Smiling faces are flooding my social media feed. Those with caps and gowns beam with pride in their accomplishments, flanked on all sides by joyful family members. Their eyes are all glistening - is that glare of the flash or a glimmering tear behind the happy mask?
Scroll. In the next picture, the excited smiles are holding backpacks ready to leap into their last day of school, giddy with the knowledge summer vacation is only a few hours away.
Scroll. Sun-kissed, relaxed smiles in vacation mode on a far-a-way beach. Summer has not only started, but they are already off enjoying it.
These smiling faces greet me multiple times a day and instantly reconnect me to relatives, former classmates or dear friends, no matter how many miles separate us. It’s a bright spot in my day and a moment of relief from whatever stressors are surrounding me at the time. The smiles on the screen are always doing something much more fun than I am in that moment. I wish I was There, floats around in my head, whether I realize it or not, until I am able to pull myself out of their world back to my own.
Mentally, we all know social media posts imply a level of perfection that is not reality. But from our exhausted, stressed out, overwhelmed or even bored, vantage point it’s easy for us to unconsciously slip into feeling sorry for ourselves for not having our own smiling faces to post. No one ever posts a smiling picture while folding laundry or putting away groceries or washing the dishes.
Pictures capture a millisecond in time that would be lost forever if you hadn’t clicked at just the right moment. The pictures shared on social media are the ones deemed good enough to share, who knows how many other pictures were taken that didn’t make the cut. Wouldn’t it be funny if we had to post all the pictures on the roll, just to get a glimpse at what really happened?
As the summer days get longer, and tempers get shorter, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everyone else’s social media smiles. Sure, the graduation, championship game and vacation pics are fun to look at, but don’t overlook the everyday smiles surrounding you in the quiet, simple moments.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.