The social media mom versus real life
We’ve all seen it: the perfect pictures on Instagram with someone using the hashtag #blessed. Or the gorgeous DIY second birthday party for a toddler, complete with crafts that belong in the pages of Martha Stewart or on Pinterest. You may know one of these moms in person, and secretly – or not so secretly – look up to them...or judge them.
For the last ten years, I’ve made my living teaching others how to market their brands on social media. I’ve seen it all, from relationship building in the early days of Twitter, to Instagram pods to get more engagement on your own content, to Facebook organic reach basically going to zero. Ten years since the concept of “social media” was introduced to the general public (yes, websites like Myspace or Friendster were around, but I would say they were primarily for younger or more tech-savvy audiences than Facebook. I mean, my mom has been on Facebook since 2008. Not saying she knows how to use it, but...).
We are still learning how to deal with this new technology
We are now seeing trends of tablets being confiscated from toddlers in an effort to get them to want to play outside. Or of parents taking phones away from their kids because it has been shown that social media leads to depression amongst teenagers.
And guess what – depression because of social media impacts adults as well. Hello, FOMO! Life is not perfect. Not for ANY of us. No matter how much greener the grass looks on the other side, I can tell you first hand that it is not. What we sometimes don’t see is that the grass is only green on that one small patch that people take pictures of, and everything else around it is dried up, or just dirt – much like our own lives. The blogger going to free wine tastings or press events may be struggling financially, because free wine doesn’t pay the bills (I know this because I have tried in the past).
Being “authentic on social media” isn’t JUST a buzzword
Thankfully, there is also a movement on social media dedicated to sharing truths about being a parent and a real life human being (versus depicting only gorgeous, curated shots taken by a professional photographer). The Instagram hashtags like #assholeparent or #momtruth highlight the messiness of parenthood. Because, while parenthood is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, MUCH of the time it’s messy. I mean, I have a toddler. Everything is messy.
This blog post is dedicated to anyone who has had a hard time in public with their children and been told by someone else to “treasure every moment.” I’m here to tell you that it is perfectly OK to not treasure every moment, no matter what your situation is, because not all moments need to be treasured. And what is worthy of being deemed a “treasurable moment” is subjective, anyways. Maybe you are the type of mom who loves getting up at 4am with your toddler for no reason at all other than him simply wanting to watch Paw Patrol. Or maybe you love changing that second diaper, right after you put on all of their clothes and both shoes and are grabbing your keys to go out the door.
Living in the information age of parenting
One really good thing about social media is that you can get access to information quickly. Just one google search at 3am can return blog posts about topics you struggle with. You can get tips and tricks from others who have dealt with the same issues, and you’re able to read about topics like miscarriage, or sleep training, or getting your toddler to eat.
It has taken me two and a half years to get to a place where I realize that ALL parents have it rough, and that I am definitely not any different from that mom who looks like she has it all… Well, maybe she has better lighting for pictures.