Social media can be such a blessing. A way in which to keep up with people in your life, to find and rebuild relationships with people who use to be, and to connect with people who are walking a similar path in life that you may have never found otherwise.
It can also be a curse. A measuring stick by which you deem whether or not you’re successful, or a good parent, or your life is “on track” in comparison to other people you know.
For better or for worse, social media has become an integral part of the way we share and receive information, and the way we make judgements about what we perceive to be a happy or successful life. But social media is often only an unfocused, blurry snapshot in the photo album of a person’s life.
Let’s take myself for example. If you were to take a look at my facebook page, you would see the smiling faces of my beautiful boys. You’d see glowing professions of love and admiration for my husband, my family, and the people I am lucky enough to call friends. You’d see vacation photos, blog posts, and one would most likely concluded that I live a very nice life. And one would be right. But what is seen is only a very small fraction of the life I am living.
Of course it is only natural that we share our joys, our triumphs, and the moments in which we know people will want to share in our happiness and enthusiasm. We all do this and there is nothing wrong with it. The issue comes about when make judgements about who we are as parents or as men and women based on how others have portrayed their lives on social media.
Because the truth is, we all have things and circumstances in our lives that quite frankly, suck. We all have moments that we’d rather not share, and would honestly probably like to forget about ourselves. When I post a photo of one of the boys smiling, what you didn’t see was that five minutes before or after (or sometimes both) that child was in full on melt down mode because I wouldn’t give them a sucker at 9:30 in the morning. When I post about how much I miss my son but I am so grateful to have had him and you think “I could never be that strong,” what you’re not seeing is the days I sit in the same chair for hours, only getting up to attend to the boys absolute necessities because that’s all I have to give that day. Sometimes I’ll post a profile picture and I look polished or dare I say, put together and nice. What you don’t see is that that may have been one of only 3 days I got a chance to take a shower that week, whether it be because the kids are busy all day long and there’s just no time, or I’m just in a such a funk that I can’t even muster the energy to be bothered because I’m in one of those “what’s the point of anything” places. And while I will occasionally share posts about the heartache associated with raising children with extreme special needs, even that is only a snippet of how I’m actually feeling.
So it’s “super honesty time.” Here are a random collections of thoughts that I haven’t shared. Whether it’s because I’m ashamed, or don’t want to be pitied, or because it simply doesn’t fit into the mold in which I like my life to appear.
- I love my children and am grateful for the time I get to spend with them everyday. That being said, I never dreamed of being a stay at mom. And there are days I would give anything to have a job. Any job. Just something that was mine and got me away. Sometimes I just want to be away. Sometimes I don’t want to have to be someone’s mom every waking second of my life. Raising young children is difficult. It’s physically and emotionally draining, and in the chaos of it all, I at times feel like I have no individual identity outside of them.
- I often feel like I’m failing. There are days I don’t bother to get myself or the kids dressed, there are days that I don’t cook, or clean, or do anything productive at all. And then I end up feeling even more like a failure. But sometimes the “groundhog’s day-esque” life of a stay at home parent is just depressing, and it’s hard to be motivated when you feel that way. There are times where I don’t leave the house for days. There are days where I have zero adult interaction. Staying home certainly has its benefits, but it is definitely not all day relaxation and jolly fun time.
- While the kids always appear to be smiling or doing something funny, it’s absolutely not always the case. I don’t post about the 7-15 poopy diapers I change a day, or the 36 melt downs my two year old has DAILY over…who knows what, or the things I yell in frustration when they just won’t be quiet, or stop whining, or won’t eat their dinner….you get the idea. Yes, they are cute. Yes I love them. But some days I do not like them and you can bet that those days aren’t shared in a cute photo on my profile.
- I talk about Landon quite often and always try to share my memories in a positive way. If I’m being totally honest: I am still sad as hell. I don’t cry everyday anymore, but I could. If I let myself think too long or too hard about the reality of his death, I could just lay down and be done. It still hurts all the time. And I am angry, and bitter, and about 46 other things because he is gone. I get up, I put on my face and take care of what I need to, but many days I would rather not. Sometimes the only thing that gets me through a day is knowing that bedtime will come and I can sleep and not think or feel, or be needed for 6-8 hours.
And that’s just scratching the surface of “truths” that I live and don’t share. We all want to be seen and perceived a certain way, whether or not we can admit that to ourselves. And that’s okay. Because wanting to put our best face forward is natural. We all want the best versions of ourselves to be what people see.
Next time you’re scrolling through that newsfeed in the dirty t-shirt and yoga pants you wore yesterday, in your living room that you are convinced is basically a biohazard, wondering why everyone else seems to be doing better than you are right now, just remember that every person has filtered the life you’re seeing. They are living with circumstances and truths you’ll probably never know about.
So wear those dirty yoga pants in your biohazard of a living room with pride. Because I promise you, we’re all doing the same thing on one day or another.