There’s a blog post floating around Facebook that challenges readers to “stop lying on Facebook.” I read the article so I could discern who the liars on Facebook are – for the purpose of helping them, naturally – and was surprised to see that I might be considered a Facebook liar by this blogger’s standard.
With a bend towards the raunchy, she launched into a true report on her day – the one not reported to Facebook. She reported to Facebook that she and the children enjoyed lattes, but failed to do a follow up report on the spilled drinks and thrown fits that followed the original post. As a mother to two perfect children, I was stunned to learn of her facade. Stunned.
When you post pictures of a clean kitchen, I of course assume that your kitchen is always clean, laundry folded, floors swept, and dinner in the oven. It is therefore important for you to post the occasional picture of a messy kitchen to “keep it real” so I am not fooled. When you post updates about your child’s all star day at school, it is crucial that you also tell me about the 9pm grocery store melt down so that we can all take Junior down a peg. Stop trying to fool me.
Here’s my question: Who’s fooling who?
I don’t often post about my kids, whether it’s good or bad, because I feel like they are at an age when they need to create their own public identities. Though, if I do say anything, it will be positive because the internet’s records are way more permanent than school records and I don’t want to offer the fodder for locker room teasing.
Does this make me a liar? If I “fool” anyone into believing that my life does not include melt downs and fits, am I to blame? I would like to present the idea that the real blame is on the reader, not the reporter. If you read your friend’s constantly positive updates and start to think that your life is awful in comparison, maybe it is you who is lying and not your friend. You lie to yourself when you try to believe that anyone has it all together all the time.
You are lying to yourself if you think for one minute that people do not know that your life includes melt downs, dirty words, poor food choices, and even poorer parenting choices. People know this about your life because it is a part of their life too. When you know this for certain, then you can read your friend’s steady stream of positive updates and appreciate that your friend has chosen to accentuate the good and leave the bad to the unspoken known.
You do no one a disservice when you make it a policy to not air every gross/sick/sad/disturbing part of your day, but you do yourself a HUGE disservice when you assume you are the only one who has such moments.
My Great Grandma was a West Texas legend for how she worked with cotton seed sacks to make beautiful dresses for her daughters. People often stopped the girls to comment on their dresses and my Grandma would proudly tell a stunned audience that the expertly dyed fabric was cheap cotton seed sacks that anyone else would have thrown away. My Great Grandma told her a line that is often quoted in my home, “We don’t have to tell everything we know.”
This is Eric’s Wife, reporting with mascara crusties in my eyes and wearing yoga pants that never do yoga while my children watch a nature program and I pretend that it is educational.