Are you sick of the “Moms need coffee/wine/chocolate to survive” memes? Do you roll your eyes when yet another one crosses your feed? You probably see these jokes way too often. In this episode, we finally throw these memes into the trash (where they belong) and instead talk about empowering Moms.
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What’s in a Meme?
You know those memes you always see that describe Moms in funny ways?
-The Mom who drinks too much
-The Mom who’s been wearing ripped yoga pants since her kids were born?
-And of course, the three million caffeine memes? You can’t possibly go on social media for a day without seeing a caffeine meme.
What if these memes are actually hurting Moms?
In our last few episodes we talked about resentment, which is something you may feel often.
It makes sense you feel resentment because your life is hard and you do so much.
It’s such a common feeling for us Working Moms.
It’s sad but even though we’ve been in the workforce for decades, our society is still set up for us to be stay-at-home Moms, which makes being a working Mom incredibly difficult.
What are you supposed to do when your 3-year-old is suddenly home for a week or more because he or she has asymptomatic covid?
You still have to get things done at work and it’s almost impossible to work from home with a 3-year-old.
If you’re lucky, you have a partner who can help you.
But what else can you do?
You do what you always do.
You make it work.
You find a way.
You come up with a creative solution to both get your work done AND take care of a very active 3-year-old.
But what happens when you do this?
It takes a toll on you.
By 2 pm you’re ready to sleep. In a few hours you’ve used up all the patience g-d has given you that was supposed to last a month.
So how do you cope?
-Perhaps you drink extra coffee to try to get the energy you need to keep your toddler from interrupting your meeting to show off the very beautiful clay project he made, which is now over the whole family room carpet.
-Or perhaps you cope by having a drink once your kid goes to sleep
-Or maybe you cry in the pantry and eat a bag of chips.
It’s Not Funny
You have coping mechanisms that may not be healthy.
Maybe you yell at your kids or your husband because you need to let go of some of your stress.
Whereas if you’d had an easier day, you could have held it together, no matter how much play-doh your pre-schooler got on the carpet.
But one of the most powerful teachers is humor.
And here’s how we stay stuck.
When we’re feeling off, we may indulge in an alcoholic drink to calm our nerves. A day later you see someone posts a meme of a Mom doing this. And it’s a funny meme. So you laugh.
And then in your mind, it shows that this coping mechanism is totally normal.
So the next day you indulge in another drink and it really does help. And then before you know it, you can’t get through the evening without drinking.
Why? Because in the meme, it’s what Moms do. And you see these Memes all the time so it seems “normal” to you.
Drinking Every Night
I have a beautiful client who was a victim to this. We’ll call her Rachel and she’s given me permission to share her story.
Before I started working with her, Rachel would have a glass of wine every night.
This was going on for a long time.
Rachel didn’t tell me. She was embarrassed.
Through coaching, we worked together to make her life more happy, joyful, and balanced.
After a few months into working together she sent me an email and told me she stopped drinking, cold turkey.
I was confused. I had no idea she’d had this problem.
But she explained to me that through her work with me, she no longer needed a pick-me-up.
Forgoing her drinks changed her whole life, also for the better. She felt physically better. She felt proud she no longer needed the alcohol. And she felt great because the reason she didn’t need it was because she fixed her life and created a life that didn’t need alcohol.
So what’s the problem with Memes?
Memes are what society is using, often without realizing it, to keep us from fixing the problems and doing the real work, like Rachel did, to fix the source of the problem so she didn’t need to drink.
And if you’ve ever forwarded or laughed at a meme that did this, or even created one, don’t feel badly. That’s not the purpose of this post.
The purpose is to make you aware that normalizing things we do to cope with imbalance is keeping us stuck.
I don’t mean you shouldn’t have a sense of humor.
A sense of humor will get you through that play-doh mashed into the carpet. It’s one of the best tools known to create a wonderful joyous life.
But don’t use it to normalize and justify unhealthy habits.
Do you see the harm that could do?
It makes Moms think that it’s okay
-to drink every night, not because you want to, but because you NEED to
-to spend money you don’t have on expensive drinks because all moms “need it”
-to dress in clothes that make you feel badly about yourself because after all, it’s the uniform for Moms
-to yell at your kids
And I could go on and on.
Raise Your Awareness
Be aware the next time you see a funny Meme that it may not be good for Moms. And I’m sure I’ve forwarded these memes and I’ve done this, too. We don’t need to be perfect.
But I wanted to make you aware of the damage that these memes could cause. Because you probably never thought of it this way.
Try to understand the real message behind the meme. Will a Mom find it supportive? Or is there a hidden message to the meme that’ll encourage her to do things that will make her feel badly about herself in the long run?
Because our job is to pick up other women.
It’s not to normalize and therefore encourage things that Moms do out of desperation.
We need to feel empathy towards Moms and set an example of healthy ways to deal with stress and overwhelm.
Think about how the world would change if instead of making a joke out of the poor mom who has to work while her kid has covid, what if instead you made her a meal? Or sent a new toy to her kid to keep him busy so Mom could work?
Now that would be empowering, wouldn’t it?