It is the middle of the night, you are awake again, not because you want to be, it is feeding time.
You are trying to be in the moment with your baby, but you forget how much sleep you have had, maybe a couple of hours. There is always so much to do. Cooking, washing, work. You reach for your phone to get some insight into the real world. Open Facebook.
The pictures pop-up – one mum has cooked cupcakes, another has had a very messy craft session, some have gone to music class or rhyme time or swimming. Pushing their designer pram to play dates in cafes. All the mums looking perfect – with hair and make-up. All the babies are perfect. You find you have once again fallen asleep feeding your baby, boobs hanging out, mouth hanging open, exhaustion, despair that you are not like ‘those’ mums.
The thing with social media is that people choose what they post. They choose the photo they upload. What you see when you see the pictures of all the amazing mums is that moment in time. You are not seeing the mounds of washing or the full kitchen sink or the moment in the middle of the night that is a bit tough. The relationship problems. All you see is that beautiful, happy picture for that moment.
A recent survey by Parents found that 79% of respondents felt that parents overshare on social media. Yet that is the type of society that we live in, that our children are being born into. Where every happy, braggable moment is posted on Facebook, tweeted or pinned for the whole world to see.
This same survey found that 67% think most parents aren’t honest on social media about the realities of parenting. The happy picture which is taken at that moment in time is, in most cases, not telling the real story. Remember this – no person or parent is perfect.
The other Phenomenon about parenting through social media, is that many people are posting looking for likes and beautiful comments – to affirm that they are really doing a great job. We all understand that there is no harder job in this world than being a parent. What happens when you do post a picture of you and baby out and about – or a milestone comment and you don’t get the affirmation that you are searching for or someone makes a comment that you don’t like? Does that also make you feel like a bad parent?
Social media is only new, and the effects it is having on our society – and people – are only just starting to be studied. For many new parents, it becomes a safe place to go to ask questions, post your baby pictures and share the milestones. For some, it becomes a place where they feel judgement, a place where they believe they are not living up to the mythical perfect parent. For children who are born in this era of social media, they already have a social profile. That is something that you, as parents, also need to be aware of.
Share on social media, be cautious not to overshare. Mix up the ‘structured’ perfect shots with the not-so-perfect. Show people you are real. Comment on other people’s photos, be positive and encouraging. If you need help, ask. It is always amazing where you will find your support community. Remember that you are creating your child’s social profile that could potentially stay with them for life.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what others are doing, the only person who matters is you. Know that you are doing the absolute best job you can and for that you are an amazing parent. You don’t need likes and comments on social media to tell you that – tell yourself – everyday!
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