Story

A picture tells a thousand words, or does it?

by Liz Marchant

There’s been a lot of talk for a long time, and particularly recently, about the impact of social media and the polishing we do of our lives for social sharing.

While our private lives and challenges can and, in some cases, should be private. Do we do others a disservice by not being real and continually posting an edited version of ourselves online?

Do we do our kids a disservice in the future by painting a rosy picture of their childhoods?

My childhood photos are flat reflections of happy moments and memories. Albums full of a few holiday, Christmas and birthday shots together with school photos. We know though that those were just little windows into our lives and not the daily documentation many people are sharing today.

Now we can take photos of every moment, big or small. And we can choose to share that with the world.

As a working mother, I can’t help but wonder if we do our followers, friends and family a disservice with this misrepresentation.

Do we cause other mums to think they aren’t doing enough? Aren’t good enough?

Or worse, to not confide their personal struggles with a friend because they feel even more alone when they compare their lives with others.

I meet so many mums who look, on social media, like their lives are amazing. They have it all going on, they are nailing the juggle, and I watch absolutely blown away by them. And yet when you really talk to them in person, you often see the reality is the complete opposite of that. They aren’t happy, they are overwhelmed and they are in pain.

Why then do we paint the happy mummy, amazing career, great relationship picture online?

What are we trying to achieve?

Is it the story we are telling ourselves? The story we are hoping to become? Or is it an image we feel we need to uphold?

I’m not sure that the odd ‘keeping it real’ style post is enough, making light of a situation with a hashtag rather than being genuinely candid about our feelings and disappointments.

The dopamine hit we get from social likes gives some joy and connection, but is that what we are striving for? A sense of belonging, recognition and validation on some level?

Obviously, our private lives are just that, and I am certainly not proposing that we share everything online. What’s the happy medium though? What’s the balance? And what does it mean at the end of the day?