Lately there has been a lot of talk, mostly on the internet, about being "real." Keeping things "real." Celebrating "real" life. It manifests in hyper-confessional blog posts, harried-mom remakes of pop songs and music videos, perfectly lit and filtered shallow-depth-of-field photos of children tottering on stools and messing up kitchens.
And hashtags. Oh, so very many hashtags.
As you can probably tell, I'm still trying to figure out where I stand on this influx of reality. Some of it (a lot of it) actually doesn't feel particularly real or relatable. It certainly doesn't feel necessary. Who honestly thought that life was perfect? Or that parenting was effortless? Does that really need to be proven? I get the impression that a lot of time and effort is being put into making the appearance of simply lifting a veil. It's almost like everyone is trying to out-real each other and, in the trying, kind of missing the point.
That said, I do think honesty is an important practice. And I do think it's good to allow ourselves to define real in whatever way feels right and true.
For example, last weekend was my daughter's birthday. I love my kids and I love a good party. I love unexpected touches and thoughtful details and fun goody bags and homemade cakes just as much as the next girl. But this year, for this party, I just wasn't sure I had the time or energy for all of that. I didn't feel like entering the ring of crazy, overdone celebrations. And I knew that that wasn't even what she wanted. She wanted a bounce house and balloons and napkins with cartoon characters on them. And I knew that the kids who came would be just as happy taking home a little bottle of bubbles as they would be taking home a custom, monogrammed something-or-other. So that's what we did. We kept it simple. We kept it real.