Motherhood is a glorious role. Uplifting and self-improving. A new life, wholly and completely dependent on you. You rise to the occasion, continually putting the needs of that mini human ahead of your own. The child thrives.
It is a Herculean task. Heavy and taxing. A new life is wholly and completely dependent on you. You rise to the occasion, continually putting the needs of that other human ahead of your own. You buckle a little under the weight of responsibility.
Do you have more than one child? Do you have a job and a household to manage? Are your laundry and dishes piling up? Is your mental health suffering?
But, do you have help? Someone to hold your baby so you can sleep? Someone to help your toddler eat and pee while you nurse the baby? Someone to switch your laundry while you manage dinner? Someone to sit with you so you don’t feel so lonely amidst the chaos?
So, you turn to Facebook and Instagram to connect with others. You have lots of “friends” there. But, are your friendships better when you “like” or get “liked”? Do you feel stronger, less alone, when you scroll through those perfect vacation photos and perfect meals and perfect family Christmas cards?
The only thing more isolating than social media is living on Mars. Social Media is a black hole of antifriends who are usually faking it. Our friendships have become virtual, and our self-worth hinges on our “friends’” public praise. The pressures to conform to trends, and the speed and severity at which someone is shamed or shunned for being less than perfect are masochistic. It is as if the 1950s gained technology but never ended. Despite feminism. Despite Progress. We all still wear our pearls in public.
Some of you are lucky. You have church where like-minded friends buoy you up, or extended family close-by to ease the household burdens, or financial abundance that allows you to hire help. Maybe all of the above. But so many of us don’t. We are alone with our virtual, pretend communities and distant friendships and no help when the literal responsibilities of daily life seem insurmountable. Who would you even ask for help? Do you repost a witty meme on your Facebook feed about the “realities of motherhood” for all the women you know to laugh in solidarity? First world problems, right? We are liberated, independent women, and we can do it all.
Except we were never meant to. The happiest cultures in the world are communal (look it up). Since the beginning of time, women have worked together, shared responsibilities, created villages. We’ve always had each other, and our villages. Now all we have is public ridicule for not doing enough, well enough. Women would cook together, work together, raise children together. Some cultures still have this. Why can’t we?
I’m truly asking. Why can’t we? Is it because we have to have it all? Even at the expense of friendships, community, leisure time, and our mental health? Where is the balance of progress and community?
Please, share your thoughts. Put down Facebook Put down Instagram. Let’s talk. We need to figure this out- together.