No Poop Stew for You: Don’t feel bad because you think everyone is happier than you are

It’s easy to do. Other people with their new jobs, their shiny-happy families, their creative successes, all documenting their lives in a series of status updates, pithy tweets, and photo albums. If you’re feeling crummy, it can be tough to take. Especially if you’ve glued yourself to Facebook or Twitter.

So, here’s what to do: First of all, don’t do that.

Some people are super confessional by nature and want to share their ups and downs. Because many of my friends are artists, this is something I see a lot of and I respect it. It’s just one way to be. For me, personally, if I’m posting negative stuff, it doesn’t make me feel better. I’ve done it, and I don’t like it. It makes me feel worse, like I made a poop stew and I’m just, you know, stewing. In poop.

On social media, I usually share photos of my kid (so far away friends and family can see her grow), a stupid joke (cause I’m a jerk), or an article I like.

The other day I posted a picture of my baby and I sitting in front of a historical house in foliage-perfect Concord, MA. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, we are happy and together.


This is how I want to remember it, because it was the true spirit of the day.

Not pictured: The sinus infection I have, the cold my baby is fighting, and the stress of nursing her while she has trouble breathing, the five times I woke up with her the night before, the quiet regret of not meeting my writing goals or my exercise goals, and a million other worries and cares that are pretty normal.

It’s all the truth, all part of the picture, but I want to share the happy thing because it feels truest. I’d be willing to bet that even the friends whose careers seem perfect and houses look spotless have things they’re unhappy about too.

We’re all doing what we can with what we have, and trying our best. You aren’t doing NaNoWriMo? That’s OK! Your job stinks? That’s OK too! Normal. We’re all normal, so quit stressing about the fact that your college roommate just published his third book and it’s being optioned by Paramount. He just might have a really nasty foot fungus that makes it awful to wear shoes. So, you know, you wouldn’t even want to walk a mile in those gross mothers.

This advice is for me too – I thought I’d have a book out by now and I don’t. Bummer. But, it’s a process and I’m learning, so I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m just going to keep fighting for writing time and creating new work. And the new stuff is better than the old stuff because that’s how experience works.

So for you and for me: Nevermind about anyone else’s schedule – you are right on time for you.


6 thoughts on “No Poop Stew for You: Don’t feel bad because you think everyone is happier than you are

  1. Getting a little weepy because this is just what I needed to hear right now. Hope you and Emmie feel better soon. It’s such a struggle to justify writing time when baby time seems so much more important, and then add sleep deprivation and illness to the mix…it’s no bueno. I feel you, girl.

  2. This is awesome. Sometimes, I love social media (pictures of my friends & their babies!). But, I also think it has made people–and parents, in particular–way less happy than they used to be. Sooo many more people to compare ourselves to, and soooo many more guilt-inducing posts about stuff like “that mom who was on her iPhone while her kids were at the playground.” Thank you for nailing this. No more guilt or jealousy over what we see in Internet pictures!

  3. Agree entirely. I don’t get that feeling from Facebook, but I REALLY get it from LinkedIn. Every time I go on there I end up feeling worse about myself. So now I’ve decided to only go on there when I really need to.

    Everybody has an “internet self” which is always more successful and creative and attractive than their actual self. But we only see the curated part online, so we assume everybody else has it easier than we do.

    I also find that a way to combat my own poop stew is to think really hard about the good stuff I have, rather than the stuff I don’t. Not that I’m good at that, but I’m working on it.

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