A few days ago, as I detailed in exhaustion the day that my rambunctious 14 month old and I had, Chris stopped me and asked me why I put so much pressure on creating “fun” to the point where, sometimes, it’s not so fun. And when I said, “I have to! I have to be a good mom and create magic for my baby!” he stopped me and said, “Are you sure you aren’t doing it just so you can post about it and show everyone ELSE what a good mom you are? Are you manufacturing memories to prove something?” (or something along those lines). I was dumbstruck. I defended myself immediately – OF COURSE I don’t create adventures when I don’t want to just for a POST on Instagram or Facebook. But then my stomach turned and I tried to decide if what I had said was true. I honestly WANT to expose my child to everything. I love seeing his face light up at the beach, the playground, while we make cookies together. But then why do I feel the need to document it all? And why do I exhaust myself trying to cram so much in? I let it settle for awhile as it had triggered some very strange emotions in me. And then it all hit me.
I’m not manufacturing memories for Logan or posting so others think I’m a good mom. I realize my child is often as happy sitting and banging on pots and pans with a spoon as he is at the beach or swinging or road tripping to hike or see foliage. Maybe I’m creating the memories for myself sometimes. Maybe I know and can already see that he is growing so quickly that before long, he is going to be far too busy or cool to sit with his mom by the ocean and enjoy her company (I mean, I hope not, but I’m not delusional). I create the adventures because I don’t ever want to miss an opportunity to be the one seeing my son experience something new for the first time. I don’t want him to just have memories of going to the beach with his babysitter or doing crafts with his aunts or cooking with his grandmother. I mean, those are all wonderful memories to have. But I want him to think of ME as a person who created magic in his world, not just the woman who did his laundry and made him take naps.
And the documenting of it all? I’m alone making most of these memories. I am not making them on play dates with friends. I’m not making them with Chris most days as our schedules rarely line up to do so. I am not making them with Logan’s grandparents because one set is a 2 hour flight away and the other is a 2 hour drive. The day to day memories that are shared between me and my baby are never witnessed by anyone else. And part of the beauty in sharing memories is that other people can think back on them fondly with you. Logan will never remember what we did at this age – but I will. And if I don’t take pictures and document for the world to see, then the memories end with me. Sharing my little boy’s life and moments of magic bring me joy. And to be honest, if you look on social media I think a lot of other moms feel the same way.
I think there are a lot of great moms out there spending most of their time alone, trying to “manufacture” memories for their kids and posting for the very same reasons as I am. They don’t want the memories to be lost or forgotten. So while we all have our issues with social media (I certainly have mine), I like to think that sharing positivity and our children’s growth and happiness is a really beautiful thing, especially when most of our close friends and family are much too far away. Times are changing. We don’t have everyone we have ever known at an arm’s reach. So to be able to connect and share can be a real gift (as long as we don’t let it take the place of finding joy in real life as well).
I’m glad Chris made me think more about the reasons I do what I do and act the way I act. He wasn’t trying to upset me – he was sincerely asking if I was killing myself to prove to the world that I’m a good mom, concerned that I am too hard on myself and constantly feel the need to do more, more, more. And he was right to think that, because sometimes, when he gets home from work, I tend to focus more on the stressful things that happened when I relay info to him then the really fun, positive things.
I will never, ever regret exhausting myself to create perfect moments for my child. I just won’t. When I look back at these snapshots of smiles and laughter and the awe in his eyes, I will always remember why I did it.