My friend shared an article today, We Need to Quit Telling Lies on Facebook. I smiled and nodded my way through it, and then I remembered the photo I took a little bit before which was just awaiting the perfect filter so it could be slapped up on Facebook.
Look! A frolicking fall day with my perfect, precocious toddler!
And I laughed.
So in the name of honesty, I’d like to share what really happened leading up to this Facebookable moment:
- While I was showering, the baby started crying. She was in the Rock and Play in the bathroom with me, but my singing wasn’t doing it for her, so I called out to my toddler to please bring her a toy in hopes that would stop the crying long enough for me to rinse off. (Questionable Parenting Moment#1: Child Labor)
- My toddler did bring something to help the crying baby. A bottle of breastmilk that had been left out overnight. (Questionable Parenting Moment #2: Leaving that bottle out and within reach of tiny toddler hands)
- I wasn’t sure if I jumped from the shower in time to get it away before the baby drank any, but the crying, burping, and gas quickly told me I did not. (Questionable Parenting Moments #3 & 4: Not watching closely enough & terrible reflexes)
- A bit later, after changing the baby, I walked out of the nursery to find my daughter with no less than 15 wipes in her hand, saying “I’m going to clean the honey mess, Mommy. It’s ok!” (Questionable Parenting Moment #5: Leaving the medicinal honey out..somewhere. After waking a few times in the middle of the night to administer it to soothe her cough, I truly have no clue where I left that blasted little Sue Bee honey bear).
- While I cleaned the honey, my toddler got too quiet. I found her in the corner. Having what we’ll just call a moment of potty training forgetfulness.
- And all these questionable parenting moments are happening because I’m a mental wreck due to the fact that the baby is in her 3rd week of waking 5-9 times a night. (Questionable Parenting Moment #6: I don’t know how, exactly, but I’m sure it’s somehow my fault that neither of my children saw fit to sleep during the first year of their life).
- When I snapped the photo above, my still-wet hair was pulled into a bun and I was wearing yoga pants and yesterday’s shirt. I used to say not-nice things about SAHMs who wore yoga pants all day despite absolutely no intention of doing yoga or any actual exercise. Let me promise you that I have no intention of doing yoga today. This, my friends, is karma.
- It wasn’t even noon yet. So, yes, I had to laugh.
So that is the reality behind the cuteness. As the author of the post states, “I’m not a total liar. I’m just good at PR.”
I’m sure we all know that Facebook is tricking us by now. But I wonder if it’s tricking us more than we even know. I wonder if it’s fooling us into thinking those “likes” or “so cutes!” on pictures is a meaningful exchange.
Two days ago, also suffering from the prolonged lack of sleep, I was shopping at Publix. My toddler was a doll in her lady bug costume wings and tutu. My baby was an angel, sleeping on my chest in her Beco as I shopped. I turned onto the cereal aisle and passed a perfectly coiffed, perfectly adorned, perfectly glowing pregnant woman. She saw my two girls and I saw her eyes light up. Hell, I saw her uterus light up. And I was annoyed. “No, no.” I wanted to tell her. “It’s not what it looks like.” The truth was, the ladybug costume was a ploy to trick my toddler into dressing because putting clothes on has become an issue. Every. Morning. The baby was sleeping, because goodness knows, she wasn’t doing it at night. Plus, my oldest had been sick, meaning that she was also up multiple times every night for several nights running. It was the perfect storm and I reached my limit that day. I’m not using a bit of hyperbole when I say that I almost sat down in front of the cottage cheese. I was so far past exhaustion that I didn’t know how I was going to put one foot in front of the other, pushing the cart and carrying the baby. So I just stopped. I don’t know how long. At some point, my toddler turned around and said, “Mommy, what are we DOING??” So I kept going.
In moments like this, I’m starting to realize that our support network, while harder to create at this point in our life, is more important than ever before. Since I don’t have family nearby, I need to work on these relationships. Someone I can call to pick up the kids for just an hour while I sleep. Someone who can call me when the tides shift and I am in a place where I can return the favor. I have met so many wonderful friends, but I fear I haven’t cultivated them to the next level. The level where I don’t have to have it together. The level where I don’t get self-conscious reaching out, convinced that I’m a bother because they’re surely going through the same thing. When in reality, I should be reaching out because they’re going through the same thing. And I wonder if I let these relationships stall out because on most days I can feel lulled into a sense of warm fuzzies based on our Facebook knowledge of each other.
My membership in several mom groups on Facebook has given me more than I can possibly explain, and it’s what has gotten me this far into the parenting journey. I’m so grateful for these mothers who have helped me over the last 3 years – those I know in person and those I only wish I did. But it’s time to cultivate the in-person relationships with more laughing (or crying) over coffee (or chocolate). So, who wants to come over? I’ll Instagram it.