I’m going to share an honest truth with you. Sometimes, I’m bothered by Facebook photos. I can admit this because I’m going to share a confession of my own. Photos only tell the story we want to share. Your Facebook timeline is probably filled with photos of your friends’ kids – smiling, sharing some sweet, parental moment. If you’re a parent yourself, you’ve probably felt that inferiority complex that comes from seeing all the wonderful moments everyone else is sharing with their kids. Or maybe it’s guilt because you’re scanning Facebook as you share a Tostino pizza with your toddler at lunch and you see photos of other moms who are whipping up homemade, healthy concoctions that look like circus animals for their kids. You know what I’m talking about.
And it’s not that you don’t share equally as meaningful moments with your children. You do. But now you feel like you have to capture every one of them to verify to the rest of the online world that you are a good parent. Because for some reason, having your kid love you for the one you are is no longer enough.
So, now you’re trying to capture all the good times in order to prove to yourself and the world that your kids are awesome and they are that way because you rock as a parent. You’re burning up Pinterest and Instagram and racking up the comments on how awesome you and your life are.
Don’t get me wrong. I think we should all strive to be the best parents we can be… but we should do that for our kids, not for each other. And in the end, I’m not opposed to seeing photos of meaningful moments… I’d just like to see us be more honest about what usually bookends that photo we captured and posted for everyone to see. Sure, posting a photo of my toddler still in his PJs at 1pm while he’s playing Wii, or of me frazzled and impatient with him in the grocery store isn’t as glamorous, but wouldn’t it be more honest? I can tell you there are more moments like those than there are of us making Pinterest crafts or having picnics in sheet forts in the living room.
Yesterday, I posted this photo on Facebook.
It looks fun, right? If someone else posted this photo, I’d look at it and imagine the sweet time it must have been between parent and child while they were playing in the snow and spending time together. Here’s the truth: I promised Drew we’d go out and play in the snow because I had been sick with pneumonia for two weeks and I thought it would be good for him to do something besides play Wii and watch videos for a change. So, we bundled up and went out to build a snowman together. It turned out, Drew didn’t actually want to build a snowman. He wanted to rummage through the toys and junk in the garage and throw golf balls and other crap out into the snow. Have you ever tried to find golf balls in the snow? So, I spent my time building the snowman… because dammit, we were out there to build a snowman… all the while, fussing at him to stop dragging crap out of the garage. His mittens kept falling off and he’d burst out crying because his hands were going to get cold. I tried to get him to help with the snowman, but all he wanted to do was whack the snowman with a golf club. I guess it’s like a block tower for a boy- you build it to knock it down. Honestly, I couldn’t get that snowman built fast enough… because I was not having as much fun as I anticipated. But, as soon as I was finished, I grabbed the camera to capture the moment I wanted it to be- a moment that reflected good times. The truth is, it was anything but.
I guess my point is that although a picture can paint a thousand words, those words can be a bunch of malarkey. Don’t believe everything you see on Facebook. And, let’s take the pressure off of everyone else who feels they don’t live up to our conveyed experiences. Instead of only capturing and sharing those special moments, let’s share the plain ‘ole mediocre truth. Life is challenging. Most days we don’t have time for Pinterest activities, making homemade playdoh, or funny face pancakes. You can bet your ass we’ll post that photo when we do… but most days, we’re pretty boring. And that is normal. Embrace and share your normal.