“A few days ago while I was at the pool I saw a young mom and her little daughter walk into the pool area dressed in very pretty coordinated swimsuits. The mom, with her perfect loose curls tied in a coordinated tape, spent the first few minutes talking aloud on her phone to a friend while her daughter stood waiting to get into the pool. Mom ended the phone call and proceeded to scatter pool toys and sunscreen on a matching towel. Then, after finding the right angle and the right light, mom took out her tripod and took a few selfies with her daughter. Little girl asked to get in the pool Mom said to wait and then posed her daughter in front of the pool, then entering the pool and then back out of the pool. Little girl smiled big and said cheese like she had done it a million times. So Mama told her she could play now. The little one swam for a couple of minutes. Mom called a friend from her phone and started another conversation while her little girl asked politely and repeatedly: “Mom, can you come to the water with me please?” She was ignored.
"Mommy, will you come to play with me?" She asked 4 more times. Mom looked at her, but never hung up the phone. After 10 minutes mom finished her call, picked up the sunscreen that never applied, the water toys that never touched the water, and then her daughter and left the pool. I sat there thinking about what I had witnessed for a while later. I imagined the photos she took being perfectly edited and posted on social media with a caption like "Pool time with my girl! Somewhere another mom will be at home with her kids, the house a mess because of her game, her hair rebellious for Mother's Day and her dirty laundry with saliva or peanut butter. She's going to be tired because she spent the day cooking, caring, cleaning and playing with her kids. She's going to look at that picture and compare herself to the perfect mom in the pool. Guilt will whisper in your ear: "You're not good enough... " "You don't look like that mom in the pool... " “You don’t have money to buy expensive swimsuits like that and you don’t have time to make memories like her”... and that young mom is going to believe it. She's going to feel like a failure. She'll never know that how she spent her time that day, was far better in the eyes of her children than that "perfect mom" in the pool. What we see on social media is not always real. Sometimes and often it's a complete set up. It's staged and filtered, it's fake. Sometimes we see absolutely wonderful vacation photos and beautiful homes and freshly-styled hair, but it's just ONE moment. It's the best moment of a whole day spent like ours. Working, cleaning and putting up the mess... Mama don't compare yourself. You are enough! You're amazing and the best part is, you're REAL! Your dirty beach, your messy house and your happy children are real and are proof that you are doing it right!” - Jen Flint The real takeaway from this is to not compare yourself to others. If the mother at the pool was needing a break, that’s totally understandable. However, don’t let digital life take away from reality. If you need a break, take a break. If you need to get out of the house, get out of the house. Build memories with your kids and do what is right for you and your family.