Nowadays parents are judged for their every choice. We can’t get away from it. Everyone seems to think they are entitled to an opinion about how we raise our kids and live our lives. From feeding to discipline. Social media has become like a school playground and parents are back to feeling like insecure teenagers.
Sometimes I just want to give up with the world. Speaking to some friends over the past few days it is becoming increasingly clear that social media is now the new playground, and mums feel like teenagers all over again.
Someone told me they were scared to post about a fantastic family day out they’d had incase it appeared too boastful. Another absolutely adores being at home with her kids and showing off their home schooling but is scared to admit this because she feels like she should really be joining in with the ‘pass me the wine’ crowd.
There are mums out there who are scared to post about aspects of their lives because of the fear of what everyone else thinks. Just like back in school when some people would never admit they liked certain music or just followed the herd and wore whatever was in fashion. Nowadays mums are bombarded in the news with articles about what’s best. How you should feed. Setting routines. If you let them co-sleep you are setting them up to be insecure. If you leave them to cry they will become traumatised. It is relentless.
Then you have the added pressure of social media influencers who are keen to show their haphazard parenting as a comedic view of life with kids. And that in turn leads to people being mocked if they enjoy making packed lunches that look like works of art or actually dread child free time. We truly can’t win.
When did it become wrong to just be you? We are not all the same.
I definitely make snap judgements. We all do. You see something online and form an opinion. But I am beginning to realise the impact of any comments we make and how they can be interpreted. I never comment on anyones posts unless I have something positive to say. But sometimes there are people who post such strong opinions that they cry out for a response. I am trying not to get involved in any controversy (work in progress sometimes something just proves too much for me to resist! The anti-vaxers are a great example I couldn’t help throw my pennies worth in!)
But the fact that someone felt she couldn’t post a gloriously smiley photo from her family weekend for fear of being ridiculed online made me so sad. I love seeing the happy side of parenting. I frequently post our own happy snaps without a second thought. I would love to think that the answer would just be for everyone to grow a thick skin and say fuck it, but I also know that isn’t that easy.
I’ve also seen the flipside. I have been acused of being a neglectful mother when I posted snaps of me and my husbands solo city breaks. I have had horrible messages when I have dared to say I had put the kids to bed early to crack open the wine. I have been sent links to gentle parenting websites when I have mentioned shouting at the kids and I was even called a self centered twat and told my daughter would grow up to hate me on one of my posts last year. It’s no wonder parents are questioning their every post online.
Social media has been incredible. It has opened up channels of communication for people who may never have had the courage to strike up friendships in real life. But it has also brought with it a sense of falseness. I am guilty of it as much as anyone. We show what we want to on our online profiles and can edit our lives. The majority of my life on social media is how it is. But I won’t lie and say that my family are always delighted when I yell ‘hold it right there, this will make an amazing Insta shot!’
The truth of it is that social media has become a place where those old school bullies have found a new forum. There are trolls behind the keyboard across the world ready to take you down. You have the grammer police, the snobs and the haters. But when it comes down to it, your social media accounts are your own. Don’t be afraid of blocking anyone who makes you feel anthing other than happy with your content. Don’t feel like you need to be friends with certain people. I have unfollowed many accounts over the last 6 months because I wasn’t enjoying them. Quite a few of these people I would gladly talk to in person because we get on really well, but I just didn’t enjoy their online content – and that’s ok. Do whatever works for you. Lots of people arent even on certain social media chanels anymore because it was having a negative impact on them. Take a break from it if it starts having a negative impact on your life.
There is no easy answer. How does social media impact on your life? Do you feel able to post freely? Or do you feel judged?