Oh, social media. You’re a tricky one.
I Can’t Quit You
One moment I absolutely adore you, and the next you are the bane of my existence. You are undoubtedly a time-waster, and there are many times that I’ve considered ridding myself of you altogether.
But then there are the updates on friends that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, the pictures of precious babies and puppies, the ridiculous memes that know my life all too well, and the laughable banter between a friend and some random person that I just can’t resist.
And there’s something else, something that really seems to grind everyone’s gears: perfection.
A picture from a perfect vacation. A status update about a perfect date night. A snapshot of a perfect homemade dinner by that friend with 6 kids under 10. A reminder that she has a perfect house. A perfect body. A perfect family. A perfect life.
Dirty Little Secret
But I’m going to let you in on a mind-blowing, revolutionary, little-known secret, so lean in close. Listen very, very carefully. Her life is not perfect. Things are not exactly as they appear to be. She has posted only the absolute best of the best on her social media accounts, and you know what? Good for her.
Why would I say, “Good for her,” you might ask? She’s clearly incapable of being genuine or honest. She should be deemed a conceited liar. Someone you continue to follow simply because you love to judge her annoyingly perfect posts, right?
Well I say, “Good for her” because I am a mature, well-adjusted, rational adult. I’m an adult who is aware of reality versus perception, and I am an adult who can handle seeing someone else’s “perfect” without falling prey to the lie that she’s got it all together while I’m over here looking a
hot cold—and I mean Antarctic cold—mess.
If her posts have any bearing on the feelings of fulfillment I have surrounding my life, then there is clearly something very wrong—and it’s not her.
The “Real” Problem
This quest for online perfection actually doesn’t trouble me much. More disturbing, in my mind, is the competition to be the woman who is “real.” Because we’re so concerned about being that friend who gives a false impression of perfection, many moms in my generation have turned their profiles into a place of unfiltered transparency. Fine and dandy. Except there’s so much more at stake than our own image.
What about our families?
What about our innocent babes who have no say in the matter? What about our husbands who wish their coworkers didn’t know about that argument?
This is a fast-paced world. When we construct that sanctimoniously candid post and send it out into the virtual world, we essentially are preserving instantaneous, permanent memories for our children (and ourselves).
I fear that we fail to recognize what a heavy, heavy burden that is.
We don’t think twice before posting about that tantrum or making a sarcastic comment about something our husband did, but I wholeheartedly believe that we should. And then, we should strongly consider stopping ourselves before pressing “enter.”
Maybe we don’t need to be the mommy martyrs that we think we do, going against the grain to ensure that other women know they’re not alone.
I think it’s time that we all put our big girl panties on. It’s time that we take control of our own feelings and emotions in reaction to what we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. And let’s allow other strong, capable, beautiful mamas we know to do the same.
Remembering the Good
So if you want to continue to use your social media accounts to stand out as the “real” mom in the midst of the posed, filtered masses, by all means, you do you. But don’t expect me to join in.
Instead, you’ll find me over here posting about how perfect my life is, because those are the moments that I want to remember. Those are the memories that I want my children to have.
My hope is that instead of being annoyed by my happiness or judging my “perfect life” (WARNING: it’s not actually perfect, remember?), you would see my post gushing over the joys of motherhood or marriage or pregnancy or the daily grind and recognize the many joys in your own life.
They’re there, I promise. Some days you may have to dig deeper than others to find them, but they’re still there.
And I genuinely can’t wait to see your post about them.