Do you remember a time not too long ago, when parenting was so much simpler? When the bulk of parenting took place behind closed doors, and apart from the occasional chitchat sessions during family gatherings, nobody really had a clue how everyone ran their household?
Well, things have definitely changed drastically, all thanks (or should I say, no thanks?) to social media. Yes, social media has affected parenting and here is what you absolutely must know!
Social media has affected parenting in many ways. Before delving deeper into the ways it has altered how people perceive parenting, it’s important to establish this – what you see on social media is only what people allow you to see. There might be so much more to the story, that you are completely unaware of. That’s precisely why we should take all that we see with a pinch of salt.
Social media makes mums depressed
Social media affects parenting by making mums feel low and depressed about themselves. They look at mums sharing picture-perfect moments of their families onboard a cruise in the Caribbean, with their children all smiling and looking perfect in spite of the heat.
They look at mums proudly sharing the achievements of their children and they inevitably start comparing.
Why is my child taking so long to learn how to read and write? Is there something wrong with her?
How does she get her child to ace every test that he sits for?
How come her kids are good at pretty much everything – sports, music, grades?
They look at other mums whipping up a storm and drool at the spread of gastronomical delights that seem to adorn the family dining table every evening and wonder why they can’t even get their omelette right.
They look at mums who bounce back into shape and look good enough to grace the cover of Vogue, within weeks of having a baby. Then they look at themselves in the mirror and feel no better than a potato sack.
And then there’s the mum who just can’t stop sharing pictures of her breast milk and how her freezer is running out of space and she just doesn’t know what to do with all the excess milk.
Mums who are struggling with milk supply issues feel depressed when they see pictures of mums with oversupply.
Did I mention the mum who posts pictures of successfully potty training her child, complete with pictures of the, well, less than desirable sight in the potty, as evidence for her accomplishment?
If you think I’m exaggerating, I’m really not. There seems to be no limit to just how much mums share on social media these days. And in this manner, social media is affecting parenting.
Mums who are struggling to barely hold themselves together, spiral into an abyss of self-loathing and worthlessness.
Just how does she get everything right and I can’t even do the simplest thing like getting my child to eat without turning the house upside down?
When is the last time I managed to put on some nice clothes and makeup and go out looking like a normal human being?
Now mums, do remember that while social media is replete with these beautiful moments that make parenting seem as easy as A-B-C, looking at parenting through social media is tantamount to looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses.
Unbeknownst to you is another side of the story. The very mum whom you think has a perfect life and is holding everything together perfectly, might actually be a huge wreck and crying herself to sleep every night, or on anti-depressants. What would you know really?
The mum who seems to be all smiles and travelling the world with an infinite bank account may be secretly finding a way to get over her husband’s infidelity. What would you know?
And for all that you know, these very ‘perfect’ mums may be looking at your life, and yearning with all they have, to walk in your shoes.
You will never know the true picture. Don’t believe all that you see.
Social media makes mums judgmental
On the other extreme, social media affects parenting by giving mothers a misplaced sense of self-righteousness. There are some mums who think a little too highly of themselves and believe that no one does the whole parenting thing better than them.
They use social media as a platform to troll what other mums do, and find every given opportunity to share their ‘views’. And beneath a veneer of seeming concern, lies a dark truth – they are mocking and shaming other mums.
They share their opinions because it makes them feel good to have a say. It makes them feel good to offer suggestions that they know are far from plausible and just leaves other mums feeling even more worthless.
Yes, unfortunately, mums like this do exist.
Social media affects parenting by giving mums the opportunity to poke their noses into other people’s lives and judge them. They gossip about other mums and how they are doing it all wrong. They feel good about the privileges that they have and add insult to the injury of those who are already having a difficult time.
Social media makes mums compete unnecessarily
Social media has affected parenting by making it seem like a competition. While some mums genuinely use social media as a platform to network, catch up with each other and help those in need, others feel a need to outdo each other.
It becomes an ugly rat race of whose child attends the best school, whose child learns the fastest, who wears the nicest clothes and the list goes on.
It also becomes a competition for who lost weight faster, who throws the biggest party, who has the latest limited edition Tula carrier, you get the drift.
And in doing so, mums feel a need to prove a point. Sometimes they end up posting untrue things or even humble bragging.
Parenting should never work that way. Everyone’s journey is unique and every child learns and grows at his own pace. Parenting was and never should be a competition.
So you see mums, social media has affected parenting in many ways that it shouldn’t have. It’s fine to spend all that time scrolling through your newsfeed and keeping up with what everyone is up to, but never should you allow it to take a toll on your life.
It’s so important that you are confident about yourself and understand how social media works. Remember, as your children eventually start getting onboard social media, you need to be the one reminding them not to allow social media to affect the way they perceive themselves and their lives.
On a concluding note, as much as you think your parenting journey is a mess, or you are terrible at being a parent, remember, motherhood is like a discordant symphony.
There will be good days and there will be days that can be better. There will be days that are downright awful and there will be days that you will be walking on air. Each and every one of these days and experiences are precious, for they shape you into the mum you are!
And trust me when I say – the mum you are is nothing short of perfect!