As I sit here writing this, it’s after 10 on a weeknight. My hair is a mess, I’m wearing the most unflattering pair of mom jeans and I’m pretty sure I’m on my 4th glass of wine. Not that the wine part is a bad thing but I’ve realised that, having just turned 37, this is what my life looks like.
It’s messy, and at times mundane.
That’s the truth of it.
On social media, I may post cute pictures of my kids because they’re, well, cute. However it’s also a convenient way of showing the shiny side of my life without me being in the picture. Here’s a cute baby in front of a beautiful manor house (not mine). That’s a snapshot of my life today.
That snapshot doesn’t happen to show me…usually looking dishevelled and frumpy behind the camera. It also doesn’t show me changing the billionth nappy of the day…or trying to feed my kids – 2 out of 3 refuse to eat most days. It doesn’t show me losing my shit when my son decides to paint the walls with red pen.
As for the snapshots with the manor houses and regal gardens…yeah, me and every other Brit can enjoy this as they are basically national parks over here. So as much as I’d like to take credit for the beautiful English countryside…I’ll dutifully burst that bubble.
While you guys get the glamour shot on my Instagram or Facebook page, the reality of my world is decidedly less Jane-Austen-romantic.
So why wouldn’t I show the real me? Well, for starters, I want people to enjoy my photos, not feel depressed…or worse…sorry for me.
Don’t misunderstand me…I have a great life. I know I do – but glamorous, it ain’t.
So with this knowledge…and knowing that I’m not posting the “ugly” side of day to day life, I guess I’m just confused as to why I spend so much time wondering if my life stacks up to all of my friends and family’s? Am I really jealous of your life…or just your social media life?
We all know that many of us mums (and everyone really) tend to put this shiny image of our lives on social media and when it all boils down to it, we’ve all got 99 problems – and the kids are just sometimes one.
Like seriously, please tell me that I’m not the only one who is finding this stage in my life hard? Ladies, please stand up and let me know that you are just as frumpy and dishevelled as I am for at least part of your day? And if you’re not…then how the hell do you do it? Like, I want a step-by-step process.
It’s only natural that we all have our “off” days. However as I’ve gotten older I’ve seen friends become kick-ass world dominators. They have beautiful families, they own companies, they have beautiful homes and even more beautiful bodies/hair/make-up/clothes etc. etc. etc.
And I couldn’t be more happy for these people. You amaze me.
But I have to confess: I think I’m jealous of you.
Or maybe it’s just envy?
Nah…I’m completely jealous – like green-eyed, Grade 5, -you-just-stole-my-boyfriend kind of jealous.
I can’t help myself. I feel completely inadequate while scrolling everyone’s pages these days. It’s not at all that I don’t love my life, I just don’t understand how yours always looks so perfect?
Like, how does your house look so clean – please tell me you have a cleaner or I may have to cry. And when do you find time to work out? I have my kids 12-15 hours each day….I’m exhausted all the time. Who helps you? Please tell me you have a live-in nanny or a babysitting grandma next door so you can spend 3-hours a day at the gym to get that kind of a bod?!
There are SO many questions like this that roll through my head as I scroll through the multiple apps on my phone.
It’s enough to drive a girl crazy comparing yourself to everyone else who seems to have a so-called perfect life.
My sisters and I were chatting the other day about whether we could ever completely sign off of social media…like, just walk away. The question arose as we were talking about feeling low, like we are somehow underachieving compared to our peers.
“I couldn’t, it’s the one way I keep in touch with family back home,” was how I answered.
But then I really thought about it and although yes it has served a purpose in me keeping in contact with distant family and friends, it has also acted as an excuse for me to stay…distant. And really, now I just feel a knot of anxiety in my stomach as I scroll through my Facebook or Instagram feeds.
My point here is that, even though you get the snapshots of someone’s life, it doesn’t mean you really know how they’re doing when the camera isn’t on.
For all of my beautiful pictures of my kids and hubby, for example, many friends don’t know that I have a parent who, at 64, is riddled with dementia. I don’t write about that (maybe one day I will) cause it’s all a bit too raw still, even though we’ve been watching this ugly disease steal that parent away for the better part of a decade. There’s no visual way to express this pain…nor do I want to yet.
So, you don’t have the full picture of my life…so why do I assume I get the full picture of yours?
Going back to my original point…I think I’m jealous of the lives I assume everyone has – based on what I see in your news feeds.
Back in the day, pre-social media – which has only been popular for about a decade btw!-our worlds were a lot smaller. Most people could count on two hands the amount of friends they were in contact with.
Nowadays the average person has over 400 “friends”. Sounds great right? But think about the issues that arise with that. 400+ pairs of eyes watching you. We’ve inadvertently opened ourselves up to a huge amount of criticism and judgement. Even a decade ago that kind of scrutiny was only reserved for the public figures and the famous people of the world. No wonder so many mums talk about feeling isolated and paralyzed with anxiety. It’s enough to make you feel not worthy of walking out of the house.
The mentality of “keeping up with the Jones’” has gone into over-drive. The pressure to have the most epic life is real.
And we all have moments when we can honestly say that our lives ARE epic, but they’re not all the time.
I know this. I must remind myself of this every day. “Be the change you want to see in the world”…that’s the quote right? Well just in case anyone was ever envious of me (*cue crickets and tumbleweeds*), you don’t have to worry…I definitely have issues/problems/worries that never make it to the pages of social media.
For the record…I’m still jealous though…
…Bitch has better hair than me.
2 Comments Add yours
Your life sounds amazing I’m well jealous- I can’t cope with wine nowadays!!! Down side of being a mum to littles in your 40s is that you know what you could have been doing instead! Love your honesty you are definitely not alone xx
Ooooh I love what you’ve written. As a single mum I’ve cried at pictures of successful families on their hols or having perfect Sunday dinner – it’s like a jab in my heart, showing what I’ve denied my son because I couldn’t live with his dad any more.
However….recently I’ve heard of 2 social-media-perfect families that have separated, a single “lookie at me, I’ve found a new boyfriend already and you haven’t ” mum who’s had a breakdown, discovered one person who only takes pics at her house in just one room because the rest are a sh*t-tip, and have talked to others who absolutely are trying to gee-up their own lives to themselves by only posting fake happy events/situations there.
I’ve given in trying to ‘sell’ myself by posting only good – I laugh & swear at myself and my foibles…..and have split my friends list into separate groups, keeping the fakes at distance. There are only 2 things I’ve ever kept quiet on there: my single dating life, and the 2 months we had the vile shocking news my eldest brother was terminally ill with cancer (I only did this because he was one of my online friends – didn’t want him reading worries or sadness).
Remember, social media is like the worst mums-at-the-schoolyard-gates type conversations! If little Johnny is playing the piano to concert standards at 9yrs old, know that his mum also isn’t saying he’s still wetting the bed! Ha ha ha 🙂
Ps. I’m in old pj’s as I write this!