Yesterday I posted the sweetest picture of my kids reading their library books together when they got home from school.
Aren’t they adorable? Don’t they look precious? Like they get along? Like they’re clean? Like my house is clean?
What you don’t see in this picture is the clutter that surrounded them. (You would not believe how I had to crop that photo). You don’t see the fight that ensued immediately after the picture was taken. You don’t see Zachary crying in the background or the barking dogs or the junk. So let me put your mind at ease.
What you see of my family on social media are the highlights.
You sure don’t see the post car-rider-pick-up-line-3:27 p.m. me, I can tell you that. The one who needs a cup of coffee and an attitude adjustment. The one that has sweated through her clothes because the air has been broken in the van and I have not been able to hand over the keys long enough to my auto mechanic husband so that he can fix it. When I pick up the boys these past few hot, dry-and-sunny-for-the-first-time-all-summer 88-degree afternoons, the boys are asking questions like:
Why are you wearing your swim suit in public?
Why is Zachary sweating so bad?
Is this the sun?
You aren’t going to see me post that stuff. You won’t see me post the dust bunnies, the unopened mail, the dirty bathtub, the arguing, the complaining, the looks of unrequited friendship in their forlorn faces, the purple boats, (ugh. purple boats are bad. So is being on the rainbow. So is being in the fish tank. The
parental-anxiety-producing-school behavior charts are about do me in), the foam sword fight gone wrong. You won’t see that stuff.
And that doesn’t make me fake.
The highlights I post are honest-to-goodness real life highlights. They happened. My ornery guys do love to read. That was the moment I clung to yesterday. Those are the moments I capture and remember and tear up over. The worth-it moments. The we-made-it moments. The I-can-mother moments.
Because you know they fight. You know they complain. You know they don’t get 5 smiley faces in a row (but if they do, by golly, I will post the mess out of that). You know about the dust, and the syrup-topped breakfast table, and the laundry, and the mail. I don’t share that because we all know it’s there.
So please don’t ever use social media to size yourself up to anyone. Or feel like a failure because your Pinterest project looks like trash glued together and stuck to your wall. Or that you’re doing something wrong because your kid doesn’t have a trophy. Or zero cavities. Or a pony. Or any good vacation photos. Or all. the. things. Those Facebook posts and Instagrams, and Pinterests, and Sunday-besters, are highlights. And those families have real life stuff too.
There is a difference between seeing my photos in a photo book online and a photo book on my coffee table. The pictures are the same. We still only put the highlights in the albums and the baby books and the picture frames. But pre-social media, when you looked at my photos, you were sitting on my couch in my home. You were interrupted 16 times while you looked through the album. You found out my kids are streakers. And that not only are they wildly hilarious, they are also wildly mischievous. You saw my dust. You saw my dishes. You saw my mail. You saw the the highlights and the lowlights. All of it. All of us.
Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together….
Post your highlights. See their highlights. That’s fine. It’s not a horrible way to stay connected. But also sit in each others’ homes. Sip coffee together. Brace yourself for the lowlights and enjoy the highlights together. We were created for community. Real community that experiences life together.
My couch is comfortable. The coffee’s ready. Come and sit a spell.