This is a picture of my kiddos on Mother’s Day. Looks lovely, doesn’t it? It captures the wonder and innocence of children. Without a second thought, I uploaded it to Instagram with a mushy caption.
Then, I thought:
“Whew, if they only knew the dumpster fire this morning has been, they would know what a hot mess mom I am.”
I’m thrilled to pieces that nobody is touching me for the first time this morning and ready to burn this sucker to the ground rather than clean one more thing. Who am I trying to impress?
Of course, I love my children and they’re the reason I live and breathe, but if you’ve been a mom for more than 5.8 seconds you know what I’m talking about.
Social media is NOT reality.
Not even close. Most of us don’t tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth online; we just don’t. Nobody wants to be labeled an “over-sharer” or a mess. We take the very best of ourselves, slap a filter on it to make it look like our eyes are actually open and upload. We put pressure on ourselves to make our insides match other’s outsides and drown our own self-worth in the process.
For example: when I was 3 days post c-section, I wasn’t in full hair and makeup, perfectly tanned standing in my kitchen with my newborn talking about how blessed I was. I was comatose with breast milk stains on the shirt I had been wearing for 2 days and about as awake and tanned as a corpse. Seeing my friend seemingly at her best when I was barely awake, made me feel so inferior. I judged her exterior by how I viewed myself, which was pretty dumb when I look back on it.
I wanted to see whether or not this phenomenon is all in my head and took to facebook to ask a question:
What’s one thing you don’t show on social media you wish you could?
Here are a few of the responses:
“How impatient and selfish I am while living in this joyful, exhausting stage of life. I try to put on my happy, ‘We got this, it’s not big deal!’ face. But after 6 months of virtually no sleep, the mask is slipping and I am left facing a horrible human being that is the real me.”
“Many of my opinions on politics and social issues.”
“How often I feel like a complete failure: church leadership, motherhood, friendships…”
“I avoid nursery duty at all costs.”
“I hate being with my kids most days.”
“How lonely it can feel with a husband who travels and almost no ‘me time.'”
“I want to know if everyone else’s marriages are this crappy.”
“I am currently sitting in my bra because [child] threw up on my shirt.”
“The amazing bond and journey between [baby] and I – breastfeeding.”
I was not prepared for many of the responses I got that day, but I’m thankful for those brave souls who posted and messaged me their answers because I know I feel some of those same things.
After my second child was born, I had PPD/PPA. I remember posting a picture my squishy little baby and #blessed. What I really wanted to say was “Someone, please save me!” or “I’m dying over here!”
These girls’ brave responses normalized the normal and pulled the social media curtain back enough so I could really see that we are all affected by how we view others and how we feel others must view us.
Social Media is literally driving us crazy:
One of the biggest insurers in the country published a study which indicated that there has been a 33% increase in diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder since 2013 especially among millennials (you can view the whole report here) We can see a correlation between the normalcy of social media use and increased rates of depression.
We are more connected now than we’ve ever been in the course of human history (thanks to technology). We’re also more isolated in real life. Isolation and loneliness are fed by scrolling through our feed. We see another Fertile Myrtle pregnant again or Social Susie with her gaggle of gals taking a selfie. We don’t see that Fertile Myrtle is terrified at another pregnancy or Social Susie is praying for this social event to be over so she can take off her bra. If we evaluate our lives by what we see on social media, we are destined to feel inferior. Less-than. Not enough this or that. We see the finished product and discount all the jagged, smooth, bumpy, and straight pieces that make it.
Lean in, mamas, let me tell you something.
You are enough. You are wanted, needed, and irreplaceable. Nobody else can take your place in the world; you are the perfect person for the part. Regardless of whether your contour game is on point or it’s just a smudge of chocolate on your cheek, you matter.
You matter to your real-life people, who see the good, bad, and ugly, yet still arise and call you #blessed.
What do you wish you could show on social media?
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