So, there's this thing moms and grandmas are really tempted to do. I've been tempted, and my Facebook feed isn't short of people who are currently doing it. Before Lyra (my oldest) was born, I made a conscious decision NOT to do this thing, and as of yet I haven't. What am I talking about and what does it have to do with chemical imbalance? It's make your profile a picture of your kids without you in it. And it may have nothing to do with chemical imbalance, but I do wonder (and worry, if I'm honest) that it may have something to do with self confidence, and the trouble of losing your identity once you become a mother.
But first! I have a couple of disclaimers.
1: This is NOT meant to be judgey, and I am not targeting any one person. I am genuinely looking to open up a dialogue.
2: I'm sure men do this too, but I'll be using the term "mom/mother/mama" from here on, because in the years I've been observing this phenomena, it is almost EXCLUSIVELY mothers who do it.
Without further ado....
5 Reasons My Kids are not My Profile Picture
5. I love a good selfie.
This is my silliest reason, but it's my truth as a Millennial. I LOVE a good selfie. I'd say 75% of my profile pics are selfies, most of them being with one or both of the girls, but never JUST of the girls. Although have you seen Lux and Lyra? They're SO CUTE OMG.
4. I want people to be able to recognize my social media accounts.
I teach at a community college, and after my students are no longer my students, I love connecting with them on social media. I adore watching their adventures unfold. But I also am not going to be a friggin creeper teacher, following my students the moment we're out for summer break. I always tell them to friend me if they want, because I'd love that. But I'm not going to put pressure on them if they want to keep the teacher/student relationship completely professional, even when classes are done. How are they going to know they've found the right Lauren Baker unless they see me? There are like, 5 million of us.
3. Half the time, the pictures I manage to get of the girls are goofy AF.
I mean, have you ever tried to take a picture of a toddler? It takes way more effort to get a good one than pinterest perfect moms would like you to believe. For every 1 good picture a mom has of her kid, there are 15-20 duds taking up precious memory on her phone.
2. My opinions are mine, not theirs.
I think the concern over how our social media posting will affect our kids in the future is a legit one, although I am not AS concerned as some. But I have some very strong opinions, and I am VERY outspoken. That's just who I am, and have always been, as a person. So when I say things on my feeds that are my own, personal beliefs, I want the image next to those posts to remind readers that they are mine. I would hate for anyone to consciously or unconsciously associate my opinions with my daughter's face.
1. Lux and Lyra are not my identity.
Identity is a very complicated thing. It is shaped by our experiences, our beliefs, the chemical makeup of our brains... They are unique to each of us, and they are something that are tested TO THE MAX by motherhood. Mammas, you know what I'm talking about, don't you?
Motherhood is, of course, an extremely important part- if not THE MOST important part of my responsibilities and roles on this earth. And when Lyra was first born, I was completely engrossed in that role. It was my only role. And I'm so glad that I was able to be fully immersed in that role for as long as I was, but eventually it starts to get heavy. I don't think it's too much of a coincidence that symptoms of depression are similar to the first few months of motherhood.
- Loss of interest in your hobbies.
- Erratic sleeping and eating habits.
- Difficulty leaving the house.
- Decrease in hygienic practices.
- Decreased sense of self identity and love.
Don't get me wrong- I LOVE the newborn phase. So far, it has been my very, very favorite. But it is hard to resist being completely consumed by this new title. It is the most demanding thing any mother (who is worth her salt) will do.
But Mamma... that is not WHO you are. It is a PART of who you are.
There are loads of psychologists and counselors who can say this better than me, but I'm going to give it my best shot-
When our identity relies on an outside source- our kids, our spouse, our job- and not the culmination of all of the things that make us a whole person, we are not nurturing ourselves and our own identity as a special, unique human being. And when we aren't nurturing ourselves, we can't truly nurture others.
Now, I'm not saying everyone who has made their profile pic one of their precious newborn , all squishy and perfection, should change it or feel bad about it. I'm just encouraging you to consider why you chose to do it.
If you are totally on the self-love train while your profile rocks a picture of your babe on his first day of school, AWESOME.
But if you find yourself feeling a little lost in the all consuming identity as "So and So's Mom," maybe take a second to check in with yourself. How we represent ourselves is important. I hope everyone is doing so in a way that makes their heart sing. <3
Till next time, Namaste!