My kids don’t cry on Facebook. If I can possibly resist, I don’t comment on politics, religion or drama of any kind. It is not because I think I am better than anyone else or because I want other people to think my life is perfect. My life is not perfect, far from it. But, just because it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean I want to look back at my life (in photo albums or when Facebook’s algorithms think I should) at memories I would rather not have to relive. That is, unless I deliberately choose to revisit those thoughts and feelings.
I hear about so many people who think that we set unrealistic expectations of motherhood by only sharing the good times and feel that somehow that should stop, so others don’t feel inadequate. I completely agree that we shouldn’t live behind a Facebook facade and pretend to be someone we aren’t, but spend 5 minutes with me in real life and you will know I am a real person who, like many of us, struggles on every front. Have a cup of coffee with me and give me the opportunity to “overshare”. I will tell you all about all the ways I come up short, about the chaos that is my life. However, that doesn’t mean I want to memorialize those things in a public forum.
So yes, I fully admit I filter the photos, thoughts and comments I share on social media. In the photos I post, my kids are smiling, happy or doing something cute (well, most of the time). But the real reason why I filter is because I just don’t want to be reminded of the hard times or negativity. I don’t want to pour salt in old wounds and remember the struggles and tears. When I have time to scroll through my albums from years past, I want to remember pigtails and pudgy fingers, smiles, laughs, first steps and just how small they really were. I want to see the highlight reel, the good times, the fun.
Growing up, I absolutely loved to look through the big photo albums with peel back plastic sheets where memories of loved ones long lost are securely tucked between the pages. Those albums did not include photos of us as children lying on the floor of the grocery store-tear streaked cheeks, kicking and screaming as a constant reminder to our moms and dads of some of the least pleasurable moments of parenthood.
I don’t want to relive the play by play of scary hospital stays or car accidents or think about the 1/2 hour I spent crying in the car after that adorable first day of kindergarten photo was taken. I want to let those things go. I want to set myself up for “On this day 5 years ago” memories that make me smile and appreciate this beautiful life.
Do you lay it all out there or use a #facebookfilter?