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Internet Smiles Aren’t As Important as the Smiles We Give Our Children

The other day, I posted a photo of me and my kids with the biggest smiles on our faces.internet smiles mom and kids

It looks like we were having the BEST time, doesn’t it? I look like I’m a fun and happy mom. Truth be told, this was one of those bogus internet smiles. I pasted on my smile as the camera flashed. And seconds later, I was back to wearing my stern face, as I guided my two boys through a crowded Shelburne festival.

Why have these internet smiles become so important for me to fake?

When it comes to social media, it’s all about keeping up appearances. How many pics do we see of messy kitchens or of moms being weighed down by a child on each arm? I can’t think of any; yet I can think of a handful of times these actual events have occurred in real life, just in the last week. I know if I’m going to post a photo, it is going to be a photo I’m ok with existing out there for everyone to see.

It’s going to be a photo that is perfect and that perfection is a total sham.

internet smiles authentic photo

Actual photo of my kitchen this weekend

Thinking about social media and the perfect lives we all paint makes me wonder: why do I really care what these pseudo-friends and followers think? My closest friends and family really know what my life is like. They know it is nowhere near glamorous.

My home is clean enough, never spotless, and I change into stretchy pants the second I get home from work.

And what about my kids? I need for them to see me smiling more than I need to create fake internet smiles. That needs to be the main focus for where I direct my positivity.

Another reason why I’ve stepped up my smile game in real life is thanks to a video I saw around Mother’s Day. This video focuses on a day from both the mom’s and the kid’s perspectives. The mom in the video is trying to manage her two young kids, while obviously struggling to get through the day. She embodies how I feel on many days. Her daughter, probably 3, doesn’t see the struggle. She sees all the love her mom gives her and is so happy they had a “magical” day together. I’ve thought about this video a lot lately, and how important it is that my kids see me smile. Not strangers through computer screens.

mom laughing with son

In general, I’m not a fake person.

I find the pressure of perfection through social media has many of us, me included, posting dazzling internet smiles. But wouldn’t it be better if we put forth that kind of effort into the persona we show our children? And into the experiences we share with our kids? In this case, I’m talking about real, goofy and toothy smiles. These are the smiles that will forever be in their memories. I hope my boys can look back and say, “My mom was happy and loving and most days we spent together were magical.”

For a child, I don’t think a “magical” day needs to include unicorns, cupcakes or a trip to Disney. My son once told me he was having the best day ever when we went fishing and he had ice cream in a chocolate dipped cone. In his eyes, he saw his mom smiling and free of stress. I was truly the happy, amazing mom I try to imitate online. While we can’t play and have a care-free day everyday, I feel like the attitude I present to my kids can be like the filters we choose to emblazon our photos with. My goal is to try to show more of the warm, soft filters to my family.

magical photo mom and child

And what about the photos full of gleaming internet smiles? I still plan on posting those with pride, but maybe I’ll include some that are a bit more authentic!

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