Facebook Timelines Are Full of Cleverly Edited Lives.
Facebook is full of people who make you doubt yourself, feel guilty and question your life. Why does everyone else’s lives look so perfect? What is the secret? Or is the secret just that- it’s only about looks, and it isn’t the reality?
If you scroll through your time line chances are it’s full of friends who have ‘had the best day with their perfect family’, ‘counting down to their fortnight in the Dominican Republic.’ Or who are ‘cooking a three course meal, while singing along to their favourite music.’ How do these people do it?!
An average person’s day could begin with the children arguing, over who has which bowl for their cereal. Or who gets to walk out of the front door first, as you head to school. It might then continue with small talk in the school playground, sharing stories about the ‘school run morning hell.’ Once home from the school run possibly they attempt to do some work, answer some emails, and then remember there’s a load of washing to be done.
Around lunch time they might eat some lunch, and catch up with their ‘friends’ to see what they are up to.
Jen is ‘with my best friend having a child free shopping trip, look at the size of this hot chocolate!’, Alice has just had a quote for the building work she is having done, and it’s ‘spot on budget, couldn’t be happier!’ And Cathy is strangely, ‘missing my children while they’re at school’. What an odd one.
Should we all be missing the children? Should we all have a quote for that faulty flush on the toilet, that we keep saying we need to get fixed? Why didn’t we all have an invite to a shopping trip with a friend, and have a massive hot chocolate to show it to the world?
Back to the school run again, feeling quite dejected. Everyone’s day looked like they were having the time of their life. Maybe seeing the children will cheer you up–after all you did make them. They’re meant to be your ‘whole world.’ But when they stumble out of the school building, they’re tired and grumpy. They immediately begin to argue about who gets to go through the front door first.
Once home they argue over the television, and then both shout at you when you offer them the fruit bowl. Rather than the biscuit tin, in an attempt to be a responsible parent. They stomp off to their rooms, where they spread jigsaws and Barbies all over the carpet, then scream at you like you’re unreasonable when you ask them to tidy up.
As you slide the toast under the grill, and put the beans into the pan you heave a sigh of relief. It’s nearly the end of the day. You’ve achieved great things today in having kept the children alive, and in one piece. All that will be left is the horror of bed time, which you can’t bring yourself to think about just yet.
You have a quick scroll through Facebook and your heart drops. Jen is making ‘a Sunday roast, I know, it’s not even Sunday!’ Alice has ‘made butternut squash risotto, and all three children devoured it.’
Cathy ‘is being wined and dined this evening.’
These Facebook updates make you question yourself, your parenting, your life. Why haven’t you made a more substantial meal? Why won’t your children eat butternut squash risotto? Why hasn’t your husband come home to whisk you off out for a meal?
The problem with Facebook is that it’s just a snap shot. Jen won’t bother telling us that she burnt the gravy, and the baby mashed so much potato into his hair, it resulted in a full-on clean up operation. Alice will hide that she had to bribe the children to eat their butternut squash, and Cathy won’t admit that her husband only whisked her out for a meal, because he couldn’t face another evening of her terrible cooking again.
It’s important to take peoples’ updates with a pinch of salt. If you find yourself having that moment of self-doubt, when you read what they say, stop yourself and remember that it’s only a snap shot- it isn’t a reality. We are very clever editors with our lives, Facebook isn’t the real world. It’s the mums at the school gates who look as shattered as you are, and the teachers who hand the kids over at the end of the day, who look like all they can think about is the bottle of wine they have chilling in the fridge. The gushy updates on Facebook? They’re not what’s real.