Social media is the absolute best and worst invention since the spork. I use forms of it, to be sure, but mostly for reasons that have little to do with wanting to envelope myself in all the ranting, bragging, or tearing others down that seems to exist on the internet. That is, unless there are cat photos or hilarious memes involved. In general, the social media posts on parenting we're all guilty of rarely say what they actually mean, too. You usually have to be a parent yourself in order to read into the subtext of what parents really means when they hit "post." So, is it worth it to even go online? I say yes, you just have to know what you're reading.
There are some days I want friends, family, and complete strangers to believe I'm living the life. I'm fully dressed, made an eight course dinner, and my well-behaved children are volunteering their time at several local shelters after they're finished sewing blankets for war vets. That's what gets posted because, behind the scenes, it's an actual sh*t show. The real post would be more like, "I'm not dressed and haven't changed out of my pajamas since yesterday, we got Happy Meals (again), my daughter is grounded for lying, and my son is mooning me this very second." If I share that every day, everyone will know how little I have my life together.
I can't tell you which post would be true today. Honestly, it would probably be a combination of the two. The point is, some parents who post on social media are damn liars and I know because I've been guilty of it, too. It doesn't make us bad people, though. If anything, it shows our dedication to putting others at ease by lying straight through our computer screens. Sort of a, "See? Motherhood isn't so bad so you can totally do this," white lie that keeps our population numbers up. I'm just not entirely convinced this little "white lie" is a good thing, usually.
Yes, there are amazing times I want to capture, truthfully, but there's also some crappy times, too. Why can't we just say that already? For instance yesterday, I Tweeted about my son giving up his naps. There wasn't a smiley face about how excited I am to spend more time with him, it was a GIF of a woman drinking because that's how I feel. Stating that doesn't make me a bad mother, as I'm sure many other mothers can relates, so why do we feel the need to pretend things are shinier than they really are? With that, I'm calling out all those social media posts on parenting that can't always be for real. If they were, they'd mention how much crying is involved.
"Isn't My Kid Adorable?!"
I'm no stranger to posting about my kids (especially my son), because they're adorable and/or hilarious. Yeah, I'm biased, but still. I want to show them off and brag a little about these two humans who came out of me.
When parents post this, though, what they really mean is either, "You'd better agree my kid is freaking adorable," or "I managed to snap one single picture between world-ending tantrums and could use a little support for all my efforts before my kid erupts again. Please."
"Dinner Date With My Sweeties"
Have you ever gone out to dinner with kids? It's the equivalent of lighting my hair on fire just to watch it burn. OK, maybe that's dramatic. Sometimes everything goes just fine and we eat and I post a true-to-life picture capturing their sweet faces and it's great. Really, sometimes it is.
Other times, and more often than not, if I say something like this, what I mean is "HELP! SOMEONE SAVE ME! PLEASE!"
"Playdate At The Park"
"Play date at the park" is code for, "I didn't want them messing up my house and though we met at the park, the date ended early when my son found a condom at the bottom of the slide he thought was a balloon. I'm sorry they played catch with it."
"Snack Time = The Best Time"
Parents who post creative, visually perfect snacks for their picky toddlers really mean to tell you, "I spent two hours cutting fruit into the shape of tiny hearts because the rest of my life is a mess and I desperately need to avoid it." No worries, fellow moms. I've been there.
"First Day Of School Means One Sad Mommy"
I'll admit, when my youngest went to school for the first time, I was weepy. That feeling passes, though. When my 10 year old went, not a tear was shed.
So while some parents can be and are sad, I think this post usually means, "I can finally go to the bathroom between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. without someone barging through the door and I'm so excited I can't contain myself."
"Blessed To Have This Angel Call Me Momma"
Make no mistake, I do feel extremely blessed to have the chance to mother my children. However, if I ever post this, what I actually mean is, "Today, my toddler clogged the toilet, got vomit on my shirt, and called me a bastard. I'm really struggling."
Side note: This is a true thing that happened and, no, I'm not proud.
"What A Fun Day At The Zoo"
Translation: "I don't know why the hell I thought this would be a good idea in the summer heat, when my toddler really needed that nap he missed, but it wasn't. Not even a little. I regret every second, except the orangutan exhibit. They're neat."
"My Little Sidekick Is A Great Helper"
When I let my toddler help with anything, it takes 10 times as long, creates 10 times the mess, and it 10 times less enjoyable. Sure, he can "help," but at the price of my patience, sanity, and zest for life. These posts actually mean, "Where's the wine?"
"Making Vacation Memories"
"Vacation memories" actually means, "This is my living hell on earth." Unless there's a spa or mimosas involved. If so, then maybe you really are making vacation memories.
"My Cup Runneth Over"
I see these posts often and, as a mother who's grateful for her kids, I get the sentiment behind it. However, when you say "my cup runneth over," what I actually read is, "My cup runneth over and it's flooding our house. S.O.S!"