Even the the Crappy Moments on Facebook are Fake — And that’s “Fine”

– Posted in: Blogging, Complaining, Depression, First World Problems, Parenting, Worst Mom Rants

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.

Like this -- sure he's a mess. But look how cute he is.

Like this — sure he’s a mess. But just look how cute he is.

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.

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26 Comments… add one

Kristen Daukas March 5, 2013, 3:56 am

You make a good point – the really personal, insane moments aren’t meant for our Facebook world. Our facebook world can’t handle the nitty gritty of the real world. Instead – it’s for the very few that we let inside our private circle. Good reflection piece, friend!

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:24 pm

Thanks missy! I’m also frankly not sure what I’d do without a blog to explain myself when I post sort of ultra-insane moments. Some things require more space.

Molly March 5, 2013, 5:58 am

Heck to the yeah. Even during my hiatus, I notice articles talking about Facebook causing depression. I have to say most of those articles contend with people who do not use the social media network to actually interact socially with people. They just lurk and compare and then obviously despair. Nice post, Tammy. I enjoyed it immensely.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:31 pm

Thanks Mol! Have you noticed that it ends up getting hard to interact with the “everything is sunshine” FB people, though? I get sort of tired. Of course, they’re probably really, really sick of me…

Susanne Nelson March 5, 2013, 6:18 am

Plus it’s not really the venue to air dirty laundry. I think it’s ok to be real and post about the crappy stuff sometimes, especially if you want to talk or need some support. Virtual hugs and feedback from others can be helpful. But I agree that most of the crappy stuff is meant for real life, not social media.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:35 pm

I think the virtual hug thing is valuable. I know it’s gotten me through some rough patches. There’s such a bizarre, fine line on FB. It’s like meeting someone at a cocktail party and hearing that he just got divorced versus suddenly talking to him about the details of his wife’s affair.

Andrea March 5, 2013, 6:20 am

You’ve given me a good idea for a blog post – describe your day in whole, leaving out nothing. Of course the real REAL parts – the ugly goings-on in my head, from how I really feel about a neighbor to helping out my friend – again – exposing THAT stuff would be truly enlightening.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:35 pm

Make sure you let me know when you write that.

Ginger March 5, 2013, 6:38 am

I have a lovely friend who was so upset by things she read on Facebook. It made her feel like a failure as a mother and person. So she took a hiatus. She told me that other than me,(cause my posts are never sugar coated) she got sick and tired of reading about people’s perfect kids, perfect husbands, and perfect life. This is why I don’t do pinterest…unless I am looking for specific inspiration. I mean where else are you going to read post after post about an asshole dog other than from me?

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:37 pm

YOU write awesome FB posts. But I’m sort of biased because we’re like twinsies.

Pinterest can make a person’s head explode. It’s like the Pottery Barn catalogue on speed.

Claire March 5, 2013, 9:42 am

Sounds like the study that women’s and teen’s magazines made women and teen girls feel bad about themselves, particularly their body images.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:38 pm

It’s all relative, right? Like don’t you feel like an ungrateful asshole after seeing stories about people living in refugee camps? And you just complained about science night? Just as an example…

Kelly DeBie March 5, 2013, 11:47 am

I try to be fairly honest, within reason of course….which is why I post pictures of my kid on top of the fridge. LOL

I have written about all this too, and have learned over the years that you have to take everything people put on fb with a grain of salt.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:40 pm

You’re of course one of my favorite people and writers on the planet. So whatever you post is infallible.:)

Laurie, Manic Motherhood March 5, 2013, 2:09 pm

I so agree with you. When I am screaming at my teenager for the hundredth time to go do his homework, I don’t stop and think, “oh, that’s a Facebook post!” Instead of that I’m wondering two things a) if my voice carries ALL the way down the block and b) if that boy will ever do his freaking homework. Nope, that stuff waits for my RL friends, the ones I can and o call at 4 AM to sit with me and sympathize and reassure me that no, not everyone can hear me when I yell.

Also? My son is on FB and he’s a teen. And frankly, he doesn’t need his cranky mom announcing his business to the world.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:41 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered if the neighbors could hear me.

You should think about a post on teenagers and facebook and what you post. I’d be interested in that.

Sisters From Another Mister March 5, 2013, 8:03 pm

i wrote a ‘real’ post today and was told i was a horrible Mother … you cannot win.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:43 pm

Well, you are the world’s worst mom. I think that’s been establish previously.;)

And now seriously — I can’t believe ANYONE would call you a horrible mother. You’re like Mother frickin’ Teresa.

Janet Dubac March 6, 2013, 7:41 am

True that! Real and crappy moments call for real friends (of course it’s best with real talk, real hugs, and real pat on the back). But if somehow you feel “better” about letting everyone know about your crappy experience, then okay.. But in my opinion, there’s really no need to let everyone in your friends list know about it.

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:44 pm

There’s something to be said for hearing a real voice and looking someone in the eyes. And yeah, that’s why special friends are special.

Rachel March 6, 2013, 1:48 pm

Yeah. I don’t think Facebook is ready for the real me. Great post!

Tammy March 6, 2013, 2:46 pm

Haha! Rachel, there are, I’m guessing, a good number of people who will never be ready for the real you. But some of us super cool people adore you.

Andrea March 6, 2013, 4:42 pm

As long as you don’t just put a sad face as your status update on facebook, leaving us to wonder what has made you so upset that you used a colon AND a parenthesis, but with no energy for actual words…

Tammy March 6, 2013, 9:10 pm

Haha! I think I’ve done that to you guys at least once.

vanita March 14, 2013, 2:41 am

ya know, the only time i’ve ever used facebook to share drama that was happening at the moment it was happening was when my oldest teen was in the hospital and i asked friends to pray for her. other than that, i guess the family moments i do share are cutesy, cause really, that’s the only time i’m in the mood to share. when the crap hits the fan, girl just like you, social media is the furthest thing from my mind.

Tammy May 5, 2013, 6:16 pm

Well that makes sense. Facebook is actually good for that kind of thing. I have to say it drives me nuts when OTHER people post that your kid is in the hospital. It’s like, thanks!

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