and pearls. In the 1950’s this kind of woman defined a “good mother” by the condition of her home and the taste of her casserole. Thankfully, most mothers in our generation have moved beyond that stereo-type. It is easy for us to scoff at those standards of perfection and feel grateful we don’t have to fit that 1950’s mother mold. However, I believe the millennial mother has a new standard for perfection, one that those 1950’s housewives are grateful they do not have to face: social media.
Social media allows the viewer to get little glimpses into other’s lives, without even knowing who that person is. We usually see the social media pictures posted by others from the very best (or staged) parts. Social media has, unintentionally, allowed the modern mother to set unrealistic expectations of a different kind. For a long time, I was so hard on myself after looking at other blogs or Instagrams. I would think, If they can do it all, why can’t I? I must be some sort of failure if I wear workout clothes all day and all I can manage to do is take care of my kids.”
More negative thoughts and the preview of social media continued to shape what I believed “good mothers” must do.
Only the good moms have their life all together. Those mother’s throw amazing parties, have magazine worthy homes, have their hair done and probably never wear sweats. Those picture perfect mother’s certainly never lost their cool or feed their children macaroni and cheese from a box. Beyond this perfect housewife she is, a good mom is also a humanitarian, a small business owner and socialite. Doing more is better.
I allowed myself to think these lies more often and felt discouraged with what I was not doing in my little world. Months passed, before I realized I was giving more power to social media than it deserved to have. Social media was not intended to set the standards for motherhood; we have just given it that power. I also realized that the reason I couldn’t “do more” was because I didn’t want to. I was in the thick of raising small children and there was nothing that I wanted to do more than to take care of them. However, it was something that I had to allow myself to be OK with. I had to remove the word JUST from my description of what I was. I wasn’t JUST a mom. I am a mom who is happy and grateful to focus on raising my kids.
During this time, I made a short list of the things that I believe can help mother’s feel their worth.
The following are a list of characteristics that all of the “good mothers” posses:
- One that is not only aware of priorities, but recognizes that priorities change with the passage of time. Priorities look different in different stages and circumstances and that’s okay!
- Recognize the value of time. Along my road of motherhood, I had to decide how to spend my time. If I am doing something that takes me away from my children, is it worth it to me? Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is no. The outcome of this question will look different for all of us, depending on our circumstances and our needs. However, it is a question that can help you filter through some of the choices that come our way.
- A good mother is aware of her strengths and her weaknesses. There comes a point when we realize there are things that we can and can’t do. And that is okay! We really can’t do it all and be it all.
- Try. Good mothers just keep on trying. None of us get it right all of the time… really, ever. If you feel you can improve, great! This shows you really care about your role as a mother and by default that makes you a good one.
This post is not meant to shine a negative light on social media or working moms.
I admire working moms who are doing amazing things beyond raising children and helping to ease the financial burdens in their homes. Most of these women are pursuing other things because of emotional needs and/or circumstances- this does not make them better or worse than you. I also must note, I know for a fact that people on social media do not post things online for you to feel bad about yourself. Those people are sharing their strengths. It is okay if their strengths are not your strengths. Social media does not “make you” feel a certain way; we allow it.
Fellow reader, it is time to take back the power that defines our individual worth from social media. Do not let social media define who you think you should be as a mother. There are a million ways to be a good mother. Decide what makes you a good mother and do it. You have the power, not social media!
I would like to issue a challenge: Don’t let social media dictate your worth as a mother. Outline 3-5 things that help you feel like you are doing a good job as a mother. Put the list somewhere you can see often. If you find yourself feeling discouraged by looking at what others are doing on social media, reread your list of what YOUR requirements are.
You are amazing!
Guest Author Bio: Lisa Andersen is certified Positive Discipline Instructor who believes if you are a mother, you might as well enjoy it. She helps other women learn to enjoy their roles as mothers by sharing ways to manage thoughts and time . Lisa also enjoys teaching mother’s the tools to help manage children as well as ideas to help keep them occupied. Outside of mothering, Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, exercise, sunshine, Gilmore Girls and chocolate.