My Love Hate Relationship with Social Media Foodies
If there’s one thing I love, it’s social media. I can’t imagine life without the daily richness that
my newsfeed brings to me, and I have structured it in a way that I am able to receive positive,
uplifting nuggets of wisdom like goat videos, mini-movies where they make recipes in a snap
with an overhead camera and quizzes on what kind of potato I am.
Conversely, if there’s one thing I am completely over, it’s social media. I can definitely imagine
my life without the shocking nonsense that clutters my newsfeed despite my best efforts, and
the general hysteria that social media brings about in terms of fear-mongering.
I’ve known about the Dark Side of social media for all of its existence, however, none of this
became more apparent to me than when I became a mother.
In pregnancy, social media was all funny pregnancy memes and people cheering me on from
their computers while I contentedly ate tub after tub of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate peanut butter
ice cream. But, like any mother knows, the minute that kid is out, it’s game on on the
Information Superhighway. And oddly, there is a real obsession about what we feed our kids.
First, there were the old standbys, the breastfeeding militia, who are there to remind us to
breastfeed or die trying. I really thought once I graduated onto solids, no one would give a care
what the hell I fed my kid.
WRONG. SO WRONG.
Guys: there are others, lurking in the shadows of Instagram, waiting to scare us. In trying to
follow the best advice for our health and vitality, I began trying to follow some friendly mom
food people, and this is what happened:
I stopped trusting in Cheerios. Apparently, they are poison pellets (sorry, little bean, I didn’t
know and God speed). I couldn’t figure out if I have a gluten intolerance, if my kid has a dairy
allergy, or if the sugar in fruit is slowing killing us all. I realized that I needed to overhaul my
house’s water filtration systems so that we didn’t absorb the radioactive “water” from the City
of London. What began as an innocent quest for nutrition information led me to realizing that,
unbeknownst to me, I have been destroying my daughter’s chance at life by having toothpaste
with fluoride in it. Or- wait- is fluoride ok? Are vitamins ok? What the hell are nightshades? Are
we going to make it through this in one piece? How the hell are any of us past 30 even alive?
My mom smoked with the windows up in a station wagon for God’s sake.
I was exhausted. After two weeks of this, I was utterly exhausted and mostly anxious and
suddenly mistrustful of food.
So: I am calling time out. Time out on scaring moms about everything they do and feed their
kids. Time out on rigid and terrifying diets and time out on scaring the ever-loving daylights out
of parents who are just trying to do the right thing, or the easy thing, which is often the right
thing. I’m serious. It’s time to lighten up.
Look, I am not telling you to start eating pizza and cold noodles every night (unless you are my
toddler, in which case: you do you, boo). I am not telling you to fill sippy cups with coke or to
throw caution to the wind and throw the deuces to vegetables. I am asking you to
unplug/unfollow and undo the damage that can be found in the profiles of social media pseudo-professionals. I see you, parents. Now stop churning your homemade almond milk and go do something good for your soul.