Yesterday I published fake news on Facebook. Okay, it wasn't entirely fake. We did go for a morning walk at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area and the weather was beautiful. And, yes, my kids really were smiling in the photos- I didn't photoshop other children's faces onto them. While the version of our day that came through in the pictures wasn't perfect- our happy faces look exhausted from a tough night the night before and I hadn't tried to hide that with makeup (because one doesn't wear makeup to go hiking, duh)- the fact that they were what I shared after the day we really had makes me a big fat liar.
After all, what you see on Facebook is more of a highlight reel of people's lives than it is their real lives. On social media, people post pictures of their best dressed, most put together selves, as if trying to look perfect to the outside world. Sure, I'm guilty of this, but hear me out...
First of all, anyone who knows me can attest that I'm nowhere near perfect, so no matter how much we can pull it together for a fleeting moment when a photo is taken, we're not fooling anyone! Secondly, how quickly would you unfollow me if all I posted was pictures of my kids throwing tantrums and the piles of laundry I haven't gotten done? Trust me, no one wants to see that!
When I was a kid, the family photo album was the highlight reel. In them you'd find pictures of us smiling in our Sunday best on the way to church, sitting on the deck of my Pop-pop's sail boat, and having sleepovers with our cousins. My mom was so good at printing photos and keeping these albums up to date. Is that what daily life was like in our house growing up? Heck no, but those are the moments that my mother wanted to document and preserve and I really believe that those pictures helped solidify those memories.
Don't get me wrong, I am 100% on board with the comic relief of a ridiculous toddler story, an occasional rant about disrupted sleep, and self-depreciating humor about the poor footwear choices I've made. But the real reason that most of my posts do and will continue to contain pictures of my kids in cute outfits looking sweet is because those are the moments that I want to photograph. Those are the moments I want to remember.
Yesterday was not a perfect day. We started the day with a beautiful walk that ended with me hurting my back while giving my preschooler a piggy back ride while also wearing my toddler in a baby carrier because both kids wanted me at the same time. After we made it to the car, we came home and no one liked the lunch I made except the dog. The baby didn't nap as long as she usually does because she was woken by the very loud tantrums of an angry older brother who was mad because... I can't remember why.
As I'm writing this I'm reminded of the last time we took a family "vacation." For the record, cross-country travel with two small children is not a vacation. Whether the approximately 5 happy hours at the beach were worth the 8 hours of torture on the plane and throwing our sleep out the window for months following the trip, is up for debate, but in the pictures we look like we had the time of our lives. It was on this trip that we coined a saying you'll hear a lot in our house: "Quick! No one's crying, take a picture!"
Sharing real stories on social media that aren't sugar coated or wearing any makeup has some value. Of course it does. We can all relate to each other better when we let our hair down, have a sense of humor, and say it like it is. But at the end of the day when I'm documenting my life, my kids lives? I like the Facebook version better. The Facebook version is the version I want to frame on the wall for us all to remember.