They say you only get one shot to make a first impression. Whether or not what you portray is the truth, a farce or somewhere in between, it’s always a challenge to leave the impression you want. They also say a picture is worth a thousand words. The remarkable thing about modern communication and social media is that when you post a picture, you are subject to the thousand words of each and every viewer.
I love to post photos on Instagram. I dig the filters that enhance the colors and make an image pop. I am enamored of the printing options by various vendors (2″x2″ magnets cover my fridge, tiny square stickers are on the notes I put in the girls’ lunch bags for school, and a memory game made up of our family pictures was an awesome gift for my little Valentines). I don’t post often on Facebook, because I think if people want to see my pictures, they can follow me on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, allows your followers to post comments and, as always, make judgements. Luckily, recent comments on my photos have included compliments about my parenting. (Thanks for that!)
Always being more than a bit uncomfortable with excessive praise, I am left feeling like a fraud. I have the strong desire to post a picture of a morning meltdown. It happens almost everyday when we try to get out the door for school. I raise my voice (ok sometimes it sounds more like a yell), someone cries, and we are always late to school. This is neither fun nor is it good parenting. But, I don’t share these moments because that’s not the impression I want to leave. Not just for the people who look at my Instagram posts, but really for my kids. I don’t want them to look back at our family photos and remember those rough morning times. Sure, they’ll remember them anyway, but do they really need a photo reminder? Isn’t it better to remember the fun things we do together?
While I’m much more comfortable erring on the side of self-deprecation and have the desire to post awful pictures of myself, I refrain from doing so. Is it really that bad for people to think that it’s all fun and games over here? I know the kind of mom I am and it’s all an exercise in balance. My friends and family know the truth. My kids know who I am and it’s somewhere between the fun, cool mom who appears on Instagram with crafts, science projects and home-baked cookies and the evil clock-watcher who is saying, “Buckle yourself in! Do we really have to be late EVERY morning?!?” I just hope that when the kiddies remember their childhood, they recall with fondness the version of me that’s more Instagram Mom and less Mommie Dearest.