If social media had been around in 2002, I would have posted this seemingly sweet picture of my son, Jayce, smiling and wearing his t-shirt from his mother’s day out program at our church. It would have gotten some likes and “he is so sweet” comments from his Granny. What was going on behind the camera was not so sweet.
Jayce suffered from night terrors and they began when he was an infant. His doctor would not listen when I would tell her what was happening. She would say “welcome to being a new mother and not getting any sleep”. I was not a new mother. This was my second child and I knew this was not just a baby that was not sleeping through the night. If you are a parent that has experienced night terrors, you understand how scary they are and how frustrating it is when other parents say “oh yeah, mine had those too”. Night terrors are not an “oh yeah” small thing. These are not nightmares.
When he was almost 3 years old I switched pediatricians and he knew immediately what was wrong. He sent us to a pediatric neurologist. The neurologist diagnosed Jayce immediately with having night terrors and said it was the youngest case he had seen and believed he had them when he was an infant when my mom intuition had been something was wrong.
Having the night terrors, caused Jayce to have some issues during the day. He was sleep deprived, but could not get proper sleep and was attached to me. He and I both were exhausted.
I thought it would be good for he and I both, for him to go to the mother’s day out program at our church three times a week.
When he first started he would cry when I left him, but they assured me that he quickly calmed down after I had left. They said he would not take naps and would scream during nap time, but were sure that he would adjust. He did not and the call came.
The call to say that my child could no longer go to the mother’s day out program. He created chaos for everyone during nap time. I hang up the phone and start to bawl. My baby got kicked out of a church program. What’s next? I was certain this meant that this was the start of his road to Juvenile Detention. I drive to pick him up and take the walk of shame. I convinced myself that everyone was staring and talking about the kid that will go down in history as getting kicked out of the mother’s day out program at church.
We get home and I take him out of his car seat and he is running in the yard just as happy as can be. I take his picture in his class t-shirt, which would be the last time he wore it.
Social media does not tell us the whole story. I know I have been guilty of looking at pictures and being envious of someone’s marriage when mine was in shambles, wishing I looked like the lady sipping her coffee on a deck overlooking the ocean, or wishing my family would wear matching outfits and take cute holiday pictures without complaining. I know I can’t be the only one that has been guilty of social media envy.
Listen, I am guilty and I am sure most of you are too. We use the filters that make us look younger, post the beautiful views from our vacation, post about our kids accomplishments, share when we buy a new car or home, post pictures of a wonderful meal we made, or tell how thoughtful our spouse is.
What we don’t shout to the world, and I am not suggesting that we do, is that we snuck a box of cookies and ate the whole pack alone, we don’t tell that our marriage is falling apart, we don’t share that we feel overwhelmed and sat in the closet and just sobbed, and we don’t tell that our kids are being little jerks and we want to trade them in.
This is my life many days. Still in my pj bottoms that have a hole in them, Tarrget merchandise to return, shirt to iron, paperwork out from the night before, dog toys scattered, and the dog digging through freshly cleaned towels that need to be folded. My husband was horrified when I did this and said “we don’t live in a mess like that”. I don’t know if I mentioned that he is in an extremely organized person and this would drive him to insanity. What he doesn’t know is that when he is at work and I am cleaning and running errands, it most certainly does look like this at times.
This is more like what I would post. That’s all you would see. You don’t get to see the whole picture into someone’s life.
Theodore Rooseelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Yes! I can’t imagine my 15 year old braces and coke bottle glasses wearing self having to look at pictures of altered Instagram photos of others girls my age. I already had a horrible self esteem and Social Media would have just made that issue worse.
I still have the picture of juvenile delinquent bound Jayce displayed with my other family photos because it now makes me laugh and it is a reminder that I don’t always know the behind the scenes story.
Stop comparing your behind the camera lens life to someone else’s life viewed through a filtered lens.
You should also know that Jayce did not grow up to be a juvenile delinquent and is now 19 years old and just finished his first semester of college at the University of Central Arkansas.