Changing the Tune
As my life has changed because of social media over the last six years, I’ve noticed how the general face on Facebook and Instagram has also changed and evolved. The expansion of people using the platform has grown from my typical peer group and generation to my parents and even down to the younger set, especially on Instagram. The comments on my photos come from all over, from grandmothers to aunts and pre-teens and high schoolers. Primarily my focus is on my own generation, which is what my own Facebook feed is primarily filled with.
We are thirty something X-Geners. Lots of us have young children, most of us have careers, almost all of us are sharing our lives, our views and our children on our social channels and it seems that Facebook is largely where we congregate. I am fascinated by the algorithm and how it connects us sometimes completely randomly to people that we don’t know, or those that we haven’t spoken to in years. It feels like high school reunion, often it’s lovely and comforting, and sometimes it’s really awkward and uncomfortable, offensive at worst. Lots of us are past the days of bar hopping and weekend excursions to the bars as an extracurricular activity, but the topic and language around alcohol consumption has also changed drastically. We seem to have gone from a silent, understood repertoire of drinking casually to relying on our nightly glass of wine just to get through the exhausting and demanding evenings full of homework, bath time and bedtime rituals for those of us with young children.
After I had Jack, I started to realize that alcohol became a hot topic within my mom groups. We’d have playdates with wine involved and mom’s nights out that often meant cocktail hour before dinners at lively restaurants. Wining became a past time, an understood joke amongst us mothers that turned drinking into an everyday meme. I had plastic tumblers in my cupboard labeled “mommy’s juice” and a painted wine glass that signified my nightly evening release from the pressures of parenting. It was funny until I realized that wine actually makes me feel terrible and tired and unable to perform any sort of tasks let alone parenting through a hectic bedtime routine. Something changed within me, and sometimes I actually wish that I could have a glass of wine to relax me without it making me incapacitated like it so clearly does for all of my mom friends. The memes about consuming alcohol on Facebook that I find as I nurse Evvie to sleep are sometimes really funny and often accurate, but what I think concerns me is the way that it might affect Jack or Zoe if they happen to come across something that says “mommy drinks wine because of you” or something of that nature. I certainly don’t judge anyone for having an evening drink (again, it would probably help me a great deal in some ways if I did more often), but I would like to see some other ideas floating through the internet, and ultimately into my social feeds that promotes something other than alcohol. I, for example, will bake an entire tray of brownies or pour a bowl of sugary cereal (that I keep in a secret cabinet) that I turn to while I’m up late working. I’m not proud of it, but I think it’s a different spin on the whole “mommy needs her wine” theme and I am cognizant of how that might affect how my older kids feel about watching me drink.
In conjunction with my partnership with the Foundation for Alcohol Responsibility, I’m promoting their May #RefreshYourFunny month-long effort meant to trigger us to evaluate what we’re sharing on social, realizing it’s not an adult-only space. Like my fellow ambassadors Fadra, Christine and Casey (to name a few who have awesome examples listed in their posts this month), I’d love to see if you’d consider joining me: let’s not share memes about alcohol for one month. Let’s refresh our funny for one month instead of letting alcohol be the punch line.
I’m all for sharing amusing things on social media, especially if it’s meant to incite a few laughs, to commiserate or to exude compassion. I also don’t judge anyone for having a glass of wine (this is not meant to express that feeling whatsoever), I just think there’s another message out there that’s just as worth sharing that’s not centered around alcohol.