How Motherhood Changed Me: Part 2
Part 2: Motherhood has changed me in a million ways, but two of the most important are helping me to finally see my body in a positive light and changing my perspective on bullying, acceptance, and being different. This post is about how motherhood changed my perspective on everything. You can read part 1 here.
I’d like to think I was worried about issues like bullying and social media use and how we are perpetuating bias and prejudice without even realizing it before I had kids, but that would be, at best, stretching the truth. Before I had a tiny human following me around and listening to everything I said, I put little thought into how the things I said or did—especially online—impacted anyone but me.
But when that tiny human yells, “Why you not going, asshole?” at a car in traffic and you know they learned that from you, you start to wonder what else they are learning from you. You start to wonder how you can teach them to be a kind, resilient, and contributing member of society. You start to wonder how you can protect them from all the hatred and darkness that is so prevalent online and out in the world.
The world now is vastly different from the one I grew up in. When I was a child, there was no Facebook, no Instagram, and no Snapchat. If people bullied me at school, I didn’t have to go home, only to be bullied online. If I did or said something stupid, it wasn’t documented and saved on the internet for the whole world to see. I honestly can’t imagine growing up in the age of social media, in a time when the innocence of youth is being stolen by the oversharing of information online. Children now are being exposed to sex and violence younger and younger. They are having to deal with their peers being gunned down in mass shootings and with the constant pressure to be perfect coming from social media.
It honestly comes as no surprise to me that children and adolescents are struggling with more and more mental health issues, that suicide rates are on the rise, and that they are resorting to violence. These issues, along with the knowledge that in a few shorts years my boys will be exposed to all of this and more, has made me realize how much we are contributing to the issues our children are experiencing. I take notice when I see bullying online, especially when it comes from adults; I pay more attention to the things people around me and my children are saying; I listen closely to things the children in my life are saying and what biases they might be learning from me.
A lot of people have said we just need to get rid of social media, but as nice as it would be to go back to the more simpler time before social media, that isn’t going to happen. We are living in the digital age, and because of that we have to change our behaviors, not only online but also in the home. I wrote a whole blog about this called It Starts with Love.
Motherhood has made me sit up and take notice of all the things and in turn has made me want to work on becoming a more compassionate, understanding, and accepting person. It has made me pay closer attention to the things I am saying and how they could be harmful to my children and other children I am in contact with. It has made me notice how much hate is being spread on social media and the horrible example grown men and women are setting for the next generation by bullying strangers on the internet.
Motherhood is helping me learn to appreciate diversity, to find the beauty in others, and to truly embrace the differences around me. Hence the tagline Embrace the Different is at the top of my website because I truly believe if we can learn to embrace our differences and celebrate the things that make us different instead of letting them divide us, we can make a better world for our children and grandchildren.