“What we see on social media isn’t always real.”
Those are the words of Jen Flint, a mother who was at a public swimming pool when she observed another mom paying more attention to her phone than her child. The mom appeared to be setting up the “perfect” pool day — perhaps a little too perfect.
“Yesterday while at the pool I watched a young Mama and her little daughter enter the pool area dressed in very nice coordinating swimming suits,” Flint wrote in her Facebook post that went viral. “The mom, with her perfect loose curls tied up in a coordinating scarf, spent the first few minutes talking loudly on her phone to a friend while her daughter stood waiting to get into the pool. Mom ended the phone call and proceeded to spread out pool toys and sunscreen on a matching towel. Then after finding just the right angle and the right light, Mama pulled out her tripod and took a few selfies with her daughter.”
Flint continued to tell the story in her post that has since been shared more than 134,000 times.
“Little One asked to get in the pool. Mama said wait and then posed her daughter in front the pool, then going in to the pool and then coming back out of the pool. Little one smiled big and said ‘cheese’ like she’d done it a million times. Then Mama told her she could play.”
At this point, the daughter got into the water and played. Just a few minutes later, the mom was back on her phone. Flint wrote that the daughter repeatedly asked her mother to get into the water and play with her, but she was ignored.
“Mama glanced over at her but never got off the phone,” Flint wrote. “After 10 minutes, Mama ended her call, collected the sunscreen that was never applied, the water toys that never touched the water, and then her daughter and left the pool.”
Flint wrote that she pondered what she had just witnessed.
“I imagined the photos she took being perfectly edited and posted to social media with a caption like “Pool time with my girly! #makingmemories,” Flint wrote in her post.
“Somewhere another Mama is going to be at home with her children, the house a mess from their play, her hair unruly from a day of mothering and her clothes dirty with spit up or peanut butter. She’s going to be tired because she’s spent her day cooking, caring, cleaning and playing with her children. She’s going to look at that photo and she is going to compare herself to the perfect Mama at the pool.”
Flint worries that mothers on social media who see the “perfect” mom’s posts will compare themselves and feel inadequate. She issued this warning:
“What we see on social media isn’t always real. Sometimes and often it’s a complete set-up. It’s staged and filtered and it’s counterfeit,” Flint wrote.
Flint went on to urge her readers not to compare themselves to the other moms they saw online.
“You are enough,” she wrote. “Your dirty shirt and your messy house and your happy children are real and they are proof that you are doing it right.”
You can read the full Facebook post here.