Social media has been a blessing and curse for many moms. The blessing is its ability to give moms the opportunity to connect with other moms who are dealing with similar struggles and lives. There are many Facebook groups for moms with depression, raising children with special needs, moms of multiples, infertility, the list goes on. After you have kids, you will have less time to go out and socialize and that can be quite isolating. These groups give moms the opportunity to connect even if it’s not face to face.
However, there is definitely a darker side to social media. So many of us have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. Especially mothers! If we see other mothers share pictures of themselves getting back into shape so easily after having a baby, and we aren’t so lucky- that will create feelings of envy. If we see a mom who is bragging about being able to leave her kids with her parents for a weekend to go away with her husband- well that can make any mom with no help feel jealous.
How about the moms who are constantly bragging about how well their toddlers are progressing while a worried mom has a child that is developmentally delayed? I know that one all too well. The list really does go on. I admit I have felt those woes due to social media envy but I am trying to not to let it get to me anymore. Here are some steps I am taking that are working for me.
1. If Anyone has the Need to Brag, they are Hiding Something. I have seen one particular woman who is always bragging about how wealthy she is, how “perfect” her kids are, and how in shape she is. It’s very easy to become envious of someone like her. However, if someone is working so hard at portraying how perfect her life is on social media, then there is something very dark he or she is hiding. Besides, a lot of people do lie online. There is never anything to be gained by being jealous of someone’s lie.
2. Unfollow. If you don’t want to unfriend someone due to simply sharing content that makes you sad about your life and uncomfortable, then simply unfollow and you won’t see their updates anymore.
3. Accept that you were Dealt the Lesser Hand than Someone Else and Move on. More often than not your friends are not purposely trying to brag about anything. They are just wanting to share the fact they are proud of their own accomplishments or their kids’ accomplishments. You would too. I admit it saddens me when I hear of someone saying how proud they are of their son who is the same age as mine accomplish something huge. I’m always going to be sad about the fact that my autistic son will never get to that kind of level, even likely as an adult. However, I did share that I was proud of my daughter receiving her elementary school diploma back in June. I am sure that there are other moms that are sad that they can’t express the same kind of joy about their daughters. And sometimes people will end up receiving things that you are not meant to receive at the current time. If you want to find a job or looking for new clients, and not having luck with it- and that person is proudly announcing getting a job or retaining a big client on Facebook, congratulate that person and keep plodding along. I also have PCOS. Other women who don’t have this curse (and yes it is truly a curse) will always be prettier and sexier than me. It is what it is.
4. Focus on the Groups and Friends that Help Build you and Your Situation Up. Whatever struggles you are dealing with, you aren’t alone. Join groups with others who are in the same boat and who can understand you, and listen. They need your support too.
5. A Perfect Picture is Meaningless. For instance, if a mom is bragging about how beautiful and perfect her baby is, and showing the cutest pictures all the time- chances are that baby screams 99% of the time. What appears online isn’t what truly happens behind the scenes. Photoshop these days works wonders too. Just remember that.
6. Remember What you are Blessed with. I have to remind myself of this one all of the time. That mom with 2 or more typically developing kids may be in serious debt which isn’t my issue at all. Maybe that gorgeous mom who lost all of her baby weight is dealing with some kind of abuse that I have never had to face. It’s hard to believe that someone who seems like he or she has such a perfect life actually has challenges that you don’t have to face. But it does happen.
I understand this is all easier said than done. As someone who struggles with severe depression, I am guilty of comparing my sad life to someone else’s seemingly perfect life. Social media is a huge part of my life in every way. The last thing I want to do is to be miserable from it.