The Blog

The Importance Of Honesty In Social Media

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

When I had my first child 13 years ago, there was limited material out there for parents. Sure, there were the standard 'What to Expect' but nothing I could squeeze my arms around. I needed humor and honesty. I needed to know I wasn't alone. I didn't feel like other moms. I did not instantly fall in love with my child. When I first looked at my baby, I felt lost, confused, sometimes completely unhinged. It took me awhile to realize she was the most amazing creature on the planet. I was too ashamed to admit that parenting felt hard for me sometimes and couldn't find a book around that didn't presume a mother's immediate, endless love for their offspring.
The invention of social media has allowed parents today access to content and hear real stories from parents going through similar struggles. Sites like Facebook and Instagram provide a snapshot into the lives of our family, friends and sometimes even strangers. This can be a blessing and a curse. I still find so many parents use social media to portray a perfect life when every parent knows this concept doesn't exist. Parenting is a circus with moments of pure brilliance thrown in. So why is it many of us don't like to show the unattractive side of parenting? The side with the screaming and meltdowns and temper tantrums?
By no means am I immune to this concept. I posted this picture a few weeks back on Facebook.
Cute, right? They look so adorable and peaceful. In actuality, we spent most of the day fighting because my oldest didn't want to go to the beach with us because she wanted to "rest" (this is code for lay around all day watching Netflix). I forced her to come so she made the rest of the day miserable by huffing and puffing and bringing everyone else down with her. At the time this picture was taken, all three could be heard grumbling, "Get your leg off me. Don't touch me. You are annoying." We finally gave up and went home. But if you saw my picture, it looked like a perfect family day.
Organic beverage tea company, Honest Tea, is running a summer-long campaign that is "asking people to share their #Refreshinglyhonest thoughts with friends, family and their social networks. Recognizing that there are many things we all honestly feel and do but seldom say (...) and aims to create fun connections by revealing the less-than-perfect but shared moments that make up our daily lives." What a refreshing concept (no pun intended).
A founding principle of social media is to provide connection. Connections rarely happen if we aren't being real. I think a sense of camaraderie can be developed if people can see we don't always have our stuff together. Our families aren't always happy and our kids aren't always dressed in perfectly matching outfits. Sometimes I yell at my kids. Sometimes I only read the left hand side of a book so my toddler's bedtime routine is over sooner. Sometimes I tell him the park is closed on Tuesday's. It happens.
Wait, if I'm being #Refreshinglyhonest I don't actually have to admit I do these things to him, right?