My Love-Hate Relationship with Social Media
Social media is not for everyone, and after many years of being a stay-at-home mom, I have developed a love/hate relationship with social media. For a long time, especially when I was in the weeds with two sets of twin babies 18 months apart, social media was my link to the outside world and a much needed means of communication. I loved posting funny and sweet videos of my chaotic life as a double twin mom and it all seemed so fun and innocent. I also enjoyed staying up-to-date with friends near and far, many new parents as well, therefore, lacking the time and/or energy to send messages or call to catch up on life. Social media made it possible to stay connected and was an easy way to let someone know you were thinking about them by dropping a quick comment, an emoji or a “like.”
But over the past couple of years, I have had a very difficult time navigating social media. Being the type of person who wears her heart on her sleeve and who has struggled with anxiety and depression at different times throughout my life, I am constantly second guessing posts that I make and how I choose to word comments on the posts of others to make sure people don’t misinterpret or misconstrue my words. I see so many people on social media who are unabashedly themselves and post very bold statements and opinions. When I see these posts, I wonder to myself, “Are they worried about how people will respond to this post?” “Are they prepared to engage in a war of words?” “Are they worried about how people will make them feel with their responses?” I worry about all of these things. Constantly. Even when I’m not posting something particularly bold or controversial, I still have anxiety about potential responses.
One of the positive things about social media to me is memes. I mean, who doesn’t love a good meme? I credit funny memes for helping me to get through quarantine and remote learning! If I was having a particularly challenging day with the kiddos trying to get them to complete their assignments, I’d take a moment to scroll through Facebook and low and behold, and I would inevitably come upon a meme about the struggles of remote learning and I’d know that I was not alone in my despair and depleted patience. Not only that, but it would give me the chuckle I needed to carry on. I even tried my hand at making some of my own memes during that time and it was a fun distraction.
Another thing I love about social media is using it as a record of experiences and memories. Let’s be real, for most people today trying to balance parenthood, work and everything in between, baby books are becoming obsolete. I tried really hard to keep up with my kids’ baby books, but quite honestly, my main goal the first few years of their lives was—to quote a mug given to me by a friend—“keep the tiny humans alive.” I often joke that I don’t really remember a lot from when the kids were babies because I was in pure survival mode. But thanks to Facebook saving all my photos, I enjoy seeing the memories that pop up each day and sometimes re-sharing a memory that was particularly special.
I also appreciate reading stories of hope, love, and triumph. In a world so uncertain, we all need something to hold onto. The world needs as much love and light as possible right now coming off a tumultuous year and a half.
I think another thing that got me through the pandemic was the sharing of ideas from moms and teachers on social media as to what projects and experiments folks were trying with their kids. This was most helpful right at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was floundering, navigating a whole new world. I know that when I would share things that I was trying, other moms would comment thanking me for the ideas. It’s true what they say, we were all in it together.
Now that I’ve mentioned all of the positives about social media, I will say that despite all of the positives, there are still things about it that give me pause. At one point last year, my newsfeed caused me so much anxiety that I began talking to a therapist again to unpack all of what I was taking in and how to compartmentalize it all. I backed away from it for awhile and learned to not take every jarring post to heart. I learned that no matter what you say, even if it’s well-meaning, someone out there will not take it as such. I learned to guard my heart. But probably most of all, I learned how to filter my social media and make it work for me. If there is a post that triggers me, I keep scrolling. I seek out funny memes and cute baby and animal pictures and videos. I try to comment when people need love, positive vibes, prayers, or support. If things get too heavy or heated on my newsfeed, I take a break. In conclusion, I recently came upon this quote that seemed to sum up my message: “If you are on social media and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrong.”