Where should I even begin with this topic? I guess we’ll start with how sensitive social media was for me during early motherhood.
Perhaps it was my own fault that I felt bad about myself when I would open social media based on the people I would follow, mainly on Instagram, depicting these happy, fun, fulfilled moms with their young babies and kids. Especially when my kids were babies and I thought “this is supposed to be the happiest time of my life” and it definitely did not feel that way for me. I couldn’t understand why every other mom seemed like she had this whole motherhood thing figured out and I didn’t.
The comparison is one of the things that sent me into a downward spiral on a daily basis. It is so hard to compare somebody else’s life (especially a stranger) to your own when they are showing a highlight reel. But that is what I did and honestly, how easy is that to do? In this day and age we spend so much of our time on social media that it is hard to remember that things aren’t always the way they seem. Even I would post pictures on social media depicting this happy family and I am sure from the outside looking in it seemed like I had everything figured out, but that could not have been farther from the truth.
Even the simplest of things would trigger me. Because my kids were so close in age, for the first few years of their lives I could not even take them to the park by myself out of fear that I would lose sight of one of them and they would “disappear” on me (that was perhaps, in part, my anxiety). I would see other moms with young kids doing fun things, like going to the park, and I would think “why can they do that and I can’t?!” That would make me feel envious, jealous, and like a bad mom because my kids were missing out on things because of me.
I’ll use our Disney trip as another example. I have seen SO many families on social media of BABIES and kids going to Disney and it looks like they had so much fun. Now, I am not here to say whether they actually had fun or not, but I will say that I couldn’t believe any mom with a baby would feel stable enough to take them to Disney. I could barely leave the house when my kids were babies!!! So the fact that my kids were 4 & 5 when we had Disney booked made me think that my kids were really missing out.
Again, it was all me comparing myself to other moms, but why?! When we made the decision to cancel Disney and I really started to work on myself internally, I realized that I had put so much pressure on myself to take my family to Disney because I had seen so many other women on social media doing it, I thought that I should, too. Every single family is different and has a different dynamic, and what works for one family might not work for another, but it is so easy to forget that when you are scrolling through social media.
Early motherhood was so tough on me, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I was also so worried about what other people thought of me because I was CONSTANTLY comparing myself to others. As a result, I felt a lot of pressure to post “happy pictures” on my social media so that others would look at it and think I was a good mom. I am in no way, shape, or form saying that I was not a good mom by doing this, but I am saying that I did not have to do this to prove I was a good mom and I am sad that I felt like I did.
Right now in my life, as a mom to a 4 & 5 year old, I am completely content with my family and I am totally confident in knowing that I am a great mom. I only wish I could have believed this sooner.
Moral of the story – don’t believe everything you see on social media. Just because somebody is posting beautiful pictures of their family does not mean that they are any happier than you in real life. It also does not matter what anyone else thinks about you and your family; if you know in your heart of hearts that you are a good mom and that you are doing your best every single day, then who gives a shit what anybody else thinks? You get one life and you just have to do the best you can. Whether you decide to post that life on social media is totally up to you, but try to remember to not compare your real life to somebody else’s highlight reel.