Lifting The Veil On Our Facebook Lives

by Holly Schumacher
Originally Published: 
social media lives
DGLimages / iStock

I say veil because that’s what it feels like to me. It’s not that it’s all fake, but there is this thin beautifying filter overlaying our real life experiences.

Lately, my mornings seem to consist of sleepily drinking my morning coffee around 7 a.m. after rousing my three children from their sleep to remind them it’s a school day and ask them to start their morning (or mourning) routine. I usually sit down at our kitchen table, pull out my laptop, and end up on Facebook within 10 minutes.

“What’s on your mind?” I’m asked every morning. Well, thanks for asking, Facebook. I seem to end up posting some sweet or inspirational Pinterest quote, sharing a picture of our family on the latest adventure we’ve taken together, or posting about my excitement for the soon-to-be baby Schumacher to come into this world. Oh, and let’s not forget the selfie! That one I try to save for about once a week — you know, just in case my friends and family have forgotten what my face looks like since then.

The new “memories” feature is usually pretty cool, and I often end up sharing a picture of our kids from a few years ago, thinking how cute they are and how I wish time would slow down. I’ll write something like, “They are so perfect!” and my favorite hashtag #blessed.

A couple of days ago I got an idea and logged out of my Facebook account to see what it looked like from an outside perspective. Dang! What a perfect family! I thought to myself. Seriously, we look so sparkly and outrageously happy in every picture.

It’s not that I intentionally try to fake-out the world by posting what I do. I honestly just really don’t like to be around negative people or read negative things on social media, so I try to keep it upbeat. But I think the important thing to understand is that there is much more to the story than what you see — what we all see as we are browsing, drinking our morning coffee, and usually subconsciously comparing ourselves to every other amazing family.

I can’t stop thinking about what my Facebook account looked like from the outside, though, and I feel the need to get real with you on some things.

I’ll tell you that the selfie I posted was from three weeks ago when I had actually gotten a good night’s sleep and my eyes weren’t puffy. Since I hit the third trimester, I’m lucky if I sleep for more than two hours at a time without jolting awake from a swift kick to the bladder, or racing thoughts and anxiety about delivery, or wondering if I remembered to switch over the laundry, or from my stomach growling at 4 a.m. because, you know, it’s been a whole six hours since I last ate.

I’m currently sitting in the pajamas I’ve worn for the past three nights with greasy hair because my morning sickness has come back with a full vengeance. I just yelled at my kids because they opened another box of cereal when there are already three open that are going stale. The tab open next to Facebook is a Google search of “what is normal vaginal discharge in pregnancy.” I’m so tired I had to be especially mindful not to type that into my Facebook status rather than Google search. The tab next to that is our checking account, to which I give my daily deep sigh when I do the one-eye-opened look — because there are groceries to buy, school pictures to be paid for, sports to sign up for, and that “babymoon” that we’d really love to be able to go on for one last trip before the baby arrives, and there just never seems to be enough.

But you don’t see any of that because that would pretty much uncover the truth that I’m not always this optimistic, healthy eating, yoga doing, makeup wearing, unconditionally understanding, perfectly knowing-it-all mom.

I’m pretty sure the milk I put in my coffee this morning passed its expiration date last week. And that photo I posted of our awesome family looking so happy to be together last week at the beach? That was the one picture that we somehow managed to capture in between Sister elbowing Brother, Brother rolling his eyes and covering his face because he’s recently decided he’s way too cool for family pictures, and my husband and I bickering about how that money should not have been spent on ordering pizza last night. Oh, and please take another, because you can totally see my double chin in that one. But, smile everyone!

Like I said, it’s not all fake. I love my family and personally I think we’re pretty awesome. I love having the ability to use social media to share photos with family who live far away or I don’t see every day. I love posting inspirational quotes in hopes of making someone’s day a little brighter in between all of the crazy political posts and other gut-wrenching things we are bombarded with every day.

It’s just important for us all to remember that Facebook (and all social media for that matter) is real life that has been covered by a veil. The unattractive and unwanted moments are completely filtered out, leaving you only to see the best in everyone’s lives. So don’t compare yourself while doing your morning scrolling. All of our eyes are puffy right now. All of us have some weird Google searches going on right now. (Don’t lie!) We may not all sigh when looking at our checking account balance, but we all have “stuff.”

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