"The big fat lie I told on Instagram."

I posted the best picture on Instagram on the weekend.

God, I looked great. And my kid looked really, really cute. And we were in a beautiful location on Sydney Harbour.

Basically, I was #winning at life, and decided to show it off.

Here’s the proof, people:

Except, it’s a big lie.

That photo bears absolutely zero resemblance to the reality of what was going on when that picture was taken. In reality, my partner and I were sniping at each other, my son was throwing the most enormous tantrum of all time and we were all hot, exhausted and being stared at by strangers.

#winning, indeed. I think, actually, it was a Fail.

It was a public holiday and in Sydney, it was 35 degrees. We had a genius idea: Let’s go to to the harbour and check out Barangaroo, the new headland park that has been four years in the making. The new jewel in our home town crown.

Barangaroo is beautiful. Thoughtfully landscaped by a outdoor architect of considerable note, it is going to be a wonderful public space for Sydneysiders, boasting the most incredible views of our stunning harbour, etc, etc. But on a stinking hot Monday morning, it is no place for little people.

The kids: “It’s hot. It’s too hot”. On repeat, at an escalating decibel.

“I want an ice cream. I WANT AN ICE CREAM.” On repeat, at an escalating decibel.

“I need more water. COLD WATER.” On repeat, at an escalating decibel.

“I’m bored. I’M BORED.” On repeat, at an escalating decibel.

“There’s a boat. Hello boat. WHY AREN’T WE ON A BOAT??” Every time a boat went by (which was often, this being a harbour).

There are no ice-cream shops at Barangaroo. There aren’t any water bubblers (yet). There’s no play equipment. There’s just us, making our own Family Fun, rapidly running out of water and snacks as we try to make rock-hopping more enjoyable than it actually is in 30+ degree heat.

And then, at the furthest point from our only means of escape car the kids decided to refuse to walk any further. First one, and then the other, just sat down on the footpath and yelled. Loudly.

Passers-by stared. Stress levels rose. Swearwords were whispered. Low-level threats were delivered.


But you’d never know any of that from the Instagram post. You wouldn’t know that to get that shot I sat down near where my son was prostrate, banging fists, kicking and screaming, and bribed him with the promise of the closest ice cream we could find and a swift journey home. He took a while…

Resisted me for a while:

But I persisted to get my perfect picture. Why? Because there aren’t enough photos of me and my son. Because he doesn’t sit still. Because he will only snuggle up on my knee if he’s tired or sick or scared. Because I take all the pictures in our family and so I am not in any of them.

Because I had a big hat on, and sunnies, and both those things hide wrinkles and eyebags and bad hair days, and all the other reasons I usually hate being in pictures. I had a fake tan last week for Christ’s sake. It was my time.

So we dragged the children to a picturesque spot and I insisted.

I bribed my kids with processed sugar treats to get the image I wanted of what our family should look like on a family day out. Not what we ACTUALLY look like on a family day out.

I am not proud of this. We should all be more warts and all about the realities of family life, to assure everyone that there is no perfect family, that there is no perfect way to live. That’s a huge part of what I do at work every day.

But on that day, I forgot that. And told a big fat Instagram lie that made me look as close to a Yummy Mummy as I’m ever going to get, and my son as close to a smiling cherub as he has ever been.

Don’t tell me you haven’t done it.

For more true tales of family life, listen to This Glorious Mess, where this week, among other things, Andrew Daddo and I discuss the little black doll that stopped the nation, and whether or not you should EVER share a pic of you and your kid in the shower.

And if you are still confused about podcasts, watch this terribly helpful video on how to get yourself one. NOW.

Is your Instagram feed anything like your real life? 

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