London - A trillion years ago BFB (Before Facebook), all you had to worry about doing when you got home after a half-term holiday was working your way through the Mount Vesuvius sized/scented pile of washing in your suitcase.
Today, you have to worry about working your way through the relentless pile of Facebook posts showing picture-perfect half-term breaks of everyone you know.
How, I wonder, do other moms make their family holidays look so damn stylish? How do they get their children to wear bows in neatly brushed hair and keep both their shoes on?
How do they persuade anyone under ten to be photographed eating exotic foreign foods like prawns or get them to visit beautiful National Trust gardens to be snapped under giant magnolia trees? Other parents’ Facebook holidays are postcards from idyllic rural retreats or dreamy foreign beaches. Mine are postcards from the edge.
After a long journey back from our Cornwall holiday with friends this week, I thought a few moments catching up on my nearest and dearests’ weeks away via Facebook would be relaxing.
But Mr Candy found me bellowing at my iPhone. Actually, it was noisier than when he witnessed me watching all the whingeing namby-pambies on Bear Grylls’s The Island (listen boys, when you’ve spent 32 hours enduring the agony of labour, then you can come over all smug about spending a month grilling a few fish on a beach bonfire, building a lopsided hammock and getting bitten by insects, OK?).
Anyway, Facebook has added to my post-holiday blues. Obviously, if I wasn’t so nosy I’d never go on it, but I’m weak and I’m drawn to this latest instrument of parental torture in the same way I’m drawn to random illogical surveys in the news about the evils of being a working mom.
Later that evening, I tell the mom friend who came on holiday with us with her seven and 11-year-old boys: ‘We have to do something about Facebook.’
‘We could always start up an alternative Facebook,’ she suggests. ‘An unfiltered version of what really happens when families go on holiday?’
‘Bad Facebook?’ I conclude. I think we could be on to something here...
On Bad Facebook this week you’d get to see the picture of both our families on our Cornish waterside bike ride. The ten of us look different from the ‘Mini-Boden’ style families cycling alongside us because we guffawed when the man hiring the bikes out asked if we wanted helmets. ‘What for?’ my seven-year-old son asked incredulously.
Instead of posting pictures of amazing home-cooking efforts (those Nigella-style birthday cakes whipped up in a frenzy), you’d get to see our ‘Bitsa’ teas (bitsa this and bitsa that).
The ones served up at 7pm because all four adults have assumed one of the other grown-ups is on kids’ tea rota. I always end up cobbling together bits-of everything left in the fridge because the rural shop has shut and the nearest supermarket is a 40-minute drive away. Instead of lovely children’s art work depicting sea views, you’d see the haphazard and frankly disturbing work of the ‘crayon ninja’.
Even if I hid a crayon in my underwear to stop my three-year-old scribbling all over the walls, she’d still manage to get it without me knowing and ‘pull-a-Jackson-Pollock’, as the 11-year-old calls it.
There wouldn’t be posts about care-free games of crazy golf because you’d get the shot of my elder two daughters’ golf clubs locked in mid-air, Game Of Thrones style, over a minor infraction of the rules. One believes rules are to be broken, the other believes anyone who breaks the rules should be set upon with a golf club.
The ever-so-cute video of them all singing Let It Go from the Disney movie Frozen would go on Bad Facebook with the voice-over that includes me yelling: ‘For the love of God stop singing — I cannot hear that ruddy song one more time!’
There’d be pictures of reheated pizzas, kids playing outside past sunset and bedtime in mis-matched PJs, and those same grubby PJs would crop up in pictures of the next day’s action, too.
None of the pictures would successfully capture all the children looking at the camera with their eyes open and in some you’d notice the smallest boy is wearing red glitter nail varnish. All of it would be ‘inappropriate’, as my pre-teen daughter now says every time something displeases her.
Perhaps I should just keep off FB until the perfect moment of family harmony occurs for us to photograph. But as Mr Candy points out, we’ll be so old by then Facebook will be long forgotten. - Daily Mail
* Lorraine Candy is editor-in-chief of Elle