I have seen the most perfect parents on social media. They are consistently beautiful, and they really look like they have it all together.
This was before I became a mother myself. I would look at these pictures and videos on Instagram and feel broody. Then I had my own child, who is now a toddler, and even trying to get a decent picture is mission impossible. If she doesn’t want to grab the phone from me to have an incoherent conversation with a non-existent person, she wants to run around. All I want is a pretty picture, is that too much to ask?
The point? Mothers judge themselves based on what they see on social media. This is part of the reason why I started my blogging journey. I just couldn’t handle all the fakeness anymore.
The pressure of snapping back after childbirth is a real thing. I have seen celebrity mothers looking like they did not have a baby a few weeks earlier, while I still look like I am giving birth to another one in five months.
A recent study conducted with 143 students from the University of Pennsylvania indicates there is a direct correlation between the wellbeing of students and their social media usage.
When they were asked to limit their usage, they felt less lonely, and their overall wellbeing improved. Students with high usage of social media platforms were identified to be more depressed and lonely. One important thing to note about social media is that it is curated content, and people start comparing themselves to the people they are seeing and the content they view. People only post what they want us to see. Don’t ever forget that!
Can you imagine what happened in my head when I saw a postpartum mom’s body with no hanging tummy and stretch marks? I constantly judged myself.
How many people do we know who were smiling on Facebook one day, and the next day you hear they committed suicide due to depression? I have heard of a lot, both in the limelight and not. This alone should teach us to not take social media too seriously.
The reality is that people lie on social media. They claim to be in exotic destinations when they are in the office, typing away. And don’t get me started on people who recycle content all the time when they were in Dubai seven months ago. Then I get an instant heart attack because I can’t even afford to drive to Mpumalanga.
The truth is that social media is a platform people can use to represent themselves in ways they desire. The person on their Instagram account is, more often than not, the person they would like to be.
It may be a perennial traveller, a flawless beach babe or a healthy fitness guru. For example, the fitness guru will post a picture of the salad they had for lunch, but would not tell us about the burger and chips they had for dinner. And in the meantime, I feel so guilty because I cheated and had a cookie at lunch.
Perfection does not exist.
That perfect mom we see on Instagram might have omitted the fact that she woke up seven times during the night because her child was not feeling well. Or that her child is throwing tantrums and she is having an emotional breakdown.
There is a handful of mom bloggers that I personally look up to because of their brutal honesty. I obviously have no idea which details they choose not to divulge.
So dear moms, please rest assured that you are doing an amazing job raising your little ones. They don’t need a strict sleeping routine because your favourite celebrity’s kids have one, neither do they need to start walking at nine months old because a social media influencer’s child did.
Parenting does not come with a handbook, and if it did, it would be an enormous one because we all parent differently. I always say that as long as your children are eating, drinking, happy and healthy, then you are doing an amazing job!