Sometimes I say to myself, “What is wrong with me? Why are my kids the only ones acting this way?” The tantrums, the talking back, the everyday stuff. I see the most beautiful families of five posing happily on Facebook, with all the children dressed to the nines and smiling ear to ear. I wonder – how do those moms do it? How do they get their children to behave so well?
Then, in my moment of clarity, I visit my own Facebook timeline, where every picture is of one or all of my children – all smiling and all getting along. And I realize those simultaneous smiling faces lasted about as along as it took me to snap the picture. And that’s what we see on social media – the best moments. Fleeting moments. Nobody posts the daily emotional breakdowns, like the ones that happen when I put syrup on the plate next to my daughter’s waffle and she didn’t want syrup that day. Or my son sprawled dramatically across the floor because first grade is “just too hard.”
I was talking on the phone the other day with a best friend from college who lives across the country on the other coast. We hadn’t talked on the phone in months, mainly because we each have three kids, including newborns. We got about two minutes into our conversation when her twins awoke from their naps. Then the dual tantrums began – one twin wanted a popsicle and one wanted crackers – and my friend didn’t have either. The incessant screaming and full-blown tantrums went on until she was forced to get off the phone with me. While I was sad we didn’t get to catch up, I was oddly comforted as I sighed and thought to myself, “oh good, it’s not just me.”