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"Dear Mom scrolling through social media" by Laura Range (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: By Antonio Trogu (2016), Flickr.com, CC BY NC-ND 2.0[/caption] Dear Mom Scrolling Through Social Media, I see you there, after the bedtime craziness, taking a few minutes (or an hour? Oh, these addictive phones ... ) to scroll through Pinterest, see what's new on Facebook, and check your Instagram. It's been a long day and you deserve this time to yourself. Grab a handful of chips and even a bowl of ice cream. I won't judge ... I eat a lot of ice cream. But do you ever have those times when the social media and ice cream just aren't cutting it? Instead of feeling relaxed and connected and content afterwards, you feel restless, unsettled, even a little empty or sad? Yeah. Me too. It's a hard time to be a mom these days. We live with information overload. Never before was there so much information to be had at our fingertips on raising children. We click on article after article about every topic imaginable -- sleep training, the dangers of processed foods, the best way to educate your kids, how to pay for college. Everyone is an expert and everyone has an opinion. Just when I start to celebrate a victory with my picky eaters, someone posts an article about how I'm frying their brains by letting them watch TV, and I'm deflated once again at my inability to be the perfect mom. Then there's the comparison factor. We all do it. Even the most confident of women have their days of uncertainty and struggle when they look at the women around them. Social media has given us exponentially more opportunities to do this. Instead of just comparing ourselves (consciously or subconsciously) with those in our local mom's group, church, and school, we now come in "contact" with hundreds of women a day, seeing only a small curated part of their lives in a cropped photo, a carefully-crafted status, or a clever comment. Sometimes it feels impossible to be the mom we want to be, doesn't it? Yet when I put down my phone and lift up my hands in prayer, taking time to truly connect with the Lord, it feels a little more possible. As I share with him my insecurities, my weaknesses, how I just don't feel "enough" to raise these little people in my care, He points me to His Mother. And while meditating on the only woman who really was the perfect mother should make me feel even more intimidated, somehow it doesn't. Instead it gives me hope -- Mary was the perfect mother not because she decorated a Pinterest-perfect home, fed Jesus organic and non-GMO meals, and had a liturgically-correct craft ready for every Jewish holiday ... Mary was the perfect mom because she lived each day in loving communion with God and with trusting surrender to whatever came her way, no matter how imperfect or messy it seemed. She loved her Child with all her heart and raised Him to follow God's will no matter the cost. There's freedom in that, my friend. We don't have to do it all. The pressures of comparison and expectation, especially through social media, can squeeze the life right out of our motherhood. God gently beckons us to look to Him for our worth and dignity, to live each day connected to Him more than to our phones, and that we raise our kids to love Him deeply and follow Him faithfully (He has way more than 10K followers, you know!). Media isn't a bad thing. It's a gift for us to use, but we must not allow ourselves to be used by it. As Saint John Paul the Great said, there's both "a risk and a richness" in technology. It's important for us to discern when it's ceasing to be rich and starting to be a risk to our interior life and to our vocation. Just like those chips and ice cream I love, a little goes a long way and is best enjoyed in moderation. I first need to fill myself up with prayer and real-life community before I treat myself to a bit of scrolling and online community. When the jealousy, insecurity, or pressure start setting in, it's time to disconnect from the phone and connect with the Lord. He has called you to this vocation and He is equipping you for it more than any parenting website or mommy blogger ever could. He is guiding you and shaping you and He has given you these specific children because He wanted you to be their mom and lead them home to Heaven. With you on the journey, Laura

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Copyright 2019 Laura Range