There’s a seemingly innocuous “Motherhood Challenge” going around on Facebook that likely started innocently enough. The theme of the Facebook “Motherhood Challenge” challenged mothers to focus on the good side of mothering, and to post three, four, five or more photos that reminded the mothers posting the photos why they are happy to be mothers. As the mothers took on the “Motherhood Challenge” and posted their mothering photos, the rules stated that they were supposed to tag other great mothers on Facebook so they, too, could undertake the “Motherhood Challenge” themselves.
“Motherhood Challenge: I was nominated to post 3 pictures that make me happy to be a Mother. I’m tagging a few people that I think are great Mothers to post 3 pictures for the Motherhood Challenge! I will copy and paste this in the comments below for you. Here are my 3 pictures that make me happy to be a Mother!!”
A search of motherhood challenge on Facebook shows that some mothers happily took up the challenge to focus on the positive aspects of mothering, and posted bunches of photos of smiling children to their Facebook timelines. Other Facebook posts show people reacting to the viral article titled “Facebook’s motherhood challenge makes me want to punch my computer screen” by Flic Everett of the Guardian, which has swelled to 26,921 social media shares and a comment count of 835 as of this writing in the 8 hours since it was published to the site.
Apparently Flic has hit a nerve with those who fervently agree with the “Motherhood Challenge” on Facebook, or those who wholeheartedly disagree with the challenge to post photos reflecting the loveliness of motherhood. Sure, motherhood can be extremely lovely — but sometimes challenges like the “Motherhood Challenge” can smack of bragging, or like Flic writes — neglect the many women who are technically not mothers.
A woman may have never birthed a baby or even adopted a baby, but they’ve still served as mothers to many, and motherhood challenges on Facebook could inadvertently leave them out in the cold. But more than that, the “Motherhood Challenge” might reflect what’s wrong with social media posturing to begin with: Plenty of people posts photos of their “best selves” online, when in actuality, if a person were to write the exact thoughts they’ve had about being a mother or their worst motherhood experiences, the fear that child protective services would come calling or side-eye judgments on Facebook would arise.
So mothers hide behind smiling photos and the Facebook “Motherhood Challenge,” instead of spilling truths about thoughts of adultery, divorce or worse. Perhaps that’s what’s really behind the backlash of the “Motherhood Challenge” traveling around Facebook. The real Facebook friends who know the real person posting their Facebook “Motherhood Challenge,” and aren’t just Facebook fake friends — and perhaps know the real deal of the person’s life — would maybe call foul on all the facades of positivity being portrayed.
Some of the feedback on the Guardian article shows why the “Motherhood Challenge” has its detractors.
“Thought about starting a Happily Childfree Challenge…where I would post pictures of myself being happily childfree… Plus a pic of my bf’s 23 year old son who makes me even happier that I never had kids…”
“I had to tell a friend on Facebook to remove me from such a post at the weekend.”
“How dare she judge me as a mother good or bad. How dare she put me into some kind of challenge/contest to prove myself by posting smiling pictures of my 1yr old. Would I lose the challenge if I posted a picture of my screaming child covered in her morning porridge with me looking frantic in the background as I try to find my car keys to get ready…”
[Image via Shutterstock]