By Heather Burnett of Word to Your Mother
It’s an epidemic.
So many suburban housewives struggle and they believe they are alone. As she makes the beds, shops for groceries, chauffeurs the kids, volunteers, cooks dinner and lays beside her husband at night, she’s even afraid to ask herself the silent question: “Did I make us look perfect on Facebook today?”
That’s right. Millions of women, from all different backgrounds and demographics, are allowing Facebook to dominate their lives.
“It’s a women’s health issue now,” reports Dr. Gloria Randem of Woman Inc. “That can affect sleep, mental health, and hand-eye coordination. I’ve seen women who have started… well, they’ve begun to believe the lies they tell on Facebook. It’s alarming; I find it very troubling.”
Sandy Dane of Spokane, WA, said what started as a bit of innocent fun with an Instagram filter turned into a major league Facebook faux pas.
“I was just playing around. I thought I’d brighten my eyes and whiten my teeth. And I looked great, so I kept doing it. Then I smoothed out my complexion, edited my hair, and nipped a few inches off of my waistline. Now I can’t leave the house even to go to the grocery store because no one will recognize the real me. I feel so ashamed.”
Sandy’s not alone. Dr. Randem estimates over 1.5 million women are affected by Instagram filters each year. Studies show that number is on the rise.
Moms like Jean Spark of Memphis, Tennessee, have been using them for years. “It did what Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig couldn’t do. I got the App and I got skinny… at least, in pictures I looked thin. Hell, I looked 19 again! Those Instagram filters are like crack rock; once you start, you can’t stop.”
Jean is still posting on Facebook, and as evidenced by her recent update, is still “using.” It featured a photo collage of all of the Valentines Day jewelry her husband had ever given her next to a picture of Jean minus 40 pounds with perfect skin and teeth.
Moms like Amy Jones from Phoenix, AZ say they often spend the first two to three hours of the day attempting to get the right picture of their toddlers for social media.
“I know I should be playing with them or something, but I really feel like I need to post at least twice a day.”
Kristin Thomas (location withheld) admits that even though she gets into frequent physical altercations with her teenage daughter, Gabby, her Facebook wall tells a different story.
“Oh, we don’t tell the truth on Facebook, areyoukiddingme? I’d be in jail! On Facebook, we are BFFs! We are always laughing in our pictures! We are together all the time! I just don’t put the part about how I almost threw her over the second story of JC Penney because she acted like a self-centered egomaniac when I wanted to look at ONE THING FOR MYSELF… Oh no, I didn’t post that.”
Kristin is scary.
An Arkansas mother reports despite the fact that her husband is a total jackass, she often posts about what a loving and kind spouse he is to her. “I feel like dirt when I see my friends’ updates, and I think about what I’ve got going on. What am I supposed to do, tell everybody about how he flirts with the high school girl at the daycare and how I’m pretty sure he’s using my Grandma Mable’s MasterCard number to buy mud tires on Amazon? Hell naw!
I lie and say he’s the Sweetest Husband Evah! It makes me feel better.”
(*Update: She has joined a support group… on Facebook. **He did steal Grandma Mable’s identity.)
Women everywhere suffering from social comparison depression are lying to everyone, including themselves, and the results can be tragic. Treatment for this condition varies, but Dr. Randem suggests that a healthy dose of reality works in every case. If you are a mom and think you need help, call your closest friend who “keeps it real” ASAP.
Log out of Facebook and Instagram for… ever. Remind yourself that perfection does not exist. I repeat: perfection does not exist.
About the Author
Heather is a stay-at-home mom of 3 suffering from STS (small town syndrome). She enjoys reality TV and hates to clean. When she’s not trying to locate the other white sock, you can find her on Twitter or Facebook attempting to regain her sanity. She is the creative genius behind Word to your Mother where she blogs because its much cheaper than therapy.