Why We Need to Remember That the Picture-Perfect Motherhood We See on Social Media Is Not Real Life
Social media has changed many aspects of our lives, and parenting is one of them. When we scroll our news feed and see gorgeous supermoms capable of doing a million things at once with smiling, well-behaved children around them, we may be trying to compare ourselves with those “perfect” moms, whether we realize it or not. We may respond with likes, but when we look at their ideal parenting timeline, deep inside us a feeling of failure may arise, bringing up the frustrating question, “Am I even a good mom?”
We at Bright Side took a closer look at how the picture-perfect parenting we see on social media may affect moms, and here’s what we’ve learned.
Social media shows us motherhood that is way too perfect.
While your own experience with motherhood is probably pretty messy and sleep-deprived, the photos “perfect” moms post on social media may be far from what you are experiencing. They look gorgeous, wealthy, successful, and full of energy, while their children are well-behaved and effortlessly beautiful. Their houses are clean and their dinners are delicious. No dirty diapers, piles of laundry, or toys tossed around. So, what gives?
What we may not think about while looking at all these photos of someone else’s “ideal” life is that they are often a result of the hard work of staging, taking multiple shots, choosing the perfect ones, and editing them before posting. Many women nowadays actively use social media to promote their businesses, which also implies showing off their lifestyle, including parenting. Their real-life motherhood may be just as “imperfect” as yours, but they choose not to share that side of their life, letting us see perfectly clean homes and happy kids eating warm cookies that their mommies have just baked.
We start comparing ourselves with other parents.
Being exposed to this information can make moms feel insecure and even guilty. Social media promotes an image of a supermom whose kids go to the best schools, have the fanciest toys, and travel the world. A mom whose own parenting experience doesn’t look like all the images on her feed can start comparing herself to others, questioning whether she is good enough and why she gets stressed.
Whenever you realize you are comparing yourself to another mom from Facebook or Instagram, experts suggest that you ask yourself, “Do I really know this woman? Am I familiar with her life?” We often compare ourselves to people we’ve never met and forget that we only know some carefully chosen bits of information about them. This is not a fair comparison, because we know every tiny detail about our own lifestyle and motherhood, and we know almost nothing about the real life of the moms we see on social media.
We share too much.
The “perfect mothers race” on social media can make us post too much, too often. We spend more time taking pictures of our lifestyle and kids, more time editing and choosing photos, and more time posting and checking how many likes our posts receive. When we don’t get as many likes as we expected or when we read negative comments, our feelings may get hurt.
We hunt for picture-worthy moments.
Oversharing means taking more pictures, and sometimes we may even force those touching parenting moments in order to take a bunch of awesome photos. Sometimes it also means choosing between actually living through those precious moments spent with your child and taking dozens of pictures for sharing on social media.
Take a pause before you reach for your phone to take another photo of your child, and enjoy the moment.
Your kid’s first steps, first words, or their happy face when they finally manage to tie their shoelaces are precious moments of parent-child interaction that you probably don’t want to miss. Enjoy them to the fullest before you grab your phone and start evaluating whether this or that moment is “picture-worthy.” Even if you decide to take that shot, think about whether you really want to share it with the world, or do you just want to keep it for yourself.
Let’s use social media as a means to support each other.
We all can take little steps to make social media a positive and parent-friendly environment that will encourage us as parents, instead of making us feel jealous, guilty, or frustrated. We can start with sharing our parenting experiences honestly, without staging and filters, to let other moms know they are not alone. The more realistic the images of motherhood are that we see, the more confident and uplifted we may feel. Experts also suggest that we reach out to other moms for help and a piece of advice when we need it, and social media is a perfect tool to use to do this.
Together we can turn social media into a useful platform for sharing our highs and lows, accepting who we are and keeping it real, instead of just boasting about our achievements.
Do you share your parenting moments on social media? Do you like looking through pictures posted by other parents? If you do, how do these pictures make you feel?