I've read many articles about the annoying selfies women are tired of seeing on social media. The responses to such selfies are sarcastic, indicating that selfie-loving moms are either sanctimonious ("good for you for making homemade organic sushi for your kids' baseball picnic"), superficial ("oh yay, you made it to Cross Fit for the fourth morning in a row"), or insincere ("there is no way you and your kid look that gorgeous every single day"). But I think the truth is, many women use their selfies as a way to remember that they existed. That they mattered. That they did a few good things during their term as mom, employee, or wife.
I have shared selfies that some of the article's authors find ridiculous. And I've done so shamelessly. Because in the midst of my most chaotic days (which is pretty much every day), I want to recall that I did something other than always wear stained workout Target clearance clothing, breakup sibling arguments, and sweep crumb-laden floors.
Here are my shameless selfies:
1. The "I got some Starbucks" selfie:
This isn't to glorify the fact that I can occasionally afford a $7 cup of java. The "I got some Starbucks" selfie is a reminder to myself that I, on the rare occasion, get to treat myself to something just for me. No kids, you can't have a sip. This caramel-colored, cool-to-the-touch sensation with a green straw is mine. All mine. Unlike how I have to share my bathroom time, my shower time, and any other time when personal space is appreciated. I deserve a little liquid happiness in the middle of a proverbial warzone.
2. The "I put on grown up clothing" selfie:
Maybe once a month, if we're lucky, my husband and I get to go on a date. And you better bet we take a picture of ourselves. We smile, pose, and snap the photo, relishing in our few adult moments where we talk about work, vacations, and, of course, the kids. As soon as we post the photo, we text the sitter, making sure our little angels are behaving themselves and no one needs stitches or a cast. We later return home to hang our grown-up clothing back into the closet, change into t-shirts and shorts, and go back to parenting.
3. The "I made something inspired by Pinterest" selfie:
Ninety-nine percent of my days are opposite of Pinterest-worthy. My clothes (not handmade by moi) are smeared with mysterious miscianeous-colored stains, my hair is in a sloppy lopsided ponytail (not in accessorized side-Dutch braids), and my dinner creations usually include scrambled eggs, whatever vegetable is on hand, and any unspoiled fruit (not three-course meal reveled by a Top Chef contestant). When I do manage to create something beautiful, be it a skirt for my daughter, a dessert to follow our dinner of scrambled eggs) or an interesting display of wall art in my home, I share it. Why? Because I'm proud of it.
4. The "I love motherhood" selfie:
Motherhood is hard. Damn hard. All the time. Once in a while, a child finds himself or herself on my lap, the child's little hand cupping my face or rubbing my back. I'm reminded of why I do what I do, why I became a mom, and why I adore my sticky, funny, and erratic bundles of joy. Pictures of these quiet moments are necessary for my sanity. I need to know that moments like these were had and will be had again.
5. The "I am working but have time to post a selfie" selfie:
When I fill out school and medical forms, there isn't much glory in sharing "self-employed" and "writer." Writing involves long hours in front of a glowing screen, usually after my kids are tucked in and my husband is watching one of his "man shows." Writing involves a lot of rejection. A lot. And when an article or book does make it to publication, it is often met with a slew of comments from internet trolls, most claiming I am ridiculously pathetic and need to become fill-in-the-blank (democratic, conservative, less-sensitive, better-educated, etc.). I'm proud of my job, truly, and the selfie reminds me that there's something to be said for having the courage to follow your heart's inclinations.
6. The "I'm in my minivan... again" selfie:
This selfie is purely for camaraderie purposes. We moms roll through town in our monotone colored vans, speakers blaring the British voices of Thomas and his "friends" (shoot me if my child says "I'm cross" or "fizzling fireboxes" one more time), crumbs all over the floor. We minivan driving moms get each other. We hope for a silent moment, or a moment to listen to our own music of choice, or a moment just to think about something, anything, other than homework, gymnastics, and what to make for dinner (which will inevitably be scrambled eggs).
Ladies, don't be ashamed of wanting to be someone other than mom, employee, or wife all the time. Post a selfie that makes you smile, that makes you laugh, that makes you proud, even if it annoys someone else. Selfies are for self.
What are you waiting for? Share your selfie!