Bearing with one another

There is a lot of talk these days about social media, technology and the effect that it will have on our children. They are the first generation to grow up under a microscope and with the world at their fingertips, it’s a legimite dialogue. How do we keep our children engaged in real life? How do we teach them to utilize technology to their favor and not to their disadvantage?

How do we show them that the world is real and yet still give them all the tools of expansion that technology provides?

It’s a constant battle and our children will have to learn to navigate life in a way that most of us who grew up without the internet, blogging and smart phones never even had to consider. But I think there’s something that we’ve missed and there is a dialogue that has been brought up less frequently that needs to be considered.

We are the first generation of mothers who are letting our lives play out online. 


This is an entirely new world for us, just as it is for our children and we are navigating motherhood under a microscope in ways that no generation before has ever done. Yes, it is mostly by our choice, but even those who abstain from documenting the day to day are affected by this world of online motherhood.

We’re all learning how to walk this journey together, but I wonder what kind of example we’re setting for the young mothers coming up behind us, not to mention for our own daughters who are watching and learning. This thought alone has given me a lot of pause in recent months. It’s why I’ve blogged less and held my cards a little closer to my chest.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to blend this technology with motherhood in a way that is healthy not only for me, but for those who are watching and learning. I didn’t have an example of how to do this – I am the example.

As mothers, and women, our natural instinct seems to always gravitate toward judgement – judgement of ourselves and of those who do things differently. This tendency is not new to our generation, of course. This ability to judge others, both negatively and positively, is part of the make-up of womanhood. Blame it on estrogen, I guess, but we are prone to gossip and judgement and that is a fact that cannot be denied.

Before us, these tendencies were confined to the playground or water coolers or the sideliens of the soccer games – whereever mothers congregated in packs, there was always the opportunity to share a tidbit, to vent a frustration, to share insecurities. Mothers lived out their offenses on a much smaller scale.

But now, these grievances are aired in such a public way that it leaves me concerned. I worry about what the young ones behind us are seeing and I wonder how my contribution to the noise might be affecting their perception of others and of the world around them.

The problem is, we are all different and different things will rub us all the wrong way. It must be very confusing for first time moms to figure out what should upset them and what shouldn’t. This viral post tells them to get their eyes off the iPhone, while that one tells them it’s okay. This Facebook post tells them to be upset when someone urges them to enjoy every moment with their kids because it goes by fast, but that Facebook post tells them it’s true! It does go by fast! You should enjoy the little moments.

This post says be upset if someone asks you if you are going to try for a boy/girl, if you are going to breastfeed, if you are going to homeschool or public school or private school and on and on the list could go. Every post written has a different one that contradicts it. The older generation must now walk on pins and needles lest they upset us young moms with our fast fingers, constantly ready to tell the world how offended we are.

It’s noisy, isn’t it? And I’ve contributed to the noise in my own way. But more and more I’m learning to just accept people for who they are. I’ve found that 99.9% of the time, people don’t mean to be offensive so I’m working on giving the benefit of the doubt and moving on knowing that my way won’t be the same as her way and that is okay! 

Can I, perhaps, offer a bit of encouragement to us all? Let us not be so easily offended. Let us not feel the need to publicly correct every stranger who says something that rubs us the wrong way. Let us try harder to give one another the benefit of the doubt.

What if we spent less time getting offended by others and more time simply loving one another? How would that look online? If a woman at the grocery store comments on our number of children, or asks if we “know what causes that” *wink, wink* what if we just smiled, thanked her for her interest in our family and moved on…without sharing it online? What if we bore with one another patiently, knowing that sometimes people say things that bother us not to be offensive, but simply because we are all different and are affected by different things?

I don’t know how good I am at this business of bearing with one another, but I’m learning. Even writing this post, I wonder if I’m helping the problem or perpetuating it. But my heart is to encourage myself, and all of us, to think before we type.

Because we’re being watched and we are the first to walk on this particular path of motherhood. Let’s show the generations to come how to do it well.