Dear momma friend, it’s time to have a talk. It’s long overdue and someone needs to tell you.
You know, we talk to our sons and daughters about how what they see on the magazine covers, online, or in the movies isn’t real. We tell them how those images are photoshopped, enhanced, and edited. They are not a true representation of reality. But often, I wonder if we forget these truths ourselves.
We live in an incredibly connected society. It’s the digital age--between cell phones, email, and social media, we are connected all the time. I’m checking up on you at 1am while I feed the baby. In just a few clicks I can update the world on what is going on in my little corner of the world and see what’s going on in yours. In some ways however, our connections have cost us reality. We’ve lost authentic relationships.
How have we lost sight of authenticity and reality? These modes of connection allow us to inflate ourselves and our lives. We can hide behind the screens (make-up free, in our pjs) and edit the details we prefer people didn’t know about. I could be having the worst day of my life . . . but as far as anyone of Facebook or Twitter knows, my house is clean, the kids are angelic, and I am perfectly happy (with make-up perfectly applied, cleaning the house in my red high heels).
Here is the truth: We don’t want each other to see reality. So we enhance and edit our lives on social media to reflect how we want to be seen. Who wants to be seen as the stressed out momma who is barely holding things together?
The problem? These connections are not real. They are photoshopped (who uploads their worst photo?), edited, and the details are enhanced. What you see or read on social media is a poor representation of reality.
The perfect example of this happened yesterday. I had a very productive day. I would have loved to post a status similar to this:
The boys were in such good moods and I’ve had such a productive day! Got the dishes done, made homemade laundry detergent, homemade dishwasher detergent, did the laundry, planned blog posts for the next month, and made a couple loaves of bread! The boys were waiting at the gate while I cut the loaves. Gidget just loves eating the first slice!
Did you feel that twinge? Many of us read similar statuses everyday (multiple times a day) and we step away in awe and wonder of how that momma keeps it all together. “She is so amazing” we think to ourselves “I don’t know how she does it all!”
Here’s the thing. I didn’t lie about anything in that example status, it is all truth. But it is inflated truth. It is an edited reality.
Reality was this:
The boys were in good moods, but they bickered all day long. Gidget was constantly stealing toys from Gator and Gator was constantly screaming at Gidget. (But this was still classified as a good day in our house!)
I did get dishes done. The first load anyway. There was a second load sitting in the sink. It is still sitting in the sink.
I did make some homemade laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent because I enjoy doing that. Count it as “mommy time”. I made both in a messy kitchen.
I did do laundry. It’s all washed. But, one load is still sitting in the washing machine because I haven’t gotten a chance to get back down to the laundry room. Oh, and it’s all still sitting in baskets. I’m nowhere near done with laundry.
I did plan out my blog posts, but I put in a movie for Gidget so I could. Yep, I’m that mom.
I did make bread, but only because I enjoy doing that. I love the joy it brings my hubby and Gidget when they eat a slice. But again, I did it in the midst of chaos. Oh, and we’ve been out of bread for days because I haven’t had time to make any.
And finally, I managed to do all this because I sacrificed something else for each of these tasks. I stayed in my yoga pants all day. I put on mascara, but left out the rest of my make-up routine. Gidget was still in his pjs at 5pm. I got so busy I forgot to put on deodorant (how’s that for perfection?). I ate my dinner to the carol of a screaming infant. And toymegeddon struck my living room right along with the nuclear explosion of a small library.
See? This was reality. But that status didn’t reflect it. Yet, you held yourself up against that edited standard and came up short.
Friends, social media is just like the magazines and the movies. It’s all edited, photoshopped and enhanced. It’s not authentic, it doesn’t reflect reality. You cannot measure yourself against it because the standard doesn’t exist.
Behind that status was a mom who needed a shower and didn’t get one that morning. A house that was a disaster. A child still in pjs at 5pm. In other words, a mom just like you.
Before you compare yourself and walk away from a status discouraged, remember you are only getting part of the story on social media. It doesn’t reflect reality. The momma you are idolizing is not real. And as you walk away from the screen, don’t forget to give that momma a phone call or take her out for coffee. Behind that status, is a momma just as desperate as you to know she is normal and isn't failing her children. She is just as desperate as you because while you are comparing yourself to her statuses, she is comparing herself to yours. So step away from the screen dear momma friend and invest in an authentic relationship. One in which we can all admit that the mess up there is sometimes the reality.
And now if you'll excuse me, I have about 5 baskets of laundry to fold . . .
This post was linked up with Wholehearted Home, A Little R & R, Joy Dare, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, The Deliberate Mom, Serving Joyfully, Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy!, What Joy is Mine, A Mamas Story