Pictures are funny things.
Although they clearly convey the scene in a crisp image, they can’t always capture the moment in full detail. Like the early morning wake up for example or even a trip to the shops with all 3 kids in tow.
They give you an impression of what’s going on in that moment and, because there is nothing obviously wrong, you assume that everything is great, make a metal note if anything stood out to you – maybe even ♥ the picture on Instagram and move along.
Take this picture for example.
Sometimes when we see a picture, we turn into some kind of Mentalist with a Sherlock Holmes complex and make all sorts of deductions about what we are seeing. And without further ado, if you made any of these assumptions you would be totally right:
Clearly it was a stunningly hot day in Cape Town when I got home to find my kids kitted out in their costumes, nice and cool after a dip in the pool. We played in the front garden of Ga’s house before we sat down in the cool shade to have a cup of tea and chat about their day at school. Riya was caught up in demonstrating her mad skills at balancing the full cup of tea on her lap while Kyla was content to look super cute with her crossed legs and frantically blow her tea to try and cool it down.
I know right? How cute are these girls!
What you can’t see is that immediately after this picture, I literally had to shout, “NO! You do NOT spit in your tea!!” which then had to be followed up with a, “I’m serious, do it again and see what happens!”.
To which they responded by completely ignoring me and doing it anyway.
And then I was kind of at a loss of the follow up to “seeing what happens” because I really didn’t think that they would push me this far, so I just made them finish the tea with their spit in it. Which was in no way any kind of punishment because that’s what their intention was anyway! (And you thought only boys were gross!)
Anyway, it got me thinking (as I have done so many time before) that people assume that the life that people put onto various forms of social media is the ONLY thing that happens in their lives. For example, they are always at awesome places, eating amazing food, surrounded by trendy people and well behaved, magnificently dressed children. Obviously no one wants to post pictures of that unpaid rates bill, or their half painted house, or the pimples on their face, or the fact that all of their 3 kids happened to get the flu AND pink eye at the same time and they haven’t slept properly in 3 days (can you tell that I am listing things that are really going on in my life right now?!)
Why do we lose sight of the fact that no one could ever only be the good things? We all have financial problems in some way or another, we all have stresses in our lives that make us edgy and unpleasant to be around every now and then, we all have people in our lives that upset us, as Moms we’ve shouted at our kids in a tone that we never even knew possible and I’m sure every woman out there has had a time where they were just miserable and not even able to explain why.
I think that if you are going to put yourself out there for all the social media world to see, it should be about balance and about being aware of one another and the perception that we are (sometimes unintentionally) creating. By all means, share the fun stuff – most stable, rational people should be happy for your happiness, but don’t be afraid to share the real life stuff too. And at the same time, don’t bog yourself down by only following/connecting with people that leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth – the ones that only ever complain.
I guess what I’m getting at is that this was totally not the way that I had intended this post to go, but sometimes I just can’t control the ramblings in my head. This has been something that I have noticed a lot on Twitter especially in the last couple of weeks and it makes me sad. I hope that I don’t ever create the impression that I have always got it altogether, because that would be an incredibly presumptuous lie.
Do you struggle with social media in this way?