My wife is a stay-at-home mom and very good at it. She juggles the needs of our toddler with those of 6-month-old like a pro and still has time to do shit around the house. It’s incredible. Recently, though, she’s ramped up her Instagram presence and is really into all the mom blog communities. I understand the necessity of those communities because they allow her to share in the suggestions and venting of those who are going through the same thing. But I feel like she’s trying to live up to the persona they preach. In the past month, she’s posted maybe 50 of photos and videos of the kids eating, doing silly things or of the food she’s prepared. She also posts photos of herself. The latter posts are often of her taking a selfie with a messy bun and the hashtags #momlife, #messyhairandIcarealittle, and that kind of stuff. She’s also posted a bunch of photos of herself drinking a glass of wine and smiling with hashtags #momwinelove and #mommyjuice.
I hate this shit. I always have. Before she and I used to make fun of those women, the ones who all post phrases on social media that seem like they’ve been pulled from Target pillows and who feel the need to tell the world everything. It’s not her. In fact, it was the opposite of her. But now I feel like she’s been brainwashed a bit and is falling in line. I don’t want this to be a thing, and I’ve brought this up with her, but she just sort of shrugs me off every time. I know she’s tired and working hard and in search of a community and I understand the desire, but I hate the associations with this basic-mom-wine-drinking social media bullshit. Honestly, that’s the opposite of the person I married. — Colby, via email
Gotta hand it to you, Colby — this is kind of a tough one! Which is why I solicited an expert opinion from one of the nation’s foremost authorities on obnoxious social media use and how it affects relationships: my husband, aka Cool Dad. I’m a very online person. And I figured that, as someone who has spent years putting up with his wife tweeting jokes about Bernie Sanders’ boogers during the Democratic primary debates, CD would be able to offer some valuable perspective on your quandary. And he did, kind of. The very first thing he said was, “That’s a tough one, Colby.”
The second thing he said was slightly more helpful. CD suggests you should ask yourself the following question: “How much does your wife’s social media activity affect everyday life?” Because look: for the most part, and with very few exceptions, who we are on social media is so different from who we are on the day to day as to be almost unrecognizable. The most photogenic person you know on Instagram lives in a spider-infested basement studio apartment and pops Klonopins like Nerd ropes. The smartest, hottest, most successful dude you went to college with posts bummer status updates commemorating national disaster anniversaries and links to Salon.com articles on Facebook (hell, he still uses Facebook in the first place). People like to say that social media allows people to showcase the best versions of themselves, but there’s a giant, yawning chasm between people’s best versions of themselves, and what people think are the best versions of themselves. And you and your wife are currently looking over that divide.
As a stay-at-home mom to two small kids, your wife has a tough, demanding, often quite lonely job. Fortunately, she happens to be very good at it; also fortunately, she’s found a community of like-minded people who share her experiences and can commiserate with her struggles and cheerlead her wins. One of the very, very few good things about social media is that it has made it infinitely easier for people like your wife to find those communities, and I think on some level, you appreciate the fact that she has. No matter how turned off you may be by her new Target pillow slogan lifestyle, I get the sense that you have enough sensitivity and emotional intelligence to understand that your wife finding a community of like-minded women is a good thing, both for her and for your marriage.
That said, it makes sense why you’d be more than a little irritated by her new fondness for Pinterest broccoli recipes and #itswineoclocksomewhere hashtags. I totally get that it’s overly precious and annoying, and most importantly, that’s not the person you married. Which is why I think CD’s question is a fair one. You need to ask yourself: how much has the person you married actually changed? Or is this a matter of her just trying to fit in with her new crew? Is she Elizabeth from The Americans, seemingly assimilating into a new culture while stubbornly retaining her old ways and traditions? Or, perhaps more troublingly, is she Philip from The Americans, and has she thrown herself into this brave new world whole hog? (Either way, watch The Americans, it’s good.)
If you think your wife’s personality has irrevocably changed as a result of her new social media habits, then that’s definitely worthy of a lengthier discussion. But if this is just a question of you rolling your eyes every time you see a photo of her in yoga pants, then it doesn’t strike me as a huge deal. Whether it should be or not, being annoying on social media is not officially a crime, and if it’s not bleeding over into your everyday life and relationship, then you can tolerate a few dumb #mommyjuice posts every now and then (and if not, well, the mute button exists for a reason).
Have a question for our Cool Mom? Send us an email to: CoolMom@fatherly.com.