‘Fake Happy’ Photos Spark Debate About Social Media Culture and Parenting
When you scroll through all those happy photos on social media, do you ever feel a little depressed? How are all these people so much happier than you? Doing better than you? Have their life SO much more together than you do?
News flash: Social media is a farce. While you probably know that people tend to post only the happy moments, did you know that, many times, these happy moments may also be staged?
One mom named Jen Flint actually witnessed this happening right in front of her eyes. She was at the pool and couldn’t help but notice one mom taking out a tripod to take a photo of her daughter in the pool. The mom even went so far as to spread out pool toys and sunscreen on a matching towel in front of her.
“Little One asked to get in the pool. Mama said wait and then posed her daughter in front of the pool, then going into the pool and then coming back out of the pool,” Jen recalled in a now-viral Facebook post. “Little one smiled big and said ‘cheese’ like she’d done it a million times. Then Mama told her she could play.”
Jen continued to explain that she watched the little girl swim around after the photoshoot, asking her mom repeatedly to come play with her in the pool—but the mom sat on the phone with her friend, completely ignoring her. Jen then watched the mom pack everything up and leave with her daughter, without ever playing with her in the water.
“I sat there thinking about what I’d witnessed for awhile afterwards,” Jen wrote. “I imagined the photos she took being perfectly edited and posted to social media with a caption like ‘Pool time with my girly! #Makingmemories.’”
She then explained why exactly this type of behavior could be so detrimental to other moms who see her beautifully crafted—yet unrealistic—post.
“Somewhere another Mama is going to be at home with her children, the house a mess from their play, her hair unruly from a day of mothering and her clothes dirty with spit up or peanut butter,” Jen wrote. “She’s going to be tired because she’s spent her day cooking, caring, cleaning and playing with her children. She’s going to look at that photo and she is going to compare herself to the perfect Mama at the pool. “
She went on to explain that this mom will, of course, think that she isn’t “good enough.” “She’s going to feel like a failure. Ugh!!” Jen wrote. “She’ll never know that how she spent her time that day was so much better in her children’s eyes than that ‘perfect Mama’ at the pool.”
The takeaway Jen wants other moms to realize? Social media isn’t always real, and, even though it’s hard, resist the urge to compare yourself to someone you don’t know on social media. “You ARE enough!” she said. “You are amazing and the very best part is that you are REAL! Your dirty shirt and your messy house and your happy children are real and they are proof that you are doing it right!”
Amen! Have you ever compared yourself to someone you didn’t know on social media?