I'm standing ordering a coffee in a cafe, I look around and there is a girl taking a photo of her toast, a mum taking a photo of her children, "kids, smile nicely I'm posting this!" she yells at them, "smile again that was not good enough!" All the while I'm holding my phone scrolling through social media merely glancing at pics my friends have posted, I wonder how many times they retook the photo, edited, added a filter before posting it ? Only for me to "merely glance" at it and maybe like it, if I can be bothered tapping the screen.
Rod and I aren't emotionless superheroes but I think we dealt with Leo's diagnosis amazingly. I read and hear about other people's stories, many on social media who have been in similar situations, who openly say they were/still are devastated or in shock.
I sometimes feel guilty that we just had a cry and then moved on ... "Righto, maybe Leo will be a Special Olympian ... Oooo! We might go to the Olympics!" I recall we selfishly said.
So as I looked around that cafe I wondered the real impact of social media on our lives? Instead of just having a meal, we are photographing it, checking in, getting the perfect pic so our virtual friends can be convinced we have the perfect life.
I think back to when Leo was born, here I am patting Rod and I on the back for "dealing with it so well", my kid is hooked up to monitors in special care and I've taken a hundred pics, to get that one "perfect photo" to post on Facebook to announce his birth.
I ashamedly admit, not having shared with everyone at that stage his diagnosis, that I sought through the photos, examining them and asking myself "will anyone notice his characteristics?" Did the Ds diagnosis worry me or did it worry me that I won't be perceived to have the perfect social media family?
How much time are we wasting romanticising our lives, trying to convince people that we haven't spoken to for 20 years or someone we have never met, that our kids are cute, are social lives are great or how good we look, when in reality as a parent of a newborn and toddler I occasionally don't brush my hair and the kids are still in the PJ's at 10am! Who is posting that pic ?!
How much time are we wasting staring at our phones instead of talking to our kids? When we are interacting with them are we actually in the moment or is that phone taking away our focus? Are we taking 17 photos of that moment only later to decide to pop it in your pocket as that moment wasn't "share worthy".
Now I'm not anti social media, I actually find it entertaining, informative and somewhat relaxing but in between pretending I like the whole house cleaning thing, 2 hours of physio a day with Leo as well as trying to tame a toddler that is obsessed with going outside (I guarantee if there is dirt or water she will find it), that "mere glance" at social media is a mindless distraction.
One question people ask me is whether I notice Leo's Ds characteristics? Well to us he is just Leo, not a characteristic but to be honest yes sometimes in photos we do notice them more so, especially that cheeky little tongue that often pops out just as you click or his flatter facial profile.
So do I spend hours taking, deleting, picking and editing photos ? Well like any parent I take loads of photos, Rod works full time so I take photos to send to him or show when he gets home, I probably delete or retake pics that I'm in, not so much the kids, I'm lucky they are photogenic, however I am selective what I share.
Leo isn't always smiling and cutesie, sometimes he is cross eyed, frowning and yes poking that tongue out. I want to make a conscious effort not to become that "mum" with the picture perfect family, I don't want to hide his almond shaped eyes, his brush-field spots or his infamous Thompson hairline.
Sometimes the best moments aren't captured perfectly, but that "un-share worthy" photo will remind you of that moment and that's the images that we should be sharing because it makes us real.
We challenge you to capture a moment of you or your family, it might not be perfect but it will be real and its these real moments we should encourage each other to share instead of hiding behind filters or perceived social media perfection. #shareworthy @emmysbrotherleo