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Mom-ing It Online
I admit, I've spent way too long on certain friends' Facebook pages, scrolling through their photos of birthday parties, matching holiday outfits, and luscious four-course meals, immersing myself in their apparently perfect lives.
This modern age of social networks gives us unprecedented access to other mothers' lives. It's so easy to get caught up in their poignant photos and celebratory posts about kids' accomplishments and start believing that this carefully curated online identity is actually the sum of your mom friends' lives.
Inevitably, this leads to self-judgment. Nothing like looking up from a slideshow of a friend's newly designed kitchen to see your own: dirty, disorganized ... depressing.
But what most of us know deep down is that this online life -- the one carefully crafted on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. -- is only the highlight reel. The behind-the-scenes life is much grittier, filled with more tantrums and (literal) dirty laundry than most of us want to reveal to the world.
And so, just like we tell our kids to avoid looking to social networks for validation by hanging on every comment and "like," we need to tell ourselves the same thing. These lives you see online are deceptive -- they appear to be intimate portraits of families that are much better organized and having way more fun than you -- but they're only part of the story. Most people edit out that they're seeing a therapist, that their kid failed an important test, or that their latest check bounced.
Understanding your value as a mother is a much more internal experience than you'll find online. It's something you have to build day to day through moments with your kids and believe deep down, even when it feels like a thankless slog.
So if you're feeling down on yourself -- whether you're dealing with postpartum depression, family strife, or just general unkindness toward yourself -- you can either step away from the computer or use it as a way to reach out. Because that's the great thing about the access we have to one another -- someone's always there to prop you up or commiserate. Just stay away from the photo albums.
Does social media ever get you down? How do you combat it? (And please follow me on Twitter -- I promise not to make you feel depressed!)