Ever since that study came out about Facebook making people depressed, I’ve read many a blog and Facebook post professing the need to “get real” about our lives. In the most recent article, “We Need to Quit Telling Lies on Facebook” on Kveller.com, Sarah Emily Tuttle-Singer writes about her “real” Saturday with the kids, not the cleaned-up, Instagram-filtered one. And then the site encourages everyone to stop “fakebooking” and share their real (and shitty) family moments with them.
When I first read the post, I thought, good idea — no fakebooking. Encourage people to share real family moments instead of the edited versions. These are sort of the same waters I troll — where nice mommies live and have occasional and generally nonlethal mishaps. For a lot of us, the crappy stuff that happens in parenthood is sort of what binds us together.
And the crappy parenting stuff has really become a cottage industry. Sure, there’s still the group of hold-outs who have beautiful blogs and talk about how lovely their children are (I don’t actually know any of these people, but I’m sure they’re out there). But a growing number actually revel in the idea that they sort of suck at this parenting thing. And their lives are chaotic. And the kids drive them crazy.
But still, it’s in a cute way.
And that’s when I started thinking about the whole “no fakebooking” deal. The call for “real” family moments. “Shitty” family moments. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when it’s really hitting the fan in my house, I don’t have an extra second to tweet it, Facebook it, or snap a pic. Not to mention, at those moments, social media isn’t usually at the forefront of my mind.
My so-called “crappy” family moments are still “nice.” They’re when the kids are driving me nuts with their science fair projects (oh, poor me — I have kids who are healthy and go to a good school). Or they’re when my husband is driving me crazy because he’s spending to much time on our Chinese New Year party (boo hoo, we have the time and resources to have a party). Or they’re when I had to go hiking in the snow (wah wah, I live in a place where you can DRIVE to the frickin’ mountains).
My point is, we even edit our “real and crappy” moments. And we should. Because really, really crappy moments can’t be given justice in a Facebook post. They’re the stuff that needs to be talked over with a friend at a coffee shop or during an hour-long phone call or, at the very least, on instant messaging.
So don’t expect to hear about my truly real family moments on my Facebook page. Now on my blog, where I can explain myself at length and spill my guts for at least 800 words, yeah, maybe. Okay, definitely. I’ve already done it here. And here. And also here.
I think of it as the equivalent of someone asking me how I’m doing. At the supermarket, I say “Fine!” With a friend in the school parking lot, I may say, “I’m hangin’ in there — you know…” And at breakfast with my pals, I’ll probably say, “Well, here’s the situation, and it’s not pretty…”
So on Facebook, expect my bad mommy moments to stay slightly sanitized. After all, I don’t think the majority of people hanging out there are really up for sitting and eating pancakes with me five or six times a day.