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?