My mother often tells me how lucky I am to be a stay-at-home mom in the digital age, reminding me of the isolation she felt as a homemaker 30-some years ago. She points out that I have online resources and communities to fall back on that she never even dreamed of. She also recently very cleverly pinned down something else I have that she didn’t, something less enviable.“You know your friend who posts all those perfect cake photos and competes in marathons, all while staying home to raise three kids? Did you know that she has a nanny too?” my mother casually inserted into our conversation the other day. “You need to be less hard on yourself,” she continued, knowing that I’d been suffering from a bad bout of “mom guilt.” “You have to realize what you see online isn’t always 100 percent of what’s happening. Sometimes you’re just seeing what that mom wants you to see—the perfect version.”
And I need to remind myself that the same probably holds true for others because sometimes when I see that perfectly organized, perfectly curated life, I start to panic. I start to get dragged down by that awful heavy weight of mom guilt.
Everywhere I look online, there she is, the Ideal Mother. While I’m scrambling to serve my kids peanut butter sandwiches, she’s just cooked the perfect pot roast, plus an organic sugar-free three-tiered cake for dessert. While I’m storming around my house trying to figure out why my three-year-old never has matching socks, she’s posted a guide to organizing your laundry room with colour-coded bins and perfectly printed signage. Why is my life such a shambles in comparison? Where does she find the time?
I think we digital-age mothers need to be aware of this: The ideal mother we are holding ourselves up against likely doesn’t exist. There is no Pinterest Perfect Mom. She’s just a phantom, a figment of our occasionally guilt-ridden imaginations. So you can take a deep breath, breathe a sigh of relief and move right along to the next perfect pin.