Sometimes Instagram can be a great source of inspiration and happiness. I love scrolling through pretty pictures, slices of people’s lives. With the adorable “Cat of Instagram” picture, smiling baby or the super inspiring messages from people like January Harshe of Birth Without Fear and my friend Sarah of Scout and Feather.
But other times all of the pretty pictures can totally make me feel worse about whatever trouble is going on at that moment. I guess that’s the catch 22 about social media in general, right? Do the potential harder moments outweigh the benefits or vice versa? I think of it more as a see-saw. Some days I’m the one crying in the bedroom after having a mommy meltdown that Clare won’t stop screaming and I don’t know what’s wrong or what to do to help her for the 5th day in a row. (Thank god for that usually happening when Chris is home to pick up the slack.) Days like that it feels like scrolling through IG is just mocking me. “You don’t have that picture perfect coffee picture next to the beautiful planner with the chipper status.” “You aren’t on that exotic vacation, or hanging out with friends.” Instead, I’m desperately trying to juggle it all, working, primary care giving a very high needs spirited toddler, (sometimes both at the same time) and working on my slow crawl to an eventual career in birth work. Not to mention trying to cultivate other relationships in my life. It’s fucking hard. Yes, I’m cussing, even though that’s usually not my blogging MO. For that sort of blog you should check out Renegade Mothering and of course the One Bad Mother podcast. Love them.
But seriously, though. It’s hard and I think it should be okay to say it’s hard. It should be okay to have a meltdown every once in a while. To cry. Get some hot chocolate on a rainy day. And then dust yourself off and get back on the merry-go-round.
I guess I should be setting limits on Instagram like I have been on Facebook and Email. I use the Coach.me (previously Lift) app to track habits and that includes trying to limit my checking of those two. Hard habit to break. But I probably should do the same with IG. If for no other reason than to save myself from the hard days of it making me feel worse rather than inspired.
Some days I AM the one with the delicious coffee and the beautiful planner. Next month we ARE going to Hawaii. I’ve made some new friends on IG, participated in a gift swap through @joyfullyinspired and used social media to make other’s days better and even to leverage partnerships and contacts for various endeavors over the years. MOST days, to talk in childbirth speak, the benefits do outweigh the risks…and so I tend to err on the side of soldiering on in the world of social media.
Sometimes it’s just about reminding myself that this is just a slice of life. Just a slice of my life and just a slice of others. And every once in a while it’s worth putting our more ‘real’ moments out there – not solely the highlight reels. I like to think that by doing so, we’re reaching out a small olive branch, saying “I’m not perfect. I’m not all sunshine and rainbows and beautiful coffee and workouts and happy mail and smiling babies. I’m also crying in the bedroom after a long week, binging on sweets, panic attacks, cancelled plans, screaming babies, yoga pants-all-day, chaos so deep that sometimes driving to the dentist feels like a break.” I’m both. We’re all both. And we could do with sharing that more.