These are among the photos my friends are posting to Facebook right now, as I write this blog: Two little boys smiling as they flank someone wearing a giant Donald Duck costume. Four little flower girls in frilly dresses surrounding a bride and groom. A small boy in an oversized straw hat reclining on a sandy beach. A baby in a collared shirt beaming into the camera. Another baby in a high chair with an adorably puzzled expression and a very messy mouth. Two little barefoot girls playing ball in a field.
I could go on, but all this sweetness is going to give me a cavity … oh, that reminds me, I haven’t posted that cute pic of my 3-year-old son at his first trip to the dentist. Better get on that!
Any parent on Facebook or any Facebook user with many parent friends can testify to that those precious baby and kid pics can quickly dominate your news feed. (Need hard evidence? Witness the success of the blog STFU, Parents.) So when everyone started talking about that new, depressing Facebook video, I couldn’t help but notice one glaring omission: the kids!
The viral video, titled “What’s on your mind?” by Highton Brothers, has been praised for portraying how a social media user — in this case, a stubble-faced dude who loses his girlfriend and his job — might deceive his online friends through sunny status updates that bear little resemblance to his reality. At the beginning of the video, said dude scrolls through envy-inducing photos posted by others — namely, shots showing exotic vacations and scrumptious cuisine. The last photo we see, near the video’s end, shows his ex-girlfriend with her new “hunk.”
Stubble-faced guy looks old enough to have friends who are parents, so in addition to all the travel and food pics, we should have also been treated to at least one photo of say, a baby with a cute moustache binkie or a four-year-old preschool graduate wearing a cap and gown.
… Then again, forget the kiddie cameos. What Highton Brothers — or some other enterprising YouTuber, perhaps — should consider doing is another depressing Facebook video. This time, it could be all about parents and kids and how the former tend to post happy photos of the latter while foregoing documenting the many hiccups — OK, big stinky burps — of parenthood. If you have kids, then you know as well as I do that sometimes moustache binkies get spit out into toilet bowls when Mommy isn’t looking and that a four-year-old might need to be bribed with gummy bears and a Disney movie before he’s willing to don a mortarboard.
Most of us may not go to extremes like faking a 20 kilometer run as we see in the Highton Brother’s video, but surely, when it comes to Facebook and other social media, we tend to favor happy, picturesque moments over photos of disgust or utter defeat, like fishing a binkie out of the toilet or letting your preschooler zone out in front of the flat screen.
Last year, on Kveller.com, writer Sarah Tuttle-Singer made a compelling argument against “only sharing the cute and cuddly moments.” She wrote:
My life on Facebook is an airbrushed and Instagrammed image of my real life. I edit the suckage because I want people to think I have my (expletive) together. I give everything a hipstacular filter to make the drudgery look interesting. Most of the time, I think I’m a decent mom, and I think I’m giving my kids a pretty good life. But I also think I’d be a better mom if I stopped pretending, and making friends on Facebook feel like they have to pretend as well.
Tuttle-Singer’s piece was “liked” by nearly 180,000 Facebook users. Given this and the success of the original “What’s on your mind?” video — 6.4 million views and counting — I think a video contrasting parenting as portrayed on Facebook with parenting in real life would be a surefire hit.
I might even consider penning the script for such a clip myself, but right now I have to go track down that adorable dentist picture and post it for all my online buddies to see. Priorities, people!More On