I posted this picture on Easter, and shortly afterward I felt an overwhelming urge to offer a disclaimer caption: **This is not an accurate depiction of how our day is going.**
In fact, that day had been one of the most difficult days of parenting I’d had in a long time. My husband was working insane hours trying desperately to keep restaurants running. The house was a WRECK. And my kids woke up fighting at 6:30am and had not slowed down since. I lost my temper, raised my voice (more than once) and could be found crying in the pantry at one point.
With everything going on in the world, tensions were high in our house, and my husband and I even seemed to be fighting more often.
I had great plans for Easter that involved several Pinterest-inspired crafts and a nice home-cooked meal.
None of that happened.
The bunny art activity that morning was a total disaster and the kids fought, screamed, and/or cried the entire time.
I never even had the opportunity to log on to our church’s live stream service, so my idea of having this lovely conversation on the couch with the kiddos about Easter (and why it is significant to our faith) got put on hold.
Here’s a short selection of what did happen:
- The one-year-old drank out of the dog’s water bowl (using a spoon as a ladle) while my three-year-old peed on the couch.
- We went on a walk where at least one child cried the entire time. Then it rained on the way back.
- The toddler refused his nap and cried for 30 minutes straight while I attempted to clean the kitchen, which looked like it had been ransacked by starving baboons.
But instead of documenting our epically terrible day, I dressed the kids up, put them on the backyard swing, bribed them with candy, and made ridiculous faces to get them to laugh for the camera.
It seemed like positivity.
But it felt like poison.
Because it was a hard day. And this picture doesn’t show that.
This photo will simply be added to another struggling mom’s newsfeed. She’ll see it, pause (probably with a slight frown), scroll on past, and wonder why she just can’t just get it together when everyone else seems to be able to. So many of us moms already struggle with loneliness, and recent events are making us turn to our phones more than ever for connection. But that connection is laced with toxicity: comparison.
I think the truest thing that has ever been said of social media was penned by Steve Furtick, who said, “the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
I think that observation comes a close second to the wisdom of a bygone generation: “comparison is the thief of joy.”
Hear me out. What I want to offer is a challenge, not a guilt trip to deter you from posting nice pictures.
Here it is: For every “nice” photo you post online (the one that you had to take 30 times to get it just right), post the REAL photo in the comments below it with the hashtag #reallife
My hope is that if we can see with our own eyes the struggle that ALL of us moms face, we can laugh, and learn, together.