Lately, I have read article after article after article about parenting. Why French parents are the best, why African parents are the best, why basically every parent except American parents are the best. There's new research proving that certain parenting methods are harmful to a baby's developing brain, certain parenting methods create anxiety in children, certain parenting methods create a lack of boundaries, certain parenting methods are too involved, certain parenting methods are not involved enough. On, and on, and on. The last thing I need is to read one more article telling me what I'm doing wrong, what everyone else is doing right, how I'm ruining everything. The last thing I want to do is be the author of one of these articles.
I'm not an expert, I'm just a mom. I'm very much aware that some of the things I do with my children will not work with everyone else, I'm very much aware that I am not completely perfect. The things I write in this blog are not a step-by-step guide of how to raise your children. My #1 fear is that some who read my blog will feel like that is exactly what this is. I write what I do. I write about my successes, my failures, my victories, and my struggles. I do not feel the need to constantly say, "this may not work for you," or to constantly point out that I am not perfect. When I'm reading articles like that I feel like maybe the person doesn't even believe what they are saying themselves. I feel like you, as the reader, are definitely smart enough to know what works for you and what doesn't, I feel like you know that I am not perfect because none of us are. What good would it do for me to constantly point out my flaws? I don't want to read about someone's failures over and over and over without reading of their success. And when someone does write about their success I am not going to immediately feel like they are pushing down my throat the idea that they are better than I am. I know that is not what they are saying. I really hope that I'm not the only one who feels that way.
I recently read an article...yes, I read a lot of articles, and I mean an insane amount of articles, because that is something that I love to do. Anyway, I recently read an article that said facebook causes feelings of depression because we see everyone else's life and feel like ours just isn't good enough. It made it sound like people are putting forth a false image that their life is perfect. It reminded me of a few blog posts recently about people feeling bad about themselves when they read blogs. Now, I'm not saying that I have never looked at my friends' pictures of their trips abroad, their lavish weddings, their beautiful homes and thought "Oh how I wish." In fact, I'm not even saying that there haven't been times that I didn't give in to those feelings of worthlessness based on someone else. I'm not saying that I've never looked at a blog post and thought, they are doing it right and I am not. But I refuse to believe we have really gotten to the point where we believe people are trying to fake everyone into believing they are perfect. And I refuse to believe that the purpose of these posts are to make us feel badly about ourselves. I just believe that we are so much smarter than that. I think this idea of how we view others just speaks to our own perceptions of the information provided.
Honestly, in my non-expert, just a mom opinion what would really create a feeling of depression is looking at someone's facebook page or blog posts and to have it only talk about everything negative that has ever happened. So are we really creating this lose-lose situation in our life where we're upset if someone posts something negative and we're upset because someone posts something positive? Again, this is why I think this speaks to our own perception. Are we caught up in this endless cycle of comparisons?
All-in-all, I would argue that we should have the attitude that people are not setting out to create in us any feelings at all by what they post. By sharing something with us, they are just sharing how they felt in that situation. "My vacation was awesome, I want to share how awesome it was because it was so exciting for me." In the small minority of people who may post their vacation pictures to make you jealous then shame on them, but in the end shame on us for letting them have that impact. If someone posts something negative see that as an invitation to encourage, cry with, and love on them. The majority does not share something negative for the sole purpose of dragging everyone else down with them, and if they are why should we let it effect us in such a way?
Am I speaking to anyone other than myself? Maybe I don't take personally everything I read just because I read so much. It would be absolutely impossible for me to take everything I read into account in my life. I read articles about every parenting style from every country from every type of person. There are a lot of things I agree with, a lot of things I don't, a lot of things that are interesting, and a lot of things that are down right wrong. In the end the only thing I have to answer to 100% is the Word of God, everything else provides me the freedom to pick and choose what I want to believe, what I want to think more about, and what I want to completely discard. Most of all I'm just excited that these people have a passion for what they are doing, that they are sharing their views with the world. I think it's amazing that we have the ability to have the world and it's opinions at our fingertips. Yes, this can be a very overwhelming thing, that's why we should take it for what it is, a bunch of people just trying to share their life with the world and make a difference just like everyone else.