I was talking with a friend recently about the difficulties in parenting teenagers (and really children of all ages, for that matter).
And what I took away from our conversation was that a lot of us are lying.
Because what this friend told me is that when she looks at Facebook, her friends make it look like raising kids is all sunshine and rainbows.
When instead, it’s really a lot of eye rolling and slammed doors.
I’m just as guilty of this. If I look back at my last few Facebook posts about my own children, they’re about the funny things they’ve said or accomplishments I’m proud of.
Because really, I assume that nobody wants to read about the argument we had because someone told me they didn’t like what I was making for dinner, or about the 237 times I had to ask one of them to put away their clean laundry before it actually got done. I don’t write about the times that my kids are doing homework together at the kitchen table and one throws a pencil at the other because he’s annoyed by the other one talking himself through math homework. I post vacation photos of my smiling family, but leave out the anecdotes about the screaming match that happened during mini golf.
But maybe our friends WOULD be interested in reading about this stuff. Because if we all posted about the crappy days too, instead of just about dance recitals, achievements and family trips, parents might realize that we’re all in this together, and that someone is probably having the same problem that you are.
It’s interesting, because most of us give our kids this lesson about social media, but we often forget about it ourselves. We remind kids that there’s more to those selfies posted on Instagram. And the post about that beautiful semiformal dress? I can’t think of a teenage girl who is going to also post about the arguments she had with her parents about the appropriateness or cost of that dress. And unfortunately, neither is her mom.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that I (along with most of you) will continue to put my happy face forward on Facebook. But the next time you see a photo of one of my kids at a concert, smiling and wearing a tie, please try and remember that they might not have been so nice to me when their pants weren’t ironed at the exact moment they had planned to put them on. And that I may have yelled at them because those pants were crumpled in the bottom of a closet since the last concert until they were handed over for ironing.
In the end, we wouldn’t (most days, anyway) trade our kids for the other ones who look so perfect on Facebook.
Well, maybe that one in the tutu….