Last Friday was kind of a day for us.
Not anything terrible, just typical life with a baby. She was a little clingy, and it seemed like every time I tried to put her down, she would cry. Not just wimper, but full out rail until I picked her up again. For the most part, this was fine. I was caught up on work, laundry (for the most part), and I didn’t have anything super time consuming planned for dinner, so I had some time to burn just snuggling. I like to consider these opportunities to hold her, rather than obligations, and I know they will be fleeting and gone all too soon.
But, I had scheduled a Walmart pickup for the afternoon, and there were a few things that I did need to get done, which meant some time crying. Particularly as we sat parked at Walmart waiting for them to bring our groceries. (And it wasn’t lost on me that we could be like our fore-mothers before us suffering through this tantrum inside the store instead of in our car privately. Praise be for the Walmart pickup, y’all).
We got our stuff home and unloaded and while I was cooking dinner, after moving her to several different places trying to make her happy, I ended up with Olivia in her high chair in the kitchen with me. I was talking to her, and trying to dance and be goofy as I cooked to keep her entertained, and picked her toys up off the floor no less than 27 million times. And after a few minutes, lo and behold, I got some smiles and laughs. So, what does a mom of this day and age do? Of course, I grab my phone and snap a few pictures.
Any time I have cute pictures, they get sent to the grandmas. Shortly thereafter, I got a text from Steven’s mom saying “Oh, she’s such a happy baby!”. To which I think I replied something along the lines of, “You should have seen us 20 minutes ago. We have not been happy at all today.” She replied that this is how it goes some days, and we both agreed that it was good she was happy now. And honestly, this lasted about another 10 minutes before we were unhappy again.
There is a lot of talk these days about people ending up in a depressive state because they don’t feel like their life measures up to others’ as seen on social media. Social media is a bear– you are allowed glimpses of peoples’ lives that give both inspiration and envy. You can forge and rekindle relationships, and you can choose what you want the world to see in regard to your life.
The usual tagline that accompanies this argument is for you not to let someone else’s “highlight reel” compare to your “behind the scenes”. I get that. People (for the most part) are throwing their best selves out there. Who wants everyone to see their weaknesses and cracks and faults and bad days? This sparks some push back from some people that they are posting their “real life”, that they are “keeping it real”, and they need everyone to know that they are a “real person” and everything isn’t perfect, so they put it all out there.
But here’s the thing. If you were to ask me to offer up one picture from my day on July 6, 2018, it would be one of the three above.
Is that an accurate representation of my entire day that day? Probably not. (Okay, definitely not).
Is that my “real life”? Yes, it was for 20 minutes.
When I look back on this day 10 years from now, do I want to remember the sweet face in that picture, or crocodile tears and screams from the back seat? I’m gonna say the sweet face because that’s what I stopped to take a picture of. I stopped to take a picture of and document and share what I really want to remember, and not all the other junk.
I didn’t share that picture to social media. But I think there’s a reason that our social media feeds have become our “highlight reels”, and it’s not necessarily as sinister as people make it out to be- that we’re all trying to make each other jealous and one-up one another in who’s life can look more perfect.
Maybe it’s because when I look back in 10 years, I only want to remember the good. And for today, I want to focus on the good.
Friday was hard. When your little cries nonstop, it kicks you right in the mama heart because you want to fix it and it also drives you near the end of your sanity. But the break of that little smile and laugh and those flapping arms change everything. It doesn’t matter what happened the rest of the day. That’s the good from the day, and that’s what I want to focus on now and remember later. Am I trying to pretend our life is perfect? Nope. It’s not. And if you ask me what’s happening with us, I’ll honestly probably give you the highlights anyway. Because we have our good moments and hard moments just like everyone else, but I don’t see any reason at all to focus or dwell on the crying when I could be remembering and sharing the smiles. Just because the majority of the pictures of our baby on social media are of her smiling doesn’t mean that’s all she ever does. And just because we have some not so great moments doesn’t mean I need to broadcast those as well just to be “real”.
The next time you are scrolling through someone’s thoughtfully curated Instagram or Facebook feed, don’t assume their days are “perfect” or that they’re trying to portray that they are. They’re not. No one’s are. But maybe they have also decided that these were the things that were good and positive and that’s what they want to share with this world and remember as well. We all need a little (lot) less complaining, whining, hatefulness, unkindness, sadness, and negativity. I’m going to stick to sharing and focusing on the positive, happy, kindness, goodness, love, smiles, and love.
And just out of full disclosure, as I was mulling this subject over later on Friday night, I decided to snap a few pictures of the not as pretty moments, one that probably more accurately represents the day. I tried to have a slice of chocolate cake after dinner and Olivia still wanted to be held. She fell asleep all wonky like this and I just held her and still ate my cake. Even though it was a little frustrating at the time, I kinda laugh when I look at the picture, too. I think I’ll be glad I have this to remember this day, too.
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