Homeschool Moms: All You See Are Edited Lives On Social Media

There is a very good chance that if you are viewing a photo taken in my house that looks clean and pristine, there are a couple of piles of paper or books right outside the frame.

This is certainly true if it is taken in my office. Or the schoolroom. Or the little table in the sunroom where I drink my coffee and read each morning.

While not tottering or egregiously messy, these little stacks seem to follow me about the house, popping up and growing quickly like mushrooms. When I need to take a photo, I just rearrange the piles, pushing them out of my way until the surface is clear and the shot looks good.

Case in point, take a look at these two books I authored.  Aren’t they pretty – I had a great designer. 

I picked up that desk at an antique shop a few years ago and absolutely love it. It is so shabby chic and light and airy.

No? Guess again.

Let’s pull back even farther. This is my desk the day I snapped the above photo. Scattered mail, receipts, office supplies, frantically scribbled packing lists — all pushed aside just out of the frame — on my black, cheap IKEA table.

There are only a few steps from what I want you to see to my reality, but man does it change your perspective about me, my life, and my ability at “having it all together.” This is real.

Yes, I wrote these books. They are on my desk, but this little square doesn’t even come close to telling the entire story. It is the snippet I want you to see.

A Filter for Social Media Sanity

This is the new “filter” we need to use when looking at homeschool social media. The knowledge that what we are seeing may be true (it’s probably true), but it is never the whole truth. The whole truth won’t fit in 900×900 pixels. Even photos marked “no filter” don’t tell the whole truth.

If I’m being honest. I don’t want to see people’s whole truth on social media. Really, I don’t. I am fine with the bits they want to show me. Hashtag “You can’t handle the truth?”  Probably. I think social media is invasive enough as it is.

What I want instead is for all of us to have at the front of our minds each time we open an app — I am not seeing the whole truth. I am seeing exactly what they want me to see, what they are willing to show me. 

There is nothing wrong with this as long as we consume with that information in mind.

Listen to the Podcast:

Four Tips on Using Social Media in a Healthy Way

Since social media seems to be here to stay a while, I think it’s important for us to remember a few tips as we consume.

Discern. Which is what we have been talking about already. Always keep in the forefront of your mind that you are seeing the snippet of truth. Follow people who inspire you and make you feel good. Unfollow those who don’t. Really.

People unfollow me all the time. I can’t see who you are and don’t have time to run you down even if I could. Feel free to curate your feed into something that makes you feel good about yourself.

Divide to conquer. Do you guys know the “composite internet woman”? My friend Sarah Mackenzie introduced me to her and our community manager Dawn Garret took a photo of her (Read more about what Dawn had to say on Instagram. It is totally worth your time.)

She is what we create in our heads after a session of Instagram. We’re scrolling along and see beautiful art projects, a bit of lovely knitting (I have knit envy), an organized pantry, a cute outfit with perfect makeup, and kids quietly reading on a couch in a sunlight room. 

All of a sudden, in our heads, everyone on Instagram has it together much better than we do.

We look at our ugly brown second-hand couch with the broken springs in our low-light, north-facing living room with dog hairs all over the floor, our boys bickering and vaulting over the back of the love seat (oh wait — that’s just my house) and think we are failing. 

In our heads, those five photos in our feed meld together. There are five women out there who all have time to do beautiful art, choose cute clothes, put on makeup, and homeschool perfect children in organized, light and airy surroundings.

It’s what our mind does. It takes the five pictures, combines them and convinces us that EVERYONE on social media is doing everything right. Moreover, we know we aren’t.

We had a sweet lady with six kids who used to come to our homeschool playdate once a month. She always looked so fabulous and put together. She even wore white pants.  I had a toddler and newborn at the time — this was astonishing to me. One day the rest of us were complimenting her on the fact she looked fabulous. How did she do it? Her response — you should see my house. It’s a wreck.

Realize that what you are seeing as a composite whole in your feed on any given day is really the sum of the parts. The woman with the fabulous bullet journal probably has a sink full of dishes. I promise.

Practice gratitude. Every day, write down something you are thankful for. Go old school and post in a journal instead of on social, so you can be real and raw. Every day focus on something in your life that you are thankful for.

Nothing will help you keep social media issues in check more than being grateful for what you DO have.

Watch the episode on YouTube:

Really connect. The best thing that comes out of this integrated web of computers and servers — this global connectedness we have — is our ability to find others who have the same desires, interests, and goals. Reach beyond the superficial followers and friends, and take the conversations off of social media so they can be good, deep conversations.

I love my online tribe. I talk to them daily. They get me and I get them, but even though they are online friends, none of those relationships were cultivated on social media. 

Cultivate relationship through private chat or communities, email, or apps like Voxer or Marco Polo. Meet in person when you can. Go beyond a network of people and build community where you care what happens to others and they care what happens to you.

If your online interactions never go beyond hitting a like button, then turn off the device and connect with the people in your town instead. Social media can spark true community (off social media), but never mistake it for true community.

Discern, divide, give thanks, connect. This is where the whole truth will be found.



  • Ashley says:

    So glad I came across your podcast! Really need this encouragement from time to time 😊

  • >