Social media is a part of life. For many people, it’s the first thing you might look at in the morning. From there, you might scroll through your news feed randomly throughout the day.
If you’re a parent, though, social media can feel like a struggle. You may want to use it to connect with other parents and friends, but at the same time, it can have its downsides.
We all know the parents who post pictures of their “perfect” lives: Perfect kids, perfect dinners, perfectly clean houses, etc. It’s easy to think that they have everything together. They must never stress out over anything or lose their sh*t at their kids or partner. They certainly don’t seem to have the same struggles that you do.
Letting Social Media Dictate Your Mood
As a parent, you might already struggle with feelings of inadequacy. It’s totally normal for parents to feel like they are “failing” sometimes. Unfortunately, social media can make those feelings worse, even when you’re doing your best.
When someone shares something about their family, and it’s a parallel to something you’re struggling with, it can be a trigger for feeling anxiety, shame, or depression. Maybe you’re going through a divorce and a friend of yours posts a picture of her happy family. Maybe your kids are struggling in school and someone shares his child’s great report card.
Whatever the case, it’s important to know that there’s a reason they shared those things online.
We live in a world where “likes” and “shares” make people feel good. For some, they use it to boost their self-esteem or even their self-worth. That obviously isn’t a healthy way to prove yourself, but that’s another subject completely.
Those who put a lot of weight on their social media presence are more likely to share the “perfect” moments, even if they’re manufactured.
Seeing Through the Filters
The things people post on social media are the best moments of their lives. They are often staged, presented with filters, or missing important contextual information. Social media is a “highlight reel” of these people’s lives.
When was the last time you looked on social media and saw a photo or content about someone’s messy house? What about how badly their child was misbehaving? People rarely, if ever, post about these things. But it doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Believing all the “highlights” on social media is a recipe for feeling crappy about your own life in comparison.
So what can you do? For starters, limit your time on your social media accounts. It’s easy to get drawn in and scroll away. Before you know it, you could spend hours on an app without realizing it.
Additionally, don’t take everything you see seriously. Undoubtedly, there are great moments in your day that you could talk about or take pictures of to share online. But there are plenty of messy, chaotic, less-than-perfect moments, too.
This is true for everyone.
No one’s life is perfect all the time, so keep that in mind when you’re looking through social media. If social media posts tend to trigger you, or you’re struggling with anxiety and depression because you feel like an inadequate parent, you’re not alone. If those feelings become too strong to handle on your own, you may benefit from talking to a professional.
It’s not always easy to ignore the “perfection” on social media. If you’re struggling with feeling inadequate, anxious, or depressed in relation to parenting, feel free to reach out. We can talk more about where these feelings are coming from, and how to deal with them so that they stop interfering in your life so much. Working together can help you get to a place where you can let go of some of the pressure you put on yourself and you can enjoy parenting more.