Behind Social Media

We live in a world of show and tell. Attached to most parents, the majority of the day is a device which allows them to 'check out' what their friends and the friends-of-their-friends are doing at any given moment. We can see their homes, their latest holiday adventures, their new, flash cars and all the achievements of their good-looking children.

We can compare what we're all eating and see all the fancy food parents are making for their children. And today whilst I was dishing up cheese toasties for my three, I felt that all too familiar pang of guilt looking at some rainbow dish, bento box banquet some other parent was serving their child.

It got me thinking. Back in the day, before social media and possibly even just before we could look at social media on our phones, I think there was less parent-guilt. Imagine going about your parenting day without thinking for one second about what others were doing or how they were doing it. Your way would be enough. It would be good enough.

My mother and grandmothers all had the luxury of parenting without comparison. Sure, friends would talk about their latest achievements and I suppose there would still be an element of 'keeping up with the Jones', but I'm almost certain their everyday meals and outfits and pictures of inside their homes wouldn't be plastered on the school noticeboard or in the local paper for all to see. There wouldn't be perfectly styled and edited and filtered photographs for people to 'like'.

I would say I had the quintessential childhood. One full of happy times, grazed knees and detergent on the trampoline. As a mother of three I often try to think about making memories with my children and I see so much on social media about how to be a fun mum and how to make this and bake this and buy this. The thing is, I think my childhood was so great because it was just relaxed, natural, non pretentious and not for anyone else to see or judge. My mum didn't share all her tips and advice. she didn't boast to the entire world when we peed on the potty or climbed to the highest branch of the tree. We just did it. And we laughed, and the next day we did it again.

I don't ever want to portray a perfect life. I have never wanted to do that. I'm guilty for posting lovely things in my life but that's not the whole picture. When I craft with my kids and you see the end result of everyone's cheesy smiles you must understand that it was all chaos, shouting and mess. I try. But it doesn't mean I'm perfect. My kids are currently all nude in the backyard spraying water at one another out of the dog's water bowl. This is real life. It's messy, it's scary, I make heaps of mistakes, I worry and stress about whether I am good enough, but if there is one thing I've learnt along my parenting journey it is to be authentic and let go of the guilt. If you spend your parenting days comparing yourself with others you will never feel good enough and you will probably never be truly present. It's nice to check out what others are doing, but don't let that create a sense of 'not good enough'.

Comparison robs us of contentment.

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