Parenting is hard work. And when you have a child with special needs, the job becomes that much tougher. So forgive me if I only post the happy moments on Facebook, a practice that’s been dubbed “Fakebooking.”
Instead of telling my network of friends, acquaintances, fellow writers and PR associates how my autistic son had two night terrors last night resulting in a terrible night’s sleep for both of us, I post the video of him skiing at COP. Instead of complaining about my daughter’s hazardously messy room (a going concern), I post a cute picture of her making a Valentine’s Day craft. The posts, of course, reflect well on me: rather than coming across as a tired, nagging mom who loves a good pity party, I project the image of a tireless, together mom who has all the time and desire in the world to take my tykes skiing and then tackle crafts with them (I die a little inside every time the finger paint comes out, truthfully).
The posts are true, but they portray the smoke-and-mirrors version of my life. A day in my real life involves tears, tantrums, stress, worry and fatigue. As a family therapist I interviewed recently said, “Life is always way messier than we’d like it to be.”
Bloggers have been calling out the guilty (me!), accusing them of airbrushing and Instagramming real life in an effort to get “likes” on Facebook. But instead of condemning Fakebooking, a story in the Huffington Post asked, “Is putting your best parenting foot forward really so wrong?”
I have to agree, and defend my position. Just as I don’t want to read about my friends’ parenting or personal challenges in such a public and impersonal forum, neither do I want to share my daily struggles and become the virtual equivalent of a Debbie Downer. There’s a time and place to confide in close friends about life’s lows, and that place is not on Facebook.
So, until the next girls’ night out with wine and whine, I’ll keep posting the cute, the funny and the inspirational. Parenting is challenging for everyone, so why not get a virtual high-five to celebrate its successes?
Great post! I am the queen of Fakeboking & I have only recently realized that everyone else is too.
Haha! Thanks for the feedback.
Great post! I am the queen of Fakebooking and only recently realized that everyone else is too.
I won’t condemn anyone for Fakebooking, but I admit, I’ve always wondered why the eff everyone else’s life always seems so great when mine is seemingly falling apart. Admittedly, I often suffer from Facebook envy as a result of these Fakebookings. A blog post like this, which is honest and relate-able, is so much better and makes me feel less alone in this hard world of parenting and what sometimes feels like my own misery. Thanks Lisa for sharing.
You’re welcome. I can relate to your Facebook-Fakebook envy 🙂
Love your posts. It’s an interesting argument, Fakebooking. Sometimes I get frustrated by it, the perfectly polished version of everyone else’s life when my own can feel so rough around the edges. Life is messy (I too shudder when it comes time to “paint”) and special needs parenting can feel extra messy. But it’s also hard to have those conversations online. To say I’m having a hard day when those reading might not understand the unique reasons for it. Sometimes it is easier just to say nothing and move on. And really, is it so bad to want to write down the positive happy memories and let the rest go?
But it is also great to share a taste of what is happening behind the curtain. To be real about the fact that we are none of us perfect and have a good laugh. It’s a tough call.
Our parents didn’t tend to place photographs of their worst parenting moments into carefully preserved albums either. And I doubt we’d call these family photo albums Fakebooking. In the end, it’s all just life.
You have such a lovely way with words, Sarah 🙂 Thank you for your comment. I agree, our parents edited the family album and I’m glad for it!