Huffpost Parents
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

BabyPost Headshot

Facebook Pics Can Be Happier Than Real Life, and That's OK

Posted: Updated:

A recent blog on Parenting.com got me wondering, are the lives we present on Facebook real? And should they necessarily have to be?

The writer of the blog opted to not post an adorable picture of her children because they looked far happier than they actually were, and suggested a far more congenial relationship than actually existed at the time.

"I thought about posting it on Facebook because I was proud of our little snowman and I wanted to tag my cousins who got us the awesome snowman kit but then I thought...nope, can't do it. The kids look too cute and happy and sweet. And they honestly were none of the above at that moment. More importantly, nor was I," said the blogger.

My knee jerk reaction was 'fair enough.' But then I thought more on it and thought 'really, who cares?'

Related: Rebecca Eckler's Family Portraits

I am pretty honest in my photo representation of my life with my children on Facebook. I posted many pictures of my screaming newborns, and when my children are doing something particularly impertinent, I'll post that too. I'm the kind of person who is OK with the good the bad and the ugly sides of parenting and representing them truthfully. So who cares if one picture suggests a rosier picture than reality? I'd probably post an adorable picture of my son pretending to pout in between bouts of hysterical laughter. I won't be concerned he world will think my kid is miserable. It's just a picture, a snapshot, a second in time. It doesn't represent more than that.

"What if a mom who was having a bad day with her brood saw my status update and thought, sh*t, I should be outside with my kids or I should be building a snowman. If that mom can do it, so can I. Well, I couldn't do it. And so I didn't post it."

Thankfully my friends know me well enough to not be influenced by a utopic picture and look at it and think that I am some Martha Stewart-Carol Brady mother. Maybe if I routinely present my life differently than I actually live it I'd care more about the lies seeping through pictures of happy-looking children. And really, if one of them sees a picture and thinks 'I should be outside with my children' then is that such a bad thing?

Even if those kids in those pictures were miserable and misbehaving, even if everyone was mad and frustrated, that picture is sweet. That mother was able to capture a moment in time where everyone looks happy and proud of the snowman they created. And for that reason, the picture should have been posted. It doesn't matter about the minutes leading up to that picture and the minutes immediately following. All of that frustration culminated in a pretty sweet picture of her children and that makes her efforts having them outside worth it.

There is something to be said for capturing the small moments in an otherwise hectic and harried life. Who cares if it wasn't as it appeared. Years from now the frustration of that day will be forgotten and the moment captured treasured.

It's not lying to post a happy-looking picture that isn't really representative. It's not misleading. It's saying 'that's right, my life is hectic. But we get these moments too, and this moment, the one in this photo, is kind of sweet.'

I post the crying pictures, I post the happy pictures. I will post the pictures of the first time my daughter gives herself a hair cut and when the kids find the Sharpies and decorate our walls. I no more assume people will look at those pictures and think my life is a constant gong show devoid of happy moments than I would assume a happy picture suggests life is like that all the time.

Sometimes it's nice to see a happy moment captured in an otherwise messy scenario. Because the fact you can proves it's there. And that is worth sharing.

Written by Leslie Kennedy for BabyPost.com

More from BabyPost
Outrageous Parenting Trends
Forgive Me Fellow Parents, For I Have Sinned
A Well-Rested Child and Daycare: Is It Possible?