June 17, 2013

What You Don't See...

Have you ever looked at someones picture{s} on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogger, etc and thought "Wow! She has it all together!" or "OMG look how clean her house is!"? I know I have, one too many times.

 And then it happened, someone commented on this photo of Kendall I posted to Instagram a couple weeks ago.
{I had taken her through the drive-thru of Tim Horton's and let her sit in the front seat and eat TimBits in the parking lot}.

The comment said, "You are such a good, and fun mom!".  And it made me think about what that person did not see in that picture.

What you didn't see was the fight to get out the door that morning {and most mornings, if we're being honest}.  Pregnant Shannon really really wanted doughnuts and thought that a toddler would think that was just the bees knees.  Kendall had other plans that morning, none of which involved driving 15 minutes for some doughnut holes.  There was a lot of, "come oooooonnnnn, it'll be SO.MUCH.FUN.  You can even wear your nightgown AND crown AND moccasins!!!" going on behind the scenes. Sure, once we got there she was over the moon about it.  She loved sitting in the front seat and, of course, then she thought I was that good, fun mom.

It made me think about what's going on in the background or before/after a picture is taken that we, the viewer, can't see or hear.

Like this adorable mother/daughter selfie.
This was taken the night of Jimmy's 28th birthday party.  The house was clean, the bonfire was roaring, the weather was perfect, the food was prepared the night was going to be perfect for my husbands birthday.  However, 30 {or so} minutes after I snapped this I found myself in the bathroom, crying my eyes out because I just couldn't handle another toddler tantrum.  I had reached my limit that night and it was ugly.  So bad that my MIL offered to keep Kendall over night for the first time that night because she could see it in my eyes.  But you would have never guessed it from this pic, right?

Then there's the food pics, you know the ones.
That my friends is the rare "healthy" version of froyo I got one day.  Someone even commented that my version looked so much "healthier" than theirs.  Normally it's covered in Oreos, whipped topping, perhaps a cheesecake bite or two and a drizzle of chocolate syrup for good measure {I blame it on the fact that I normally share with a certain two-year-old too}.  This was a "good day" as far as the pregnancy sweet tooth is concerned and typically you'd be appalled at what I shove in my pie hole.  

And then there's my immaculate house {ha!}.
I wish.  My bedroom wasn't even "clean" for this photo op.  What you don't see in this picture is the pile of clothes that were behind me, the stack of pillows {remember I sleep with no less than 4 these days} in the corner, and the laundry in baskets that had been waiting to be put away for days.  The same goes for the rest of my house.  As I type this there is a tea party set and beach towel covering my coffee table, blankets strewn all over the couch and a pop up tent overflowing with stuffed animals to my right and I have no plans of picking any of it up, any time soon.  

What I'm getting at here is you just don't know so you shouldn't judge {whether it's good or bad} what you see in a persons photo feed.  You never know what struggle went into that "fun" moment they captured or what meltdown happened a mere 2 seconds after.  You see a spotless section of their house and assume that they are a better than you because holy crap your house looks like a tornado just came through.  But in reality that may be the only room, heck spot of their house, that is spotless.  You just never know.

Remember we share what we want to share.  We tend to share what's good, clean, fun in our lives because that's what people want to see, right?  I mean sure it's fun to see the occasional "keepin' it real" post where we divulge all of our flaws and messiness but that's not the image we want to portray for ourselves.  We don't want people to think that we live like, gasp, humans.  But why?

I think it's got something to do with that Keepin' Up With the Jones' mentality and now with Pinterest making us feel like we should be the next Martha Stewart it only makes the pressure that much greater.  I would love it if all of my house was Pin-worthy but we live in our house and therefore most of the time it's not suitable for viewing.  I would love to tell you that the "fun" moment you are seeing was just that but the truth is I live with a toddler and, let's face it, toddlers are bi-polar which makes life, in general, more "messy".  

So, the next time you look at someones pictures and think that she's obviously more fun, clean, creative, etc than you, just think about what you aren't seeing.  She's just like you, she struggles, she has messy moments, she is human too.


