Social media. We love it. We hate it. If social media was a relationship, it would definitely be in the “it’s complicated” category.
It’s great for keeping in touch with Aunt Susan and showing the world just how absolutely angelic your littles are. But, it’s not exactly best for our mental health. You know what I’m talking about. That “keeping-up-with-the-Joneses-and-then-some” side. It seems that every time I look at my feed, I find myself thinking how perfect other parents are. They seem to have it all together. Every photo is perfectly posed with coordinated (unstained) outfits and families having the times of their life. I can barely get my kid to smile for one photo, let alone an entire feed of perfect content.
And I know I’m not alone here. What parent hasn’t spent the odd 3am feeding or soccer practice scrolling aimlessly and had these exact thoughts? I’ll go ahead and say what a lot of us have thought at one point or another: it’s toxic.
With every filter used and clever caption we add, some parent somewhere is thinking “How tf do they have it all together and I’m serving chicken nuggets for breakfast for the second day in a row?”.So if you’re feeling like social media is doing more harm than good, here are a few ways to take a step back without completely cutting yourself off from society:
Utilize the app timers on your phone.
When you know you have a limited amount of time to look at social media, you’ll find yourself less likely to go down the rabbit hole of scrolling through Tina from finance’s picture-perfect vacation pics. Start with an hour and then gradually trim from there.
Marie Kondo your Instagram feed.
Outside of family and close friends, are those others bringing value to your life? If you follow influencers and parenting gurus, think about what they represent and how they align with your life. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself against someone’s feed, don’t think twice to hit that ‘unfollow’ button. Remember, if it doesn’t spark joy…
Take a social media detox.
I have so many friends (both parents and non) who periodically take a week off from all forms of social media and every damn time they say how much they enjoy the brief disconnect. If you aren’t ready to commit to a cold-turkey detox, set some limits around when you’re scrolling for example, not before 9am or before 9pm.
Consider your LO’s presence.
More and more parents are choosing to go the way of celebrities and keep their children’s faces, or even names, off of social media. In some ways, this takes a lot of pressure off those perfect photos and content creation because it shapes the way you interact with your followers in a unique style that doesn’t really showcase your family in such an overtly personal way, leaving less room for comparison. It also provides another layer of privacy for your child. Remember, there is no right or wrong here and what you do and don’t feel comfortable sharing is allowed to change day to day!However you choose to keep the projected version of life on social media in perspective, know that, like every hurdle in parenting, you are not alone and there are thousands of parents who have felt the exact same way at some point or another. Utilizing app timers, following people who you have positive interactions with or are inspired by, and stepping away now and again are all ways to help you get back to the reason we all joined social media to begin with—to connect to others in meaningful ways.