There is yet another chain message going around the Facebook ranks, this time involving moms.
"All the unselfish moms out there who traded eyeliner for dark circles,salon haircuts for ponytails ,long showers for quick showers, late nights for early mornings, designer bags for diaper bags, and WOULD NOT change a thing. Lets see how many moms repost this. Moms who don't care about whatever they gave up, instead...LOVE what they get in return. Repost this if you're a mom and LOVE your KIDS." [sic]
While I understand, and even support, what I feel the author's intended message is, I don't think that paragraph even closely resembles the thought process behind it, and I'm forced to ask myself -- yet again -- why Facebook is so stupid.
Spelling, grammar and incorrect use of capital letters aside, this message indicates an odd trend in motherhood. A sort of mommy martyrdom competition. A race to the bottom. It implies, accidentally, I assume, that those mothers who have sacrificed every shred of their pre-child personality love their children more than those who haven't. It sets up a system where mothers can assess their "competition" using false and shallow indicators as measurements of love.
Instead of including all mothers in a supportive group hug as we struggle against losing ourselves, as we struggle to provide and love our children in our own ways, we waste time excluding mothers who do not fit our mould, who don't stand up to our own falsely set standards of what love means. In my opinion, love and sacrifice are not the same thing. One mother may have to sacrifice everything for the child she loves; another may sacrifice just a few things for the child she also loves. Sacrifices vary by time and personality; love is a constant.
By using the things we have given up to show the world how much we love our children, we are feeding into the exact ego that messages like the one above are declaiming. In one fell swoop that message says to me: 'mothers do not care about their egos, and since I care less about mine than you care about yours, I am a better mother than you.' And in believing that we are better than other mothers who do things differently, we are feeding the very same ego we just looked down upon.
I believe the intent behind the message is to shore up mothers who may be feeling down, but it fails by excluding most of its core audience. What about the moms who can still manage to put eyeliner on? What about the moms who have supportive spouses or family and can take a long shower or two? What about the moms who do go out on a Friday night once in a while, hiring a babysitter when the kids are asleep? Do they love their kids any less than the others? I doubt it.
The last line of the message sums up my view of it nicely. "Repost this if you are a mom, and you love your kids."
Simply put, it's redundant. If you are a mom, it's implied that you love your kids. I don't have to repost a badly written Facebook chain letter to prove that, and I can still get my hair cut, to boot.