I am a millennial. I put it all out there. I bake with the kids and snap a photo. Pack them a cute picnic. Another photo. Art projects? Same. Swinging? Laughing? Just sitting, looking cute? Snap, snap, snap, goes my camera. And I don’t care if you think I’m over-saturating your online lives with my pictures and stories about the kids. I truly don’t. Well, I do a little. I do think about how I am really quick to share all of the picture perfect moments, and fewer of the raw moments. For me, it’s more than just being a millennial that causes me to overshare. I don’t have any close family to speak of and connecting with friends and relatives on FB makes this sometimes oh so isolating task of parenting…less lonely. Moms are quick to jump on and give me advice and I eat it up. I don’t have a mom to bounce ideas or worries off of. So I have a gang of moms on facebook to reassure me.
So today, the kids woke up in awful moods. They were mean to each other, bossy–dirty looks were being shot from one side of the house to the other. There’s only so much I can do to remedy that–or even ignore it. The kids have a daily summer “to do list” to make sure they keep to a productive schedule of chores, playing, helping family members, being creative, reading, etc. Once the kids started working on their lists, moods did not improve. Then it was time for us to go outside. They have an enormous play structure, a pool–so much to do, but I hear: I’m bored. Ugh. I could feel my blood pressure rise as my blood sugar started its descent. Think. Think.
It worked like a charm. Their moods improved and we played until lunch time. I, of course, posted about it on facebook, being the millennial oversharer that I am. And I got a lot of compliments. That’s when I needed to share a reality check. Do you know that when my almost 2 year old is throwing a tantrum and I am yelling, you can hear us from a few blocks away? I know our neighbors must hate us. And when it comes to calm, patient, Glenda the Good Witch parenting, complete with the soft voice? Ha! I am a yeller–who is more sarcastic than you could ever aspire to be.
Things aren’t always pretty. I can somehow manage to get all three kids to help me bake some muffins, and then an hour later, I want to sell them on Craiglist. We can have a beautiful family story time that ends up in tears and kids being sent to bed. I can do it all…sometimes. And other times, I yell and hope my neighbors don’t throw their dog poop in my yard (that happened!).
So if you are feeling overwhelming pressure to be a perfect parent–and to “seem” like one, too, on social media, please realize that life is messy. Anyone who “seems” to be put together with their perfect kids are just really great at social media and should switch careers to marketing. It’s ok to laugh and cry and yell and groan and be mad. And take those damned pictures. At least that’s what I tell myself.
(No, seriously. My toddler is sleeping with mashed potatoes in her hair. Life.)