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Is Facebook Fabulous Your Real Life?

Written by Guest blogger

Shelley Lenssen

It’s Spring Break. That means every family in town has packed up and flown off to some exotic and beautiful vacation destination. The kids are all smiles in their new bathing suits on the beach, and the parents look relaxed and well-rested posing with drinks by the pool. Life is perfect and wonderful and fabulous, right? If I believed every single post and picture on my Facebook feed, then yes, I’d have to say that for many of my family and friends, life is pretty dang perfect. It also seems like my little family is the only one in the whole world not on vacation, the only one with kids who fight and parents who look stressed. If I’m comparing their Facebook Lives to my Real Life, mine loses every single time.

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This doesn’t just go for vacations. I get jealous of others’ Facebook Fabulous lives in other ways too. I compare a friend’s “I LOVE my new car!” post with my “We’re fixing this piece-of-crap again?” reality. Another friend’s shiny pictures of her newly remodeled kitchen make me look at my stained tile and aging appliances with disgust. Posts of other moms putting on cutesy kids’ scavenger hunts, backyard campouts, and Pinterest Perfect birthday parties make me feel like the lamest mom ever.

All of this comparison inspired me to inspect my own Facebook profile. Is there anything on social media that others would be jealous of? Could anyone possibly be comparing their Real Life with my Facebook Life and feeling like a complete failure? As much as I’d like my posts and pictures to be an honest reflection of what’s real, I could see I was only sharing the best and forgetting the less-than-lovely rest.

A recent post shows my two daughters smiling for photos at a science exhibit outing (of course, no photos of the toddler throwing an epic tantrum in the hallway). Another post shows our family enjoying a long weekend road trip full of museum stops, lots of playtime, and general merriment. (There are no mentions of whiney, road-weary children, spilled snacks in the backseat, or parents arguing over driving directions and where to stop for lunch.) If all anyone knew about me came from what I posted on Facebook, they’d think I’m a super fun mommy who constantly takes her kids on educational excursions and is always up for spontaneous weekend adventures. I sincerely hope no mom has ever felt “less-than” after reading something I posted, but I can see how I might be part of the problem.

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The phrase “comparison is the thief of joy,” seems especially relevant in this social media age. If I’m constantly feeling like my house/car/parties/trips don’t measure up, then I’m not enjoying my life as it is right now. When I feel sorry for myself and think others have the perfect Facebook Fabulous life, I miss out on the real, messy, and pretty awesome life happening right now in front of me, and not on a screen.