Several months ago, an article on the phenomenon of “Fakebooking” swept the Internet. The author asserted how Facebook is often a vehicle for lying to your virtual friends by only posting the most perfect posts and photos from your life. By omitting our more real moments (aka childrens’ tantrums, losing our cool, feeding our children less than “Martha Stewart-worthy” meals, or tidying up the background before taking a photo), we were creating a “fake” version of ourselves and creating an impossible set of standards by which our friends all judged themselves.
I will be the first to admit that I derive great pleasure from kvelling over my childrens’ accomplishments or sharing the latest photo of my smiling (and never arguing) children. But I am also the first to admit that parenting two young children is often messy and far from perfect. When will we as a society be able to truly reveal what it looks and feels like to be a parent?
The Purim story addresses this modern conundrum in a very real way. Although Facebook was not an option for our Purim characters in ancient Persia, the events of Purim do address the meaning of wearing a mask and showing the world who we really are. Queen Esther was forced to hide her true Jewish identity from her own husband, in order to protect herself and the Jewish people. Her wise Uncle Mordechai famously convinced her to shed her mask and tell the truth to her husband, King Achashveros.
With every birthday, I find my need to compare myself to others and measure my worth against unattainable goals, beauty standards, or parenting ideals diminishes. I am learning to do the best I can for myself and my family and not worry that my children are not receiving enough Pinterest-inspired crafts on a rainy day or that I served them cold cereal for dinner. (Again!)
As parents in a Facebook world, we must try to support our fellow friends through honesty and finding ways to share more often our real, beautiful moments than carefully crafted and edited sound bytes from our lives. After all, if Esther had the courage to face death by revealing her true identity, imagine how easy it will be for us to be more real with those we love and trust.