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Summer Vacation: Instagram vs. Reality

Come back-to-school season, it’s easy to scroll through our friends’ (and virtual friends’) Instagram profiles, see their happy vacation shots, and feel a twinge of regret.

Did we do enough this summer?

Was our summer as fun as everyone else’s?

Why wasn’t our summer as picture perfect as it could have been?

We’ve all been at this social media thing long enough to know our lives are never as perfect as Instagram would have us believe — but this is especially evident during vacation season. In front of the screen, we see smiling faces, exciting adventures, once-in-a-lifetime trips, all subtly cropped and filtered. When the phone is lowered however, we have long lines, heat exhaustion, and melt-on-the-ground tantrums. Missed flights. Overpriced meals. Headaches.

In an effort to continue Babble blogger Lauren Hartmann’s revealing Parenthood: Instagram vs. Reality, here’s another behind-the-Instagram peek at family vacations for real:

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

What a perfect shot! That lighting! How magical!

REALITY:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

“Wait for the people to pass … get over in the sun … right there, don’t move … GO AROUND ME, PLEASE!

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

My, my — what a glorious day in Florida!

REALITY:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

Literally SECONDS later, I turned around and saw this (very typical) Florida sky rolling in. RUN! RUN! RUN!

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

It’s all about timing folks …

REALITY:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

… and the right filters.

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

Having a lovely day at the beach!  #candid

 REALITY:

Image Source: Michelle Horton
Image Source: Michelle Horton

“MOM STOP TAKING PICTURES PLEEEASSSEE! NO MORE! STAHP!”

***

And I’m not the only one who has a very different cropped/filtered/staged representation of summer vacations. I reached out to a few friends, who sent me their own behind-the-vacation photos:

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Casey Mullins
Image Source: Casey Mullins

This is blogger Casey Mullins’ daughter Vivi, and this is her vacation face on Instagram. VIVI LOVES DISNEY WORLD! SHE CAN’T CONTAIN HER EXCITEMENT! MICKKKEEYYYY!!!

REALITY:

Image Source: Casey Mullins
Image Source: Casey Mullins

And this is Vivi’s vacation face off Instagram. Wet. Exhausted. So over it.

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source:
Image Source: Amanda Rodriguez

I also spent some time with Amanda Rodriguez, a fellow blogger, at this summer’s Disney Social Media Mom’s Celebration. Perfect and smiley and happy! Yay Epcot!

REALITY:

Image Source: Amanda Rodriguez
Image Source: Amanda Rodriguez

And this is the “after” shot. The “not for Instagram” shot. The “we’re about to melt into little exhausted puddles” shot. Heat exhaustion is real y’all, even at the Happiest Place on Earth.

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Amanda Rodriguez
Image Source: Amanda Rodriguez

She also posted this one from Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Aren’t you envious of their awesome vacation? Who doesn’t want to be in Disney World?

REALITY:

Image Source: Amanda Rodriquez
Image Source: Amanda Rodriquez

This guy, who could really use a nap right about now. No. more. walking!

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Jen Simon
Image Source: Jen Simon

Babble blogger Jen Simon is also familiar with the glossy un-reality of Instagram. Take this shot from this summer. My, what happy, relatively clean boys enjoying their ice cream!

REALITY:

Image Source: Jen Simon
Image Source: Jen Simon

ICE CREAM EVERYWHERE.

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source: Jen Simon
Image Source: Jen Simon

Aww look at those precious sleeping faces. What a relaxing car ride! Mom and dad must be having the time of their lives.

REALITY:

Image Source: Jen Simon
Image Source: Jen Simon

Before the calm was the storm of trying to get ALL THIS STUFF into the car. Because really, you can’t leave home without everything you own when you’re a parent, amiright?

INSTAGRAM:

Image Source:
Image Source: Chaunie Brusie

And Babble blogger Chaunie Brusie snapped this adorable photo of her daughter dancing during their last family vacation, posted it to Instagram, and then …

REALITY:

“[I realized] she had completely pooped through her diaper, all the way through. There was an actual pile of sh*t on the bed under her!!!”

***

So go forth into the school year knowing our summers were not exactly as they seemed on Instagram. Our lives rarely are.

In fact, sometimes there’s a literal pile of crap under the edited shots.

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