Parenting is challenging and sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be. I stopped subscribing to “mommy” social media and parenting got much easier.
People don’t talk enough about postpartum anxiety and the worries that come along with stepping into mommyhood.
Am I producing enough milk? Is he sleeping enough? What are his wake hours? How early should he go to bed? Am I keeping him safe when friends and family visit?
The list of questions can go on and on. Then you get on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube and your anxieties are fed even more with all of the posts on what you should and shouldn’t be doing for your child, therefore sending you spiraling even more.
I’ve already discussed my struggles with postpartum here but what I didn’t realize at that time was how much “mommy” social media played a role in how I saw myself as a mom. I literally stressed over everything. The feeding schedule. The bottles. Where he slept. Who visited. The wipes, the diapers. The routine. I stressed so much to the point where I gave up on trying to fulfill someone elses’s goals for my household.
When I realized my judgment and decisions as a mom could be trusted without having to verify it first by social media or Google, mommying got 10x easier and I could spend more time in the moment enjoying my son and our family. Here’s what changed.
I was a more present mom.
I found that when I spent so much time trying to repeat what I saw or read about parenting on social media, I was limiting my true capacity for being a mom and a good partner. I was merely performing instead of being present. I was too focused on making sure how I “parented” met the script I read. Now without such a heavy reliance on social media, I am fully present without having my head down trying to read through a rulebook.
I was able to enjoy the mommy moments more.
When you’re trying to follow a rulebook all the time, it kind of reminds you of working and trying to follow some standard operating procedures. It all felt like a job and it was hard to truly enjoy being a mother. Do you know how draining it is to feel like you have to accomplish all of these tasks, schedules, and routines in order to take care of your child? What happens when you begin doing what’s best for both you and the baby and having fun along the way? Simply being a mom becomes much more enjoyable when you focus on your and your baby’s well-being and happiness and not the opinions of others.
The pressure to be perfect was removed.
All the Instagram mommies seem like they have parenting figured out and know all of the secrets and tips to make parenting foolproof – for their standards. That doesn’t have to be your standard. I like to think of myself as an everyday, down-to-earth mom who, for goodness sake, doesn’t have it figured out and makes mistakes from time to time. Far from perfect. Before I came to this conclusion, I was so focused on duplicating everything I saw and trying to be perfect, I found little to no joy in being a mother. Now that I’ve figured out what kind of mother I want to be, and got quite a few good check-ups at the pediatrician, I can breathe.
My confidence as a mom increased.
I think this is my favorite change of them all. Once I let go of waiting on confirmation from social media on if I was a good mother or not, it all got easier and made much more sense. I started relying on and trusting my own instincts as a mother. I started scrolling less and making more memories with my family. If we didn’t do something by the new-age “book”, we were all okay and happy.
Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a helpful tool for learning new parenting hacks. I still scroll and save posts from time to time but I don’t use social media as a parenting bible (it can definitely come off as that). I’ve learned to take what can be useful and add to my toolkit as needed. I fully rely on my and my husband’s ability to parent our son how he needs and we get our strength from God to do so. He made us parents and He’s given us the abilities, talents, and resources to do so. Our trust is in Him to get this parenting thing done.
Social media can be confusing and sometimes guilt-inducing when you see that how you parent may not be like everyone else. Kids are not replicas or science projects that can be approached with a specific process, like a scientific method, to get results. There can be a guideline for how things may go, but no two children are just alike, nor will they respond the same.
Trust your instincts mama because, at the end of the day, you are a capable, courageous, and careful mama. Social media can’t take that away from you.