Kyli celebrated her 15th birthday Tuesday and I didn’t post about it on Facebook until Wednesday. Does this make me a bad mom? Before you say no, then why do I feel so guilty for not doing it on her actual birthday?
This is a big year for Kyli. This year she will complete freshman year, start driver’s education, and eagerly count down the clock to her 16th birthday. Fifteen isn’t 16 but it’s a big deal for Kyli. As a matter of fact, every birthday is a big deal for her. OK, let me say this again, everything Kyli does is a big deal, she makes sure of it.
See, here’s what I’m struggling with. I don’t ever want to be one of those parents who feels obligated to tell everyone, everything about the most normal, mundane things my kids do. It’s totally cool and fun to share pictures and accomplishments. I sometimes actually enjoy stalking old friends to see what their kids are doing, secretly hoping that my life is more exciting than theirs. Just kidding! No really, I kind of do that.
I also don’t want my kids to feel left out, not celebrated, because you know, being on social media is what makes you relevant in the world, right? Like Kyli reminds me all the time, if you don’t share it, it didn’t happen, and no one knows you’re having fun.
I mean Facebook is where you go to for birthday information these days. No more mailed invitations to parties, no hanging wall calendars with names scribbled in a square or even Outlook calendar reminders. The new norm is posting a picture collage that tells everyone, “Today is the day I gave birth to my most wonderful, intelligent, well-behaved, athletic, popular but humble, generous yet trailblazing child.”
I know you’re thinking that I must not really like my kids. I really do like them. I love them and would give my last, um, my last, well you know. I love them very much. I’m just trying to deal with the guilt and shame that comes from these lofty social standards.
The sad part of all of this is my kids don’t even have a Facebook page! So why in the world do “likes” and “smiley faces” even matter? This gets me to my point. Sharing on Facebook about Kyli’s birthday is really all about me, not her.
Here’s my theory about parents using Facebook. Facebook tells others that I am a good mother by confirming that my children are 1) alive 2) happy 3) getting straight A’s in school. Facebook is my validation, my litmus test for parenthood and proof to the world that I have everything under control, which honestly is TOTALLY the truth. I have everything under control.
No, I am not a bad mother because I shared Kyli’s birthday photos the day after her birthday. It just proves that I am just like every other parent trying to keep up in a social world dictated by teenagers who believe that if it ain’t on social it didn’t happen. Lord, help me!
So it goes…