Yesterday I posted this photo to Instagram (and syndicated it to Facebook). It’s one of the first times that Julia has ever held Luca’s hand in public, and it was so cute that I could barely handle it. My heart filled with joy as a mom, and I wanted to share it with my friends. Within a day of posting it had 50 likes on Facebook and 22 on Instagram.
I crystallized a beautiful and real moment and wanted to share it with my friends. But that’s the thing about social media – it showcases just a moment. As any parent can tell you, this parenting thing is a twenty four hour grind made up of a multitude of moments, only a few of which are this good each day. It’s the exact reason you cling to them, the exact reason you want to share them, but it can also create a false sense of what your life is like to those who see your feed.
In the post, I included my #truthinparenting hashtag, which is how this blog got it’s name. I started sharing my struggles with parenthood on social using this hashtag a few years ago, and it was those stories that drew other moms to my honesty and eventually convinced me to start blogging to spread the message further. But I committed to myself a few years ago that I should use the hashtag for good stuff too. If you lose sight of the good, there is no life boat to cling to on a bad mom day.
So I posted that picture yesterday because it was almost oppressively cute. But later, I felt guilty (and yes, we should definitely talk to about mom guilt sometime soon). I felt guilty because of all the things the picture doesn’t say. This was taken at the spring festival thrown by our school district. Julia and I went alone last year but I wanted Luca and Brian to join in on the fun this time. But it wasn’t turning out so fun by the time this pic was taken. First, Brian and I argued about the parking spot, which was technically not a legit space on the school grounds but which I was 98% confident they wouldn’t ticket us for (for the record, they didn’t). Julia started crying in the car when it looked like Brian might need to circle the huge lot again to find something legal. Then once I convinced him and we hopped out, it was raining and I couldn’t get Luca’s stroller to fully open. The family, cranky and impatient, implored me to leave the stroller in the car. Which meant that I ended up carrying not just my purse, but also a diaper bag, craft projects, balloon animals and everyone’s jackets, instead of stashing all that in the stroller. It also meant that instead of Luca just chillin’, he was running around like a tiny wild bronco which took a lot more energy from both of us to reign him in.
I should also mention that returning to the car two hours later, we discovered that the stroller hadn’t been pushed far enough into the back of the SUV when I hastily returned it. So the remote close for the trunk had sprung back up without us knowing and had been open the entire time we’d been at the fair. Thankfully the rain hadn’t soaked the interior and no one had stolen anything from our car or the car itself, so I’ll take that one as a win. Also, Brian did not lose his will to live immediately upon seeing this, which I will also take as a huge win. As someone who grew up in a rough-ish (at the time) part of a Brooklyn, it took him several years in the suburbs before he stopped using the club on our steering wheel and folding in the side view mirrors.
I’m sharing this with you guys not because it was extraordinarily terrible, or cancels out the bliss I felt seeing my little peanuts rocking the sibling love, but I felt it was important to keep it real with you. Mom tip: Just remember what you see on social isn’t ever the full story, but it’s still OK to share the moments that keep you sane.