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Hiding Behind the Curtain

I want to start a movement. I think it’s time we throw away our social networks and get real.

Forget you, Facebook.

I want to get on a site called RealBook – a place where we gather and tell each other how it’s really going. Not “vague-booking,” no perfect pictures showing off our fabulously cooked meals.


RealBookI want to see your houses after a two year old has ripped through the living room in nothing but a diaper, wielding a broom that has knocked over all of your folded clean laundry. That’s right. Let’s stop hiding behind the Internet curtains and get real, people. Let’s pin a great margarita recipe on Pinterest and go right ahead and make it.

I say this kind of tongue-in-cheek, but it just dawned on me that it’s really easy to hide behind ourselves out there on the Internet. It’s effortless to pick and choose how the world sees us. For me, people often ask me how I manage to work at home with two kids merely 18 months apart while writing articles all day, cooking that really awesome slow cooker chicken and biscuits I posted on Facebook 10 minutes ago.

The reality is this: that’s just a picture of a dinner comprised of 4 ingredients. I threw it in my slow cooker, which took all of 5 minutes, all while my 8 month old daughter was scaling the sofa and my 2 year old son was throwing everything that was on my kitchen table onto the floor. Let’s not talk about the one paragraph I had been trying to write for two hours because every 10 minutes someone needed a diaper change.

What you don’t see in that picture is the living room, also known as Disaster Central, where toys are scattered on the floor like land mines, the ten changes of clothes that were needed by my daughter, no thanks to several of her diaper blow outs, and about 20 dust bunnies, thanks to having two very large cats.

You don’t see me, the person taking the picture, wearing last night’s pajamas, crying because I didn’t get enough sleep last night. You don’t hear the cacophonous screams of the 2-year-old chasing the cat into the other room, or the 8-month-old emitting her high pitched noise because she managed to stand herself up but can’t move another inch.


All you see is that delicious chicken and biscuits, and the mere idea that I have it together.

Social media is so tricky, isn’t it? When we interact online, we can choose or reject each other in our friend requests, or perhaps we find ourselves green with envy over other people’s lives that seem more together than our own. As much as it has become a vehicle for keeping in touch, social networking has become a tool by which we compare ourselves to others, and for some, that can lead to a feeling of inadequacy or just down in the doldrums because it’s just too damn hard to make rose bud pins made from recycled t-shirts. (By the way, that Pin was pretty cool.)

There was an actual study conducted by the neuroscientists at Harvard University that said our online bragging gives us the same pleasure as food, chocolate, money and – get this – sex.

This could be a good explanation as to why we are quick to disclose so many personal, perhaps even intimate details of our every day lives. This subjective value that comes from bragging has helped those of us who are probably too shy to do so in person a medium by which to be proud.

Maybe it’s none of this, and we really are just happy to pass around photos of our happier every day goings on because, if it’s a moment that has made us smile, why not share it? Are we hiding behind the social media veil, only displaying our excellent meals and our awesome milestones? How about our anxiety attacks or the temper tantrums?

It’s easier to hide because no one wants to see the mess, but we’re quickly trying to become the lives we’ve laid out for ourselves on the Internet. It’s trouble-free to brag because we need to feel good about ourselves, maybe because moments ago, you did something you weren’t exactly proud of.

What we forget is that the meltdowns are part of the adventure. As moms, we have our own tantrums, and it’s completely okay to have them, just as our children need to have them to release their energy. It’s perfectly fine that you’re still in your pajamas from yesterday. Life can be pretty complicated, and sometimes squeezing into a pair of jeans just doesn’t make sense for today.

Own the pajama wearing. Be the pajama.

It’s easy to tell only half of your story online, and on a particularly bad day, don’t feel inadequate because you never made it out of the house while one of your friends was on a skydiving expedition.

Maybe instead of RealBook, we should be crafting our lives in real time, not just as a snippet on the Internet, and enjoying every moment we are privileged to have; the sticky ones, the tear-filled ones, the sad ones and the boring ones.

It’s all part of the whole life experience. Your Time Line is real, not just a Facebook tool.

Author: Michelle

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