the iceberg that is instagram

Take a peek at a chapter from my new ebook, Unschooling: The Honest Truth

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We interrupt this Broadcast of Angst to answer a Very Pressing Question:

Marla, I follow you on social media. There is so much fun and happiness in your posts. In fact, I’ve found myself getting jealous of you and your family. So, are those lies/fabrications? Have you been misleading us this whole time?

No. I haven’t. All I post is real and true. Of course, you might recall the time Ava said, “You can make any family look happy on Instagram.” Yes, you can. But I’m not trying to deceive/mislead anyone. In fact, if you read everything I write, I’ve been plenty honest about things not going well or life being hard or feeling like I suck.

I just don’t post photos in the middle of a sister screaming war or of someone lying on a bed crying and depressed.

It’s a privacy violation, for one, and, for two, I don’t want that crap in my Chatbooks. I have a melodramatic tendency to remember the awful and forget the good, and I need photographic evidence of the happy, not the #hurtmomfeelings, as the years go by.

Here’s an imperfect analogy:

Life is an iceberg. And Instagram is the part of the iceberg you can see as you sail toward it on your whale-watching cruise boat. (Do people watch whales in places that have icebergs? I have no idea.)

This book is your view from a submarine. And hopefully it helps with any FOMO you might have when seeing my family on Instagram.

Do you know FOMO? Similar to BOGO (buy one get one) and LOL (laugh out loud) and all the other anagrams I can’t keep track of.

FOMO. Fear of Missing Out. It’s a real phenomenon that’s been exacerbated by social media with everyone posting pics of the things they have or are doing that you didn’t get to be a part of. You feel sad. And bitter. And wonder why your life is so crappy while everyone else’s is so happy.

I, too, get FOMO for my kids.

When their 16-year-old cousin is all dressed up for the school dance and her date is putting a gaudy corsage on her wrist.

When their friend is crowned Homecoming Queen.

When people get new puppies or go on college visits or play in the leaves or open Christmas presents or go to Target or pick pumpkins or score soccer goals or eat Chipotle.

WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MY CHILDREN??? (and to myself, because CHIPOTLE.)

At times like these, I try to remind myself that Instagram is an Iceberg, that all is not as it seems, that the view from the submarine often tells a very different story.

Does this help?

No. It doesn’t.

Because I still want Chipotle.

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