I learned quickly after having Kendan the dangers in the portrayal of perfection. I would look around at my peers and think, "How does she do it all?" "Her kids are always dressed flawlessly!" "Their house is beautiful and spotless." I found myself comparing my life to everyone else's, and became very unhappy. It took me too long, a lot of self pity, and so much stress to realize that something's gotta give. That woman who finds all the time in the world to work out and look gorgeous? Her house is a mess (maybe she spot cleans before you come over). The mom who feeds her kids nothing but organic, whole foods and bakes and cooks as if her name was Betty Crocker? She probably hasn't worked out in months and feels fat. The latest kid's birthday party you attended that was plucked directly from Pinterest? The poor mom who planned it didn't sleep for a week prior. And the woman whose house is always clean and tidy when you cannot seem to keep the dishes out of the sink? She hasn't sat down and enjoyed an hour of doing nothing in forever. They're all on the verge of a breakdown. I know. Because, at one point or another, I have been all of those moms. Never all at once. I repeat, never all at once. Something's gotta give. But, I post a picture of us taking a walk on a beautiful day, the details of an adorable party, or a smiling baby being held by an impeccably coiffed mom! Not all the mess, sweat, and tears (mostly tears) that come with the day to day. The danger in all of this is how it makes others feel. When just the ideal moments of someone's life are revealed it breeds insecurity in the people who are witnessing it. They're not organized enough. They're not health conscious enough. They're not as good at parenting, or being a spouse, or a human in general. We're all doing it. We are all feeling not good enough but continue to show only the wonderful parts of our life to the world.
I have read many blogs and articles related to this subject. Some even written by friends of mine (here). They have all been eye opening and helpful in my search to come to terms with feeling "less than." A friend recently posted this article on her Facebook page. And I think it's really well-written. It does an amazing job of explaining the dangers in portraying the perfect life in any social forum. It also helped make sense of why I might feel down after seeing the happy images of friends and loved ones.
Another great point illustrated in the article is that we cannot create a community in short comments online. It's not a dialogue that lends itself to feeling connected. Recently, my phone would not allow me to comment on my friends' blogs. So, I resorted to emailing them when I had something to say. I found myself writing longer, more personal messages and, better yet, getting a reply that turned into actual conversations. So much more fulfilling and enlightening than a brief note at the bottom of a blog post that I am not sure they will ever notice. It made me feel more connected to them and, I'm sure, them to me. It created a more honest and sincere moment, even with people I hadn't spoken to in a while. That's the key, honesty.
I'm not saying to stop the perfect posts. I love all of the pictures of my friends' children, in quirky ensembles, running through fields of spring flowers. The challenge is to appreciate the photo and not think, "I should have taken the boys outside today. I'm such a bum!" It's a process, to be less self-deprecating in general, let alone when you're looking at a highlight in another person's life. To help in this quest to stop the comparisons of our seemingly perfect lives, I am going to start #truthfultuesday on Instagram. I'm not expecting it to turn into a huge trending topic (Ha! Ya right). But, even if only two people I know participate, it could help to make us feel better. I might post a picture of the tantrum I get when I have to say "No!" You may see a picture of my unmade bed or of my kids eating hot dogs for dinner. Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Because again, "honesty." If I'm being honest there's enough material in our daily mundaneness to make you all feel better, if you need that sort of thing. *You're welcome* So, hopefully, you'll join me. Maybe I'll get a glimpse into your ugly truths so that I realize I'm not the only one struggling to stay above water. And there will be plenty on my feed for you to take comfort in as well, coming soon!
|True Life: We wasted a beautiful Saturday indoors and finally took our kids to the park, in the their pajamas, at 5pm for 30 minutes. Seen here struggling to share the tube.|