My Social Media Life Vs. My Real Life

You know those happy family portraits from your friends that pop up in your Facebook feed while you are having a crappy day? Don’t let the things get you down. I am here to tell you that they are not true. I used to post pictures of how perfect my life was while in the background it was breaking into a million little pieces. I hid the imperfections, the failures and the fears behind happy photos with heartwarming captions. 

When I posted that picture of my husband (at the time) and the flowers he had waiting for me at home along with a newly cleaned house and I captioned it with how lucky I was blah blah blah (barf!). . . What I was hiding with that picture was that a few nights prior he had come home drunk . . . again, and mad that I was on the phone with my mother and not liking the way I loaded the dishwasher. That rage turned into a verbal attack of my character, my looks, parenting skills and my future and then ended up with his fist through our wall and a promise that if I didn’t listen to him I would not be happy with the consequences.  A few nights before that, he didn’t bother to come home at all, it interfered with the affair he was having.  I never mentioned any of this in my post.

When I posted the picture of my daughter smiling in her autism shirt and I said how her smile lit up my heart and I was so over the moon in love with being her mom no matter her differences . . . What I was hiding was I had slept for about 2 hours the night before, and they were not in a row. My daughter had woken up several times due to her autism and sensory issues and thought it was time to play in the middle of the night. What I didn’t mention was that the 24 hours prior to that I had battled her to eat meals, get dressed, go to school, basically do anything but yell. Meltdown after meltdown made it hard to leave the house for that time period and I was in belief that the only word she was interested in was NO! (Please don’t get me wrong I do love my daughter unconditionally and feel I was born to be her mom but I never mentioned how hard it was)

When I posted that quote about being a strong, independent woman and then I wrote that I was so happy with the progress I had made in starting my new life as a single mom. . .What I was hiding with that post was I was scared shitless. While being out of an abusive marriage was a step in the right direction I was strapped for cash, not having any time to myself, realizing how many things I did not know how to do around the house, and feeling soooooo incredibly lonely. I was pretty sure I would be alone, poor, and confused for the rest of my life, some strength and independence that was!

When I posted about my new boyfriend and our kids playing on New Year’s Day and I said I was so happy they got along and what a wonderful year this was going to be. . . What I was hiding was his daughter drove me and my daughter absolutely NUTS! I mean I have never been around a child that needed that much attention in my life. It was a constant circus and as much as I loved my boyfriend at the time I could not wait to go home after that weekend! I also didn’t mention that I was noticing our relationship changing and I was not sure we would make it through the year (Spoiler alert: we did not!).  He went from thinking I was an amazing woman to thinking that I did nothing right. I was too overweight, I didn’t dress in the style he liked, I let my nail polish chip, and I was too involved with my child. A great year? It was a miserable two months before we finally ended it but no one on social media knew that.

When I posted about the next guy I dated and I hash tagged it #newbeginnings(corny I know). . .What I was hiding then was I was scared to even begin anything. What would make it work with this guy when it had failed with all the others? He was amazing with my daughter and we had a lot in common but what about the red flags I was already seeing? The girls that would text him all the time, the fact that he didn’t want me to meet anyone in his life, that he was always at the bar spending most of his time and money and when he could squeeze me in I was expected to be relieved to see him and pay for everything.  If this was the “new beginning”, how would the end be? (Another spoiler: this guy ended up to be a good guy and I was just over reacting to red flags and the kinks got worked out)

When I posted the picture of the firetruck at my old job with cancer awareness banners on them and I said that I was happy to work for a place that cared about the well being of people . . . What I was hiding is that this was the most toxic place I had ever worked. The people in my department couldn’t give two shits about the well being of anyone (ironic being that they were in emergency services but that is a whole different story). I woke up miserable every day that I had to go there but it was a well-kept secret on my profile feeds.

What I am telling you is that we never know what is behind a picture so we can’t let it affect our lives. What we can do is start the trend to be more honest about our lives on social media. To let others know that it sucks for us too sometimes! That life happens.  I have come a long way. If something good happened I will still share it but it will be true and it will be posted along with all the bad things, all the stresses, the funny times, the sad times, the real times. It is scary to be out there saying “hey this shit isn’t perfect and TOTALLY not how I thought my life would be but I am surviving”. But you know what else it is? It is freeing and I encourage you to try it!

Our Duty as Parents on Memorial Day

Monday is Memorial Day. It is a day when we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Those sons, daughters, husbands, wives, friends etc. who did not come home. It is a somber occasion but one that can be filled with a lot of importance, respect and gratitude.

So as parents, what should we be doing? I believe it is our responsibility to always teach respect for our country and our soldiers to the next generation and Memorial Day is a great time to start those conversations and lessons.

Most young children have not experienced war (luckily). They do not know about the World Wars, Vietnam, and Korea, our protection in Bosnia, the Dominican Republic, and so many other countries. They were not around to witness the horror of 9/11 or the wars to follow that. Some may have scraped the surface of the topic in history classes but I can tell you that I learned a lot more about other things in history then I ever did about wars, and our military.  Most of our children are still living in innocence and while as parents we want to maintain that for as long as possible we also want to teach them gratitude. Gratitude for all those who have sacrificed their comforts, family, health and lives to protect us and our free country.

There are numerous ways to do this depending on the age group and again it does not have to be overwhelming. Some ways to approach this topic are:

  • Go to a local veteran cemetery, talk about the people buried there and the flags around the grounds in honor of them. Leave some flowers and a nice note by a monument there.
  • Pause at 3pm. Where ever you are, stop at 3pm to take a moment of silence for a fallen solider. Have a brief conversation before the moment so your children know the meaning behind it.
  • Wear a red poppy.  The red poppy became a symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers in 1918.
  • Have your child help you hang your flag  at your home ( please note: it should be flown at half-staff from dawn to noon)
  • Attend a local parade or watch the national parade on TV
  • While Memorial Day is for fallen soldiers it would still be nice to have your child write a letter or draw a picture for current soldiers or Veterans (especially those in veteran hospitals and care facilities). Maybe even bring a snack to an elderly Veteran’s home.

Whichever way you chose to share information about this day with your child, the most important thing is that they realize this is not an extra day off from school, it is not the beginning of the summer season, or a time for the best sales. It is a day to memorialize those who sacrificed for us and our country and their sacrifice shall never be forgotten.