Mother’s Day is no longer a Hallmark holiday.
We’ve abandoned the familiar greeting card in favor of a Facebook post. It’s free (well, Internet connection required), it’s creative (awww, cute photo montage of ourselves as young, mud-smeared kiddos angelically posed in our mom’s laps), it’s heartfelt (look, everyone, see how much I love my mommy!).
And therein lies the problem. It’s a case of wearing our hearts on our sleeve multiplied by at least 200 million. Which makes it not heartfelt at all.
It’s not just a Mother’s Day thing. There’s anniversary posts between spouses, birthday greetings to children not old enough for their own Facebook accounts, etc. You know. You’ve seen them, too. And admit it, you’ve rolled your eyes a few times. Some of this stuff is pure braggadocio at its worst, self-indulgent tripe at its best.
Why are we so compelled to tell our family, friends, spouse, whatever how much we love them on the Internet’s bulletin board? I have a few observations, none of which will win me any popularity contests:
- We show off (part 1). I’m a great person. I have a charmed life and my relatives/spouse/children/neighbors make it so. I need to let everyone know how wonderful my husband is. Never mind the fact that I screamed at him 22 minutes ago for leaving his tools all over the bathroom floor. Again.
- We show off (part 2). I’m a great person, because I took the time to compose this message about Mom. Because if I don’t post an elegant, heartfelt tribute about my wonderful mom–you know, like those other caring people–I obviously don’t give a damn about her feelings.
- We enter the contest. My mom is actually a lot better and a lot nicer than your mom, and here’s my post to prove it. And aren’t you impressed that I was able to retrieve these photos from 1978 so easily? I’m so organized. And don’t you just love my word choices and cute little nickname for her?!
Wait, maybe that’s in the showing off category. Sometimes the subcategories blur a little, because they all fit into the larger category of “Making Myself Look Good” which sometimes seems like Facebook’s sole purpose. But the worst reason to post that sentimental greeting to a loved one:
- We follow the trend. We read one anniversary greetings post and think, “Wow that was really sweet, I should probs post something about the old man, too.” And there it is. Heartfelt. Sweet. Public. We’ve joined the crowd. We’re ‘part of the conversation.’ God forbid the old man doesn’t acknowledge the post or comment himself on how much he loves you, because that would make you look bad.
Go ahead and chalk these observations up to sour grapes from someone who has less than 100 Facebook friends or whose life is not as sparkling as your own. Truth be told, my mom’s not on Facebook anyway, so the point was mute today. I just gave her a hug.