Are You Keeping Secrets?

Image via iStock/AleksandarNakic
Image via iStock/AleksandarNakic

“Being a parent makes me mediocre at everything, even parenting. It's something I've known for a while, but this is the first time I'm making the confession public. And I would argue most parents aren't very good at much else either, because being a parent is tough, especially a working parent, and once the day is over and the kids are tucked in bed, all I really want to do is drink a glass of wine in my pajamas and watch mindless TV.” – Megan Davies Mennes

What you don't see between the stories and smiles is reality. 

How did we get here? At what point did we soak in the streams of public postings that prove parenting success (on Facebook, Twitter, and all other avenues for social significance) and dry off with the unconscious decision to compete for Parent of the Year?

Today, Suzie took her kids to the park. And Sally handmade two-story gingerbread houses – without a store-bought, pre-prepared kit (she actually mixed ingredients and baked) – with her children after naptime. And after Christopher surprised Sarah-Jane by coming home from work early, their family went outside and jumped in a huge pile of raked leaves.

Suzie, Sally, and Sarah-Jane all conveniently had their cell phones handy, and … wait for it … it’s a Perfect Picture Moment!

A few Facebook status updates and profile picture replacements later, everyone virtually connected to Suzie, Sally, and Sarah-Jane has solid proof: there is, in fact, perfect love at home!

Megan Davies Mennes, author of this recent article, wrote it beautifully when she stated, “What you don't see between the stories and smiles is reality. We are not perfect parents, and the aforementioned moments are only captured and shared because they make us look like we know what we're doing. They validate for us that our kids are sometimes doing what we ask and we are sometimes fulfilling the vision we had for ourselves before becoming parents. The reality is far different.”

I will admit that my reality is more in line with the life Mennes describes in her article. However, I mostly post pictures that capture the happier moments too. And not because they are a faithful portrayal of my everyday life, but because they are the moments I choose to share. When I scroll through my update history, I see smiles, laughter, and genuine happiness. This is what I want to remember. This is what I want others to see. But I also post photos of moments that aren’t so fun, because the good and the bad go hand-in-hand. I confess that the posts from friends who only share smiles and joy overwhelm me, and compel inner reflections that include, “Am I doing enough? Is my family lacking somehow? Can I find additional minutes to spare for more quality time? Are we giggling as often as we should be?” I’d love to see just one photo of a screaming, misbehaved child, or a living room floor that’s littered with toys and food crumbs, from these friends.

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Mennes shared photos, proving that she refuses “to pretend that we are perfect parents and that the sun is always shining in our house. Sometimes it's not. And that's OK. Because perfection is an awfully tall order to fill, and I have better things to do than attain impossible goals.”

I’m going to join her, and share the truth behind a few of my previously shared moments with you all.

4th of July! What you didn't see …
a lot of crying and whining due to many bugs, and many bug bites.

Dinner on vacation with friends! What you didn't see …
the subsequent tantrums due to being out in public during bedtime.

Family Beach Day! What you didn't see …
only two hours later, an unexpected “trip” to the local Emergency Room.

 Pumpkin Carving! What you didn't see …
you know, this picture is pretty accurate.

Social sharing with the truth – both the good and bad – can you do it? Say it loud and say it proud, because the truth will only set us free from this strange need for social admiration and praise!

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Do you mostly share photos depicting happier times, or do you mix it up with a bit of parenting gloom too?

What do you think?

Are You Keeping Secrets?

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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1 comment

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    I am guilty as charged! I post mostly happier moments. Not because I want perfection but I want to keep not-so-good-moments a bit private. My close friends & family know the real score anyway. I don’t want to be judged by “bashers, haters” nor scourned by others with What the… I careless attitude. I don’t want the social media world knows my problems. Life isn’t perfect but I want choose my own (social media) battles. 🙂

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