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Growth Spurts: The Trouble with Facebook – or – My Lack of Confidence in Parenting Publicly

I’m the first one to admit how much I love Facebook. But I’ll also admit that I’m glad it wasn’t even around (except for college students) when my kids were babies and toddlers. While there is truth to the idea that I would’ve been tempted to be Facebooking more than I should have at that time (if nothing else, for some adult interaction!), that’s not even my biggest reason here. It’s more that I don’t think I could have handled the pressure.

I don’t think the pressure is always intentional, but it’s there just the same. We read posts of all the astounding things other people’s babies do, the milestones they’ve reached, the teeth they’ve cut, the very cute outfits they’ve worn, the homemade baby food they’ve eaten, how long they’ve been breastfed…

As a mother who struggled just to get her children’s hair brushed and who was quite thankful for disposable diapers and ready-made baby food, I don’t know that I would have had the parenting confidence I needed in order to peruse other moms’ posts. (I spent enough time second-guessing my parenting techniques as it was.) I probably would have been hesitant to share a story or a struggle, for fear that I would open myself up to collecting unsolicited advice. I so appreciate my friend Ashley, who outright prefaces her mommy posts on Facebook with whether or not she is seeking advice from others.

On the other hand, Facebook can actually be a great place for moms to share and discuss various topics. And it’s a perfect place to post pictures of your little darlings and smile at all the likes and comments you get in return. Much common ground, understanding, and validation can be found here, as long as you are able to mentally weed out the potential judgment or unwanted advice that sometimes creeps in.

So maybe the issue isn’t Facebook and everyone on it; maybe it’s my own lack of confidence. Even now, when my babies are ages 8, 10, and 12, I find myself battling in the comparison game. Thankfully, I’m continuing to learn and grow in this area and to at least find confidence in the fact that there is not just one right way to parent. I’m also confident in the fact that I’ll mess up in parenting plenty of times, so I just need to let go of the expectations I have or imagine others have for me.

Like I said, I love Facebook. And honestly, I love sharing posts and pictures of my kids and take great pleasure in reading the individual names of those who like what I post. It makes me smile and gives me a boost! In turn, I try to take the time to like and comment on other moms’ posts and try to encourage them while they’re in the trenches of those early days of parenting. One thing I’ve learned is that criticism and judgment do not make me a better mother.

 

Carrie Bevell Partridge is possibly making up for lost Facebook time when her babies were babies by posting lots of pictures of them now.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at carriebevellpartridge.com and Facebook.com/carriebevellpartridge.

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