  1. I was just reading in my O Magazine and they talk about JUST THIS. It had some really great points in it! So many times we look down on ourselves because of all this social media and all of these people who LOOK like they've got it going on...but in reality, they are just like us---some may be better, some worse. But the comparison game does nothing but steal our joy. I'm finding it easier to not scroll through IG as much, because I'm really sick of comparing myself to all of these others who SEEM to 'really have it going on'. I posted a pic of our home made ice cream the other night...and really it was yummy, but just like your pictures, there's a story behind the story. Aggrivation, frustration, unkind words, etc. Even as I posted it I almost felt 'fake' posting it because it would appear all happy happy happy, when really it was 'Thank God this is done, can we clean up and go to bed now' Ah. Life. Social media can be fun but can also be a joy stealer. But...I think it's also helpful to look at those pictures and be thankful for those little moments of joy that we captured, even if before and after were hellish. ;)

  2. OMG thank you for this post!!! I wrote something similar awhile back. Sometimes with this whole blogging world its so easy to compare and get down on yourself. Sometimes, like lately, I have to step away from it completely because I can't even edit enough to 'share the good stuff'. Lol love you for keepin it reals.

  3. So true. So true! If I could afford a live in maid perhaps I could live up to the "Jones" until then you will be greated by real life when you walk in my house!

  4. Great post! I try to keep all of those things in my mind when I read Facebook and whatnot, but sometimes it is hard! Thank you for posting.

  5. I love this post. This is so true and hearing the stories behind it is awesome. I love the idea of this post and am going to steal the idea and do it like once a month. It just reminds everyone that bloggers are real people, too. Loved it. Can I say that enough?

  6. That picture of you and KP is so cute! I hadn't seen it before. I have definitely kicked toys out of the way of a picture so the house looks clean. Or taken a picture of something fun and then he falls or has a meltdown two seconds later and the fun is over.

  7. Haha, this post was great! Such a breath of fresh air. You are seriously one of my favorite bloggers to read because I feel that you say what most moms do not say (at least out loud) and I applaud you. The reality is that most moms that seem cool and calm on the outside are sometimes the ones who have a hurricane tearing up inside...

    Thanks again!

  8. I love this post. Everything you said is so true. I find myself looking at pictures thinking...I wonder what they are thinking at that moment? or.. the moments leading up to this, what were they doing? I find myself asking those type questions. Because it is real life. Now the house pictures... I laugh. I do the same thing. If there is something I want to share I will totally clean and organize that area but you will never see the "mess".

    Thanks again for another awesome post.

  9. I love taking and posting photos of my little one but I always have to crop out the crap in the background lol

  10. I love this post. Everything is so true. People really don't see what actually goes on!

  11. Hey Shannon! I'm Ginny! A new follower. And a new blogger. I've had my blog for about 2 months now. Some of my FAVORITE blogs are the mommy blogs. They are some of the realest blogs out there.

    You and your daughter are so precious! Both of your smiles are great! I don't have kids but I "get" them. I have been a nanny for 5 years. I love it. I do, but I can totally understand you wanting to cry because of toddler temper tantrums. Sometimes you feel helpless and super stressed all at the same time. It's definitely a struggle to keep your sanity at times. Don't worry. Crying releases tension and frustration and was needed.

    This shall too shall pass....and keep your head up about all of the great times that will be had and just know this is a moment...a phase of ugly temper tantrums at the most unexpected times.


  12. My favorite post of yours to date. Ever. The way you keep it real is unreal, Shan. :) Loved what you said here... "She's just like you, she struggles, she has messy moments, she is human too." So much truth. Amen.

  13. but you are you. real and honest. in all situations. and thats a great thing.

  14. I am saying this with all sincerity -- you are the BEST blogger I read. You are always so real and honest and I love reading your posts! So glad I found your blog!

  15. Oh how I love this post. This is so true! And just so you'll feel better I always put the unhealthy toppings on my froyo and my house always has piles of crap!! Haha!

    Just the other day I was looking at this girl's pics on IG. I made a judgment that she must be rich b/c of where the pics were taken and a couple of other things. Then I started thinking about how wrong that was. Then I wondered what people think of me when I post pics on Cape Cod or other "normal" things I do around here. Yeah never know what assumputions people make base on pics and they may be way off.

  16. I love this post! It definitely rings true with me. I don't take a ton of pictures because who wants to see the hot mess that is everyday to some extent? Living with my in-laws and saving for a house means that we have so much stuff crammed into one bedroom and a storage locker with everything else. It always seems like everyone has it going on all the time and that's definitely intimidating.

  17. I love this! It's so true. I feel that way dealing with my niece half the time... or my dog (is it horrible I just related the two) but I get BEYOND frustrated when they don't want to cooperate hah

  18. Yes! I totally get this post! I totally try to show the good at least in the photos lol