So, here’s my word and my two cents on the rainbow-colored poop of social media:
I went through a phase of writing a lot in cafes but that got old quick. There’s only so much small talk you can make with fellow writers, graphic designers, coders, and start-uppers. It’s always the same. They’re all trying to look busy and accomplished and find out all the info on you. It got tiring. Like really fast. Even though I was addicted to this one salad with grilled halloumi cheese and just the perfect dressing. But, I sacrificed that great salad and now I write from hotel lobbies and bars. Because the bars are quieter during the morning hours. But it’s still inappropriate according to my Palestinian father even though I’ve explained it’s not what he thinks or how it was in the ‘70s.
I am that mama with all the addresses of the chilled hidden hotels all around Dubai with clean bathrooms and miniature snacks. Where the staff likes me enough to give me a free juice here and there as one of their regulars.
So because I spend a lot of time in hotels I’ve observed a lot of families and kids and breakdowns and furrowed brows and less-than-perfect moments. Why isn’t all of that on Periscope and Snapchat? Wait, is it? Am I missing an entire tribe of people I should be trying to set up coffee dates with? I’m really not sure.
This is a post like no other. But hang on, dear mama, because here comes the point. I know I’m not the first to say it and I certainly hope I’m not going to be the last because well, so many of us apparently are just not getting it. I’m here to tell you to embrace the breakdowns and the fact that you don’t have your shit all together. It’s as simple as that: It’s really okay. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m there.
Let’s talk about Snapagram, FaceChat, Pintwitter, and the rest of it for a minute because I think it’s there that our collective source of anxiety as mamas stems from. It’s that perfection. The folks with 100K followers who never have a hair out of place or a stain on their kid’s clothing. There are no signs that projectile vomiting has gone down in their perfect interiors. Nobody called Baby Grumpy in their family. But it’s really okay. It’s not real.
And guess what? If you did forego the fakery and post the breakdowns you wouldn’t end up clicking Post because you’d be being. You’d be in the moment and not side-tracked trying to shout out to tell people how happy you are. Kinda like that little girl (my daughter) who found a lollipop (wrapped, thank god) in the corner of her bedside drawer and wants to keep it a secret so she whispers to me that she has it, but doesn’t by any means shout it out to the rest of the class. That is the mama who is simply being happy. If she didn’t have the lollipop she would be pretending, and posting about it, while waving nothing in her hand. But you don’t have to do that because I will never judge you, as I hope others will not judge me.
The point is that (and maybe this is all covered in Bad Moms, which I have yet to see, but the trailer almost made me pee my pants): you’re not getting it all done, all right, all good, with a gold star on top all the time. And that’s why we’re friends. I don’t want to hang out with you and your perfect hair and perfectly dressed kids without a stain on their clothes. That would be boring. That would be contrived. That would be curated. With flowers included and babies in every post (even though your kids are all in elementary school). And yes, I get it—social media blah blah blah and people want to see that side. But honestly do they? When it comes to mommyhood I can get a petition signed of over 100 (okay so maybe 6) mamas who get exhausted looking at those photos and perfection.
This is not a race.
It is not a competition.
Curated is another word for faked.
That woman with perfect hair is going to wake up tomorrow, grab her phone and post and you? You can snooze for an extra minute and cuddle up with your little ones and take that gift of their snot with your hand before reaching for a tissue. I won’t be appalled at any furrowed brow or less-than-perfect you. In fact, I’m nodding in solidarity and probably looking for a tissue for a snot gift right now.
*A word on judging. Yes, I’m spoiled I have help. But let me just say I have help and no family and I would gladly exchange the help for some family. So, for those who may be judging my “nanny situation” please stop. It’s a Dubai thing. And for those who don’t have a nanny or family nearby… well, to you I say you are the truest and purest form of a mama and I will take a minute and salute you. And then I will carrying on parenting and calculate when to go pee next… because I’m still a normal mom doing all the night shifts and everybody pees, even those with a nanny.