Social media can make you feel bad.
You’ve probably read this somewhere; maybe you’ve even experienced it for yourself. Trolling Facebook late at night, spying the grand ol’ times everyone else is having. Fantastic vacations, precious puppies, reunions with familiar faces. In the words of Mindy Kaling, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”
And I’m not innocent in this trend to post my best angle, so to speak. I don’t do it to make others feel badly. I guess I’m just trying to recognize my family’s bright moments in the midst of all the chaos. But knowing that sometimes others’ parades can feel like a bit of rain on yours, allow me to debunk a few of my own recent Facebook posts.
1. Facebook post:
What a sunrise…
I was only up that early because our temperamental smoke alarm went off. With my husband away on a work trip, it was my job to get up, disable the piercing alarm, and make sure we weren’t all on fire. When I sank back into bed, still so tired, the toddler woke for the day.
2. Facebook post:
Cooking up a yummy soup!
Aiming for the crock, my earnest sous-chef instead poured roughly 80% of the diced veggies into the vent in the cooktop. I spent the next 20 minutes playing a maddening game of “Operation” with chopsticks to fish them out (and grumbling that cooking with kids is overrated).
3. Facebook post:
Beautiful day for a cruise…
What you don’t see in this “wayfinder at sea” moment is that at the time, my 4-year-old (not pictured) was wearing a leg cast due to a bike accident. You also don’t see that her wound — and a fever — had been keeping both of us up at night. Or that on the cruise half of our group felt queasy from the rocky waters, the 2-year-old gleefully flung her sisters’ animal crackers overboard, and I was reminded of my irrational fear of otherwise stable boats capsizing.
4. Facebook post:
Popsicles for two
The popsicles were a bribe. My 2-year-old, already fussy from a bee sting at the playground that afternoon, only wanted to stand at the kitchen sink and “wash dishes,” i.e., pour water all over herself and the floor. For hours. I finally coerced her to stop so I could clean up, and I needed an icy, sweet distraction, fast.
5. Facebook post:
Off to school! First days of 2nd grade, pre-k, and preschool.
My heart is swelling and breaking at once. I wouldn’t want to slow them down, to make them stand still, but it’s still tough to confront how fast they’re growing with another marker of time. So what’s a maudlin mama to do? Snap the photo, post it on Facebook with a cheery caption, and duck my head to hide my tears.
6. Facebook post:
Loving our new matching pajamas!
OK, they actually do love their matching pajamas. And snuggling while wearing them. And I love being with these awesome girls, surrounded by all those purple stripes. I pause only to snap a quick pic — a bright moment in the midst of the chaos.
There you have it. Sometimes the facts don’t need sugar coating, sometimes they do.
Just try to remember you’re not the only one sprinkling the sugar.