A friend recently shared this piece called “We Need to Quit Telling Lies on Facebook.” I like the post, I really do, although I don’t come to quite the same conclusion – that sharing only the good, cute, happy, fabulous parts of your life on Facebook is “fakebooking.”
I mean, social media is so weird and complicated and UGH sometimes just thinking about it for two minutes makes you want to delete your Facebook account, but mostly we just keep using it, so I guess we should think about HOW we use it.
I have thought plenty about what to share here, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram. Whether emphasizing the highlights means I’m being fake, or bragging. Whether including the low points means I’m being real, or just bitching. Every time you share you are editing; it’s unavoidable. So what do you include, what do you leave out? We all know that life is a mix of highs and lows, and parenting most certainly has both kinds of moments, in spades.
The author of “We Need to Quit Telling Lies” writes,
My life on Facebook is an airbrushed and instagrammed image of my real life. I edit the suckage because I want people to think I have my shit together. I give everything a hipstacular filter to make the drudgery look interesting. Most of the time, I think I’m a decent mom, and I think I’m giving my kids a pretty good life. But I also think I’d be a better mom if I stopped pretending, and making friends on Facebook feel like they have to pretend as well.
Well, that’s one way of looking at it, and I get what she’s saying, totally. Competitive Happiness makes everyone feel worse. I stopped following a certain famous blogger *coughKelleHamptoncough* on IG, and mostly ignore her blog now too, because all the PRETTY was really getting to me. Not just the fairies-in-the-woods tea parties but the endlessly effusive joy over how completely magical each and every day of parenting was for her, wheee!
But on the other hand. When we use social media we aren’t just sharing moments, we are composing something larger – writing the stories of our lives. And yes, I want my story to be true, but true is sometimes greater than the sum of its parts. Life, especially with children, is this strange thing that’s made of so many frustrating, annoying, maddening, disgusting, messy little pieces that somehow add up to happiness. So if we want to show the happiness – maybe we’re just trying to paint the bigger picture?
And maybe we are also talking to ourselves. Sometimes I really really can’t help myself from venting on Facebook or Twitter (I kind of prefer bitching on Twitter – it feels more like shouting into a void, or maybe screaming into a pillow). But if I do it too often I find that I talk myself into a worse mood and a darker vision of what’s going on with me. My husband also gets bummed out at work when he sees some whinging tweet from me and then I have to explain – it wasn’t a bad day. Just a bad ten minutes!
Sharing the happy moments of your life is kind of like keeping a public gratitude journal. No, life isn’t perfect, but focusing on the good stuff makes you feel a little better about it all. It’s not TOO hard, I think, to strike a balance between honesty and just looking on the bright side. A sweet photo of the boys hugging – does it matter that the hug devolved into a headlock? Nah. It feels good to view the glass as half full when you can, and there’s nothing wrong with that in my book.