Life Beyond the Squares

The speed at which technology intertwines with our daily lives I can be track through the arrival of my offspring. For example, nearly a decade ago when my first child was born, I didn’t even have a mobile phone with internet. I would sit for hours on end breastfeeding, staring into space, desperately trying to stay alert/engaged and not nod off myself. With the arrival of my second child 4 years later, I had my first iPhone and with it the doors of social media were flung open to me and I leaped through the door. I could nurse my child for hours without even batting an eye as I caught up on email, did online shopping, and stayed somewhat abreast of current events.

With the arrival of my last child (almost 3 years ago), I not only had an iPhone, but also access to all the new forms of social media that I could (barely) handle: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Having access to a smartphone went from being a fun way to stay connected to an exhausting way to show-and-tell to highlight our haves and not our have-nots. As time went on, the sharing became more and more curated, more edited, more “perfect”. But as we all know, the life that we live in these tiny squares isn’t, or can’t be reality – they are simply a well-edited version of our own truth.

I totally get it – the desire to make our lives look ideal, drool-worthy and (our version of) perfect. But we all know feeling we get after a late night Instagram cruising that leaves us with a sinking feeling that our homes, children or bodies are somehow inadequate. We have all become the Executive Producers of our own at-home reality shows via social media, without thinking about what it’s doing to our well-being. A lot of research has been done about the negative effects of social media on teens, but the same could easily be said about the effects on mothers, mothers-to-be and women in general. I believe the whole point of social media is to connect and feel inspired, and I hope that that continues. But somehow the idea of inspiring others with our visual content has gotten lost in translation and we need to re-direct our thinking about the viewer and how it will leave them feeling (because essentially we are all the voyeurs in one anothers lives). Do they feel entertained, empowered, inspired, or will it leave them with a feeling of inadequacy that their life isn’t good/perfect enough? I’m sure this is a long discussion that I know many others before and after me will have, but I believe it’s important for us to put it out there while we, well, put everything out there for others to see.