You've finally gotten your kids to bed after a rough day. One child smeared ketchup all over the walls, one whined all day because he wanted something at the store, another child screamed because her brother stole her toy she hasn't played with in months and your teenager claims her life is over because of something you did for her own good.
You threw some chicken nuggets in the microwave for dinner and you had to make sure every child got the same amount of nuggets or you just knew there would be more meltdowns.
Your house is an absolute wreck. You lay in bed at the end of the day wondering how you managed to get absolutely nothing done. At least your kids are alive, right?
The first picture is of your high school friend's kids. They're all perfectly coordinated in matching outfits and every hair is in place. They're all hugging and laughing like they're best friends.
You wonder, "Why did my kids fight all day? And how did she get her kids to hold still long enough to take a decent picture?"
The second photo is of a blogger mom's kitchen. She's standing in the middle of her pristine, white cabinets with a gorgeous hardwood floor while her daughter sits on the marble countertop and helps her mommy test out an expensive product she's being paid to endorse.
You think, "How is her kitchen so clean? And is that a white couch in the background? Where are all the ketchup stains?"
Next comes a photo of that girl you knew in college who posts only the most gorgeous outfits in the most beautiful places and gets, like, a million likes. OK probably not a million, but that's what it feels like when you start to wonder how on earth she has the money to buy clothes like that and how she got her pre-baby body back so fast.
Then, you see a rant from your mom friend with six kids who has a perfectly tidy house and only feeds her family organic, non-GMO gluten-free whole food she makes herself. She's talking about how processed foods are the worst and has a picture of a perfectly balanced organic meal complete with vegetables. And her kids are actually eating it.
"Are my kids going to die because I fed them chicken nuggets five times this week?"
You keep scrolling until you're completely defeated. You wonder how you'll ever measure up to the picture perfect lives of your social media friends.
Let me tell you a secret - you'll NEVER measure up. You'll never have what they have. They don't even have what they have, because what they're postingisn't real life.
Behind that photo of your friend's kids hugging and smiling, there was probably a huge fight about who sat where in the car and a bribe to get them to hold still for five minutes.
That blogger probably spent hours making sure her kitchen was perfectly clean and her makeup was flawless so she could snap the perfect photo. Then she spent too much time editing it. As for the white couch, she probably has it professionally cleaned at least once a week.
The girl you knew from college probably took 200 photos wearing that outfit because she had to get her position, lighting and hair just right.
The point is, people want everyone to think their life is great. Everyone, including myself, puts the very best pictures online for the world to see. We don't want people to know we struggle. We don't like to feel vulnerable.
The same women posting those photos you were agonizing over have looked at their Instagram feeds in defeat before, too.
Your life isn't any less because you feed your kids chicken nuggets. You're not a bad mom because you "ruined" your teenager's life. Of course you'll have bad days and you'll feel defeated. You'll feel inadequate even when you're doing a great job.
But in the end, you know what's best for your family. You're the best mom for your kids. You're the best wife to your husband. You're the best at your job. Whether you're a wife, mom, single or whatever else, there's no one that could do a better job at what you're doing, than you.
Once you realize this, you can stop comparing your real life to others' social media life and be truly, completely happy.