With social media comes all kinds of blanket statements about how we should live our lives. Facebook posts tell us we must try pumpkin spice lattes and hot yoga or both at the same time before spin class. Instagram photos beg us to dress our kids in flowered headbands and moccasins while Twitter yells at us to be right winged or left winged or protest on the White House steps.
The world of over-sharing has opened our eyes to all kinds of lifestyles choices but it has also caused people to use the “everyone must” or “anyone can” statements as often as I reheat my coffee. I’m fine with this when we’re discussing lattes and moccasins but not when we’re evoking mom guilt and superiority. Making assumptions that your choices will work for everyone else and announcing them to the world can be guilt-producing and dangerous.
Anyone cannot dress their kids for winter weather. Winter clothes are expensive and donations don’t fall into everyone’s hands.
Everyone cannot have a home birth. Their bodies may have trouble with pregnancy, their babies may have trouble with delivery.
Anyone cannot breastfeed. They may have trouble with milk supply or a baby who won’t latch or the urge to feed their baby formula and the right to do so without grief.
Everyone cannot just get a babysitter. We don’t all live close to family or have the extra money to hire a sitter and pay for gas.
Anyone cannot lose weight. There are health factors and hours unavailable for exercise and all kinds of issues we might not know about.
Everyone cannot have a happy, healthy baby. Believe it or not they don’t all pop out that way.
Anyone cannot love every day. Our brains are wired differently and our lives don’t always have a bright spot blinking in our faces, telling us smiling is easy.
Everyone cannot eat all organic. I have yet to find a Whole Foods on every corner or an ATM that hands out money to pay the cashier.
Anyone cannot homeschool. We don’t all want to or need to or have the ability to stay at home to do it.
Everyone cannot get pregnant. If they could there would be no such thing as IUI and IVF and insurance companies who turn down repeat attempts.
Anyone cannot just get up and run. There might not be anyone to watch the kids or enough life left in their knees.
Everyone cannot get a college degree. They might have special needs or no cash or no car or a strong desire to do something else.
Anyone cannot get back to their pre-pregnancy size. It might take boob-folding and muffin top tucking-inning to do so without plastic surgery.
Everyone cannot put themselves in everyone else’s shoes. Until they can, there’s plenty of room for encouragement and support for breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, infertiles, 10 kid-wranglers, single mothers, homeschoolers, weight watchers, job seekers and early morning runners in social media. Unfortunately we’re just about out of space for blanket statements sewn together with guilt and superiority.
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