Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is There an Off Switch?

It doesn't really bother me that it's recital season. It used to sting a bit, seeing all the cute, little photos on Facebook. The fact that we never made it through a whole month of dance, let alone a whole season, was a hard pill to swallow. God, how I wanted to pay $100 for a gaudy little outfit my kid would wear once, and see her wave to me from the stage, ignoring any routine she was taught.

But, with age, those feelings have dissipated. I was never angry at people for posting these things, just sad I couldn't do the same. But, missing out on this part of life doesn't bother me anymore, and I truly enjoy sharing in those magical, childhood moments with friends. Plus, I focus on all the awesome things my kids can do, and that always makes me smile.

However, there is one thing I just can't get past: gratuitous internet bragging. This is different from sharing cute little recital pictures with your friends.

Far different.

You know the type...the parents who post every.single.accomplishment online, from potty-training, to academic achievements. Who post (photo-shopped) pictures, telling the world they just can't believe how gorgeous their children are. Or how their kids eat better than yours (only organic!), have more friends than yours (so popular, other children practically stalk them!), how smart they are (she was reading and writing practically out of the womb!).

It bothers me not because I am jealous. I suppose I could share Ben's IQ scores, or the fact that when he was 2, he asked me to paint his fingernails, so look how progressive he is (and, omg, yes, people post stuff like that!), but I just don't understand the purpose?

I'm looking for a real answer, here, if one exists. Why can't we just be proud of our kids, without placing on their shoulders the burden of being vastly superior to all others? Why can't we just mention something once, instead of talking about it day, after day, after day. There's sharing, and then there's beating people over the head with the glory that is your child. Frankly, it's embarrassing to even read.

What kind of kids are we raising, who have been told from infancy how perfect they are, and how beautiful they are, and how genius they are? Thanks to the big A, I worry about my children's futures, but it's not because I've treated them like belong on a throne somewhere. We already have parents calling colleges for their kids, what will this next generation of parents do?

I shudder to think.

That's not to say you shouldn't be proud of your children. I'm proud of mine, everyday. But, there's definitely a line between being proud, and being ridiculous.

I wish we could just focus on raising our kids to be good people. Humble people. Adults who can actually handle themselves in the real world. Forget group homes for those with disabilities, we're going to need group homes for typical kids, who were never taught how to hack it in the real world. Or that rejection happens. Or that you have to work hard in life. Or that the world doesn't revolve around you.

So I say, step away from social media, and into reality. Your kids (and society) will thank you for it, one day (and your followers will thank you now).

(But, I'm a realist, and know mommy wars will never cease to exist. One can always hope, though. One can always hope).

1 comment:

  1. Well, I am certainly guilty of doing this on FB. I don't necessarily think that posting accomplishments is rubbing it in other people's faces. Feeling that way is not only based on what a writer posts, but on the reader and what their perception is. For instance I could assume that this post was about me since we are connected on Facebook and I do post every single little accomplishment there and do so sometimes repeatedly. But I don't think it is about me, because my intention in doing what I do is not about rubbing people's face in it but in sharing (and sometimes yes, oversharing) with my friends and family a little slice of our lives.

    Graduation time, when people's kids get awards, ribbons and college admissions make me always wistful in knowing that Maya's life probably looks vastly different. Still, that's about me, it's not about the parents who are proud of what their kids have achieved and proud of themselves for producing kids who have achieved things. I hear what you are saying and the mommy wars really suck, but for this, I say let people stand on their soapbox. Life is hard enough.