Curse You Social Media!

I often thank my lucky stars that cell phones weren't a thing when I was a teenager.  I grew up in a time where caller ID was the greatest invention. I remember rushing to the machine when I got home just hoping to see my crushes' name on the ID.  Boys used to have to call my house and ... gasp... talk to my parents.  We didn't have text messages. We barely used the internet and email (AOL only) was brand new.  Social Media wasn't a concept yet invented.  I am so grateful that I had the chance to live through adolescence without that distraction.  Being a teenager was hard enough.

Today I had a thought.  I thought about how nice it would be to parent without social media.  I am completely guilty of over-posting about my children.  I actually have to make an effort to post about things other than my children. I am sure I annoy the hell out of people.  Other than KUER, my life is pretty much all about my girls.  So I post pictures, and funny things they say and blog about my adventures as a momma.

The other day I was looking at a blog of an acquaintance. This is not someone I know well other than she has two girls like me. Girls about the same age as my girls. In her blog I saw a picture of her on vacation, in a bikini.  Let me just say this girl is hard core.  She's model gorgeous. Now, I can look at celebrities and models with their perfect bodies and not feel personally discouraged about the way I look.  But when I saw this picture of a girl I actually know, a mother of two, and she looked like that...I felt my self-esteem plummet.

My mood shifted to a very dark place that day. Here I was proud of myself for counting calories and actually walking a couple of miles during my lunch break.  I was proud that I was doing some pilates and core work while playing with Matilda on her play mat.  I was proud that I was starting to fit into some of my pre-baby clothing again.  And then that pride got crushed.  Because I looked nowhere near as good as that mom. Not to mention her blog shows all of the amazing adventures and things she does with her kids.  Hiking, traveling, crafts, playdates, etc.  She can apparently do it all!  Everything I see on Pinterest and think "I could totally do that!" but never do - this girl apparently does.

I went home that night in a foul mood.  I was impatient with the girls. I was grumpy to Seth. I threw my careful eating out the window because, "I'll never look like that! What's the freaking point?!"  I let it completely ruin my day.

I am so ashamed of this.  Am I so unsure of myself lately that a stupid picture on social media can rock my image of myself?  I didn't think so but apparently I was wrong.

I posted a brief statement about what happened on Facebook and of course got amazing responses and encouraging posts back from my friends and family. I learned a few things:

1. Pretty much all of us struggle with comparison/jealousy.  Whether we envy others for their traveling, their ability to sleep-in, their beautiful homes/cars/clothing, their apparently perfect children and perfect parenting, it seems there is always something to wish for.

2. Chances are people have looked at YOU and felt jealous. I had a couple of people message me in private and say, "Hey, don't feel bad. I often look at you and your life and feel inadequate."  This made me feel even worse. I hope I am not putting on this air of "oh look at me and how perfect my life is!" Because it is far from it.  Most days I feel like I am barely hanging and keeping it all together.

3. Social Media is fake.  It's fake fake fake.  People post their highlights.  Their best pictures.  Their most exciting adventures.  Rarely do you see posts like, "Well, I didn't even shower today because my kids were assholes."  or "The best part of my weekend was when everyone left me the hell alone and I got to watch a show uninterrupted."  or "Well my family is a complete mess. I can't imagine things being any worse!"

I try desperately to keep a balance of reality in my social media life. I try to be blunt and honest.  To a point where I'm sure people think, "Ugh shut up Becky! You have two beautiful children, a handsome husband and a cool job.  What do you have to complain about?"  And it's true. I have a wonderful life.  A wonderful and challenging life.

So here's to keeping it real. Here's to being a bit easier on ourselves in light of all the apparently wonderful things our "friends" are doing. Here's to having perspective and not assuming everyone else has a life full of rainbows and sunshine.  Here's to posting pictures without makeup and filters and editing.  Here's to being a little more real with each other.  Here's to cutting ourselves some slack. Here's to trying to be confident in ourselves, flaws and all.  Here's to the real us.

Me. Right now. End of a long day. No filter. Just me.