"Does everyone really need to know about every single milestone your baby reaches? I mean, I feel like every time I go on, my news feed is filled with achievements, like this baby rolled over, this one said another word, this one can read a dictionary. Moms of older kids, has this gotten worse over the past few years? I feel like it's getting worse! Is it getting worse? What is going on?"
Now this particular mom is one of my favorites. She is the sweetest, most articulate little thing this world's ever seen. Coming from her, this was somewhat of an outburst. I'd never heard her sound irritated. My heart ached for her. I knew what she was feeling.
She'd been sucked into the Facebook pit of doom.
We've all been there. Annoyed, irritated, and feeling like deactivating our accounts...tired of people and posts and pictures. On the surface, we say it's because we're just "tired of seeing it!"...but why are we truly tired of seeing anything our supposed "friends" post? What is it that's really driving us nuts and making us want to block people? Sometimes it's because friends and family don't always share our belief system (I can name at least 3 people who continually make me scream "MORON!" at the top of my lungs).
But I don't think my mom friend was talking about that. She wasn't bothered by the beliefs of the other moms. She wasn't saying they were idiots for hitting milestones. No, she was bothered by the perceived boasting....the in-your-face attitude....the "look at me, look at me" behavior.
I've come to the conclusion that Facebook can absolutely break down self-esteem and turn perfectly normal people
Whoa, how is she still so skinny?!
Alright who is this hooker my ex is dating...
Um, crazy that they can afford that?
And to take it one step further, when you're in charge of directing and guiding and creating another person, the potential for Facebook damage is taken to a whole new level. Yes, I'm suggesting Facebook harm can be even more daunting, even darker, even more harmful for those trying to raise little people.
Her kid willingly eats vegetables?
Huh. I wish my husband would do that with our kids.
Another family vacation??
Now this topic has been beaten to death by bloggers all over the country. Stop comparing yourself to others - the New Years resolution for millions of us. But how many of us actually do anything about these feelings? How many of us willingly put ourselves out there, flaws and all, and let people see the reality of our lives? Is it really all that gross? Is it really all that terrible? Would it really hurt to only keep people in our life who accept us, crazy faces, misbehaving kids, and all? Could we potentially change the face of social media comparison by posting less pictures of perfection...and more pictures of imperfection?
Yep. That is exactly what I'm suggesting. Instead of posting only the good, the beautiful, and the perfect, let's flip the switch and post our epic fails, our uggo moments, and the imperfection that encases every one of our lives. I'm not saying no pretty pics, or successes, or fun times.....but how 'bout less Photoshop, more insane face pictures? I think there's a thing called Snapchat for that.....but why only a few seconds of funny? How about saving that moment for all time? How about making someone laugh? How about making ourselves laugh?
If you scroll through the contacts on my phone you'll see all assigned contact pictures are INsane. My girlfriend went running and was hit on by some dude so she snapped a picture of herself looking all sweaty and said, "Really?" Bam. It's now her contact picture. I think she looked gorgeous. My buddy used one of those crazy photo editors to make his nose abnormally long and freaky looking. BAM. His contact picture. He is totally handsome, partially because he can make me laugh at my saddest moments. My sister sent me a picture of herself in front of a gym mirror, no makeup, making a totally crazy face. Contact picture. My sister, the little kiddo I grew up with, does not need makeup to be one of the most stunning, kindhearted persons on this planet.
Are you catching my drift?
These pictures light up my life. They are the real people I've come to love and know and treasure with all my heart. They are the imperfect, flaw-filled loves of my life. I don't mind seeing professional pics and updates on how great your kid is doing....but when push comes to shove, those moments don't remind me of the reasons why I love you.
I have one Facebook friend who talks about getting her period and dying under a plate of nachos all the time. Another friend purposely closes her eyes in every picture she posts. Hilarious. This is what I'm talkin' about, people. Turn Facebook into Failbook. Believe me, everyone wants to see your mistakes. And no, I'm not talking about those emo, moody posts with some creepy song lyrics and an open-ended phrase that leaves everyone wondering if you're somehow mad at them. I'm talking about real, honest-to-goodness life fails. Reality.
Like when you're doing a rare workout and your little one stacks her ice-cream-lookin' legos next to you and you instantly want to eat them even though you know they are plastic.
And when you buy your daughter sparkle powder and then realize it's a poison pink cloud of shimmer and shame that wont come off your skin and gets literally everywhere.
Or when you try and schedule time to read to your kid but you take so long at the computer that she ends up reading books without you.
These are the real stories of my life. And we all have them. The woes my brave mom friend shared that day during our meeting resonated with everyone in the group. We now have a thread dedicated to posting our fails. Some of them are hilarious. Others are gut-wrenching. All are relatable. Knowing you aren't alone is the best feeling in the world.
And you know what else? You have the power to remove yourself from situations that you feel are non-conducive to positive self-image. I chose to narrow down my friend list dramatically, keeping primarily those people who add value to my feed (I'm still working up the guts to delete all those who add no value....I'm sucha sissy). I also choose to follow bloggers who celebrate imperfection and write about interesting, thought-provoking topics. I am slowly weeding out the "perfect mommy" blogs from my feed and instead dedicating my online reading time to improving myself and my flaws.
Life isn't a one-size-fits-all garment, nor should it be portrayed as such. We are each so unique and so powerful in our own way. We all struggle, even the moms with the perfectly-advanced kids. Who knows, maybe her marriage is in shambles. Maybe her kid can read a novel but still wets the bed. These are the things Facebook doesn't tell us...and we sometimes need to remind ourselves that regardless of how perfect it looks, everyone is struggling. Everyone. So add some comfort to the Facebook feed and toss out your latest fail. I guarantee it will make somebody's day.
Have any of my readers experienced problems with Facebook comparisons (or Pinterest, or Twitter...)? I know I've got some strong souls out there but let me have it - how many of you sign into your social media and feel awful when you're done checking your feeds? Tell me about it in the comments down below. As always, thank you so, so much for reading :)