You’ve heard it. You’ve seen it. Hey, maybe you’ve said it yourself.
“Oh, there goes so-and-so posting cute stuff on social media again.” “Yeah, we know what your REAL life is like, honey.” ” GOOD relationships don’t show on social media.” “All those lovey pics on Instagram – they’re so headed for divorce.” “Oh look at Miss Pinterest-Perfect Mom showing off again. Join us in the real mommy world already.” Etc. (These are actual comments I’ve seen posted on various articles and memes around the internet.)
You get the idea.
Here’s the thing – I’m one of those “happy”sharers. If you follow me on Facebook, you will see numerous coffee memes, sweet quotes from my children, and (sorry-not-sorry) an awful lot of written love between me and my husband. I deliberately choose not to share my marital arguments, my children’s meltdowns, my extended family issues, or my financial concerns on social media. Quite frankly, those things are none of your business. (And while we’re on the subject, yours are none of mine, either. I’ll take someone “bragging” about a tropical vacation over digitally fighting with their spouse.) I share those parts of my life with the small, close circle of people I consider friends and family, so those people are part of the entirety of my life, not just a 5-second snapshot glimpse that you see.
I choose, for the most part, not to engage in arguments and debates over religion, politics, presidential candidates, etc. My views are my views, yours are yours. Neither one of us plans on changing our minds any time soon, so why hash it out over social media? Waste of my very-limited energy, to be honest. 😉 I can count on one hand the number of people I actually enjoy discussing “issues” with, and though some of those people have beliefs that are directly opposed to mine, there is a mutual respect in place that makes conversation interesting. #novelidea
Who decides what’s “fake” on social media? Who decides that it’s more “real” to clog up a newsfeed with vulgarity, hatred, complaints, or totally irrational, emotion-based politics? How is that more “real” than a mother sharing a good moment in a long day of parenting, a student sharing a success at school, a spouse sharing a digital love note, someone sharing a fun vacation?
Do I honestly have to remind everyone, each time I share a sweet photo of my child, that all around that tender moment were the same frustrations, messes, tears, hair-pulling and self-doubt that every other mother experiences? Do I have to make a memo each time my husband and I argue, each time I brush his hand away, or we say something unkind that we regret? Would that make our love more “real?”
What does it say about our society that we would so much rather bond over the negative than the positive?
Can we all just acknowledge that it’s a given – that those less-than-perfect moments are part of life and love, and that not sharing them with 300 Facebook “friends,” does not mean I’m fake. It means I value our marriage and my motherhood. It means that you, lovely person from my past, or lovely person that I’m getting to know in my present, are not privy to my family’s inner struggles, but that you’re welcome to share in our joys. It means that my children, as they grow and learn and develop their minds and bodies, are not going to be put on display for the internet to mock their tears, watch them use the toilet, laugh over their mistakes, or call them little “a-holes” when they lose their tempers. But you are welcome to rejoice with me when their efforts pay off, or they show kindness, courage, love.
It means that as much as I DO share on here and Facebook, it will only ever be a tiny glimpse of the whole picture of my life.
You will not see photos of me curled up on the floor, alone with sick and sleepless babies yet another night, while my husband works long, stressful hours at his job. You will not see our arguments – or the days when we are just too tired even to talk to each other. You will see me in photos when I’m dressed, with my makeup done, because I’m just never going to be the girl who shares photos right when I wake up in the morning. (#scary)
If you are a friend, not a Facebook “friend,” or an Instagram “follower,” but a friend who is close to my heart and my life, you will see almost everything. But the rest of you, darling people though you are, will have to be content with the good.
And if that makes me fake in the eyes of strangers… so be it.