As a person who has grown up with social media, and now raising kids born into it, I’m slowly but surely learning how to evolve with it. Social Media has succumbed pretty much everything in our lives, with us basically having a plethora in the palms of our hands at all times, depending on how attached to our devices we are. It is all around us, and it honestly can either make you, break you, or both. Now enter motherhood into the equation: something so huge, profound, and important that it can make the strongest person feel vulnerable at any given moment.
As an avid social media user (since the days of myspace), I have found that mothering during the digital social media age is a whole different animal than the days of our mothers’ parenting years. I vividly remember being pregnant with my five-year-old and discovering online birth boards, mom groups, and breastfeeding groups. There were so many resources given to me in such a short time, I thought to forget the baby books because I have everything I need right here on my iPhone. My mind was literally blown with a cloud of amazement mixed with intense anxiety. Then enter the newborn days: there are the mom influencers that I spent many hours of my newborn breastfeeding sessions scrolling through their feeds, looking at the mom goals they were exuding, wishing and hoping I could be a parent like them and also feeling like they were, in a way, better than me because of the aesthetically pleasing feed they had, the creative activities they did for their kids, and the meals they put together and that they actually got their kids to eat what they cooked. Now, this influencer mentality is nothing new as it was even around during our mothers’ days in the form of ads, the mom at the park, parenting books, parenting magazines. It’s just that now we have all of that in one, with easy access to it all, plus more, conveniently in the palm of our hands.
Inspiration Over Influence
As easy as it is to get caught up in the sticky web of comparison, personally I had to learn that I cannot compare myself to another woman’s journey with motherhood. I will admit there were many days I was glued to my phone awing over these mothers I would see, and, while doing so, attacking my own parenting style. Being the best and giving the best for our children is a natural desire. I had to learn that, while I was scrolling through feeds comparing myself to other moms and adding their characteristics to mine, I was on a downward spiral of suppressing all the things that make me the mom I am. Instead of mom-shaming myself, I changed my view by seeing things as a source of inspiration rather than a source of want. Also, if something is impacting you in a negative way, even though it may be unwillingly from the source, get rid of it. Personally, it is unhealthy and draining to ‘follow’ someone, and every time I see something from them it brings my mood down.
The Good Effect
Social media is in fact a ‘you get what you take out of it’ type of deal, and for me, it has done more good than harm. It has connected me during my motherhood journey with others during times when I felt alone or even when I had a crazy question about something my baby was doing. During the middle of the night, hours being a new mom with a question and turning to the many resources of the internet has been a lifesaver on many occasions for me and I’m sure countless others. The whole aspect of connecting with other people like you, the different resources, and helpful blogs can be something of value to a new mom or even a veteran mom.
There’s a side effect to everything, and social media is not exempt from that. When I feel that side effect is creeping up on me I try to discard of it by logging out and logging in to the real world. If there’s a moment the impact of the internet makes you feel inadequate know that you are enough.