By Savannah Marie
Don’t Let Social-Media Stress Get the Best of You!
Motherhood has always had its ups and downs, its good times and bad, times you want to remember forever and times you want to completely erase from your memory. Today’s moms, however, have an additional stressor added to their lives, one that our nontech predecessors never had to face: social media. Sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram bombard us with pictures of the happiest, craftiest, most well-adjusted bunch on the block. This can be a real downer for those who feel they don’t measure up.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by TODAY Moms, 42 percent of respondents said they are stressed out by Pinterest. The bombardment of perfectly decorated, homemade birthday cakes or imaginative and fun craft projects can make moms lacking the ability or time for handmade projects feel inadequate. As if throwing a child’s birthday party isn’t stressful enough, now we have to worry if our cakes are Pinterest-worthy!
The Good, Not the Bad and the Ugly
Social-media sites are certainly a great way to connect with old friends and get some great project ideas. It’s rare, however, to see unflattering photos, like the collapsed cake, the cranky toddler or the sullen teen. People tend to paint themselves in a flattering light, when of course nothing is sunshine, roses and perfectly coordinated outfits for all of your children all the time. Although we know that, it can be hard to look at image after image of pure perfection. That’s what’s causing the stress.
According to the TODAY Moms survey, three quarters of respondents report that this stress is self-inflicted. It’s not other moms’ photos that are the problem, it’s the feeling of inadequacy that comes from feeling they can’t measure up.
Think about those smiling, happy family photos that are commonly posted to Facebook, for instance. There may be a story behind that picture that wasn’t so pretty. Maybe the kids had to be bribed to sit and smile for just one second, dad was grumbly and irritable and mom was close to tears. That picture, however, captured that one moment among the chaos where everyone actually smiled. That’s the reality. If only someone would post those not-so-perfect moments, instead!
Actually, somebody has created a site just for moments like that. Pinterest Fail showcases Pinterest-inspired projects that went horribly wrong. Those lovely Oreo Cookie Candy Turkeys that were supposed to be so easy to make, in reality, turned out looking, mutated, melty and sad. Instead of getting stressed and upset, revel in the fact that you’re not perfect and post your pictures to the wall of shame. You might as well get a good laugh from it!
A Cure for Perfection
If so many of us are stressed out by images of perfection on social media, how can we cope? The best way may be to simply lower our expectations. Everyone is good at different things, and craft projects or birthday cakes may not be your specialty. Do they have to be? If it stresses you and your kids out, how much fun is that?
Let’s face it – if a craft project is too complicated to do, your kids won’t enjoy it, either. Maybe your simple Popsicle-stick people craft is not Pinterest-worthy, but it made for a fun afternoon and happy memories. Certainly much for fun than an afternoon of tears and frustration! Kids don’t want Martha Stewart, they just want their mom.
For some moms, cutting back on Pinterest viewing and posting is a good cure. Maybe only look for special ideas during major holidays and give yourself a break the majority of the time.
As for Facebook, try posting that unflattering photo and see what kind of response you get. Share the picture of your completely failed attempt at a family organic garden. You are forever doomed to buy your produce at grocery stores and farmers markets. So what! Your friends will likely appreciate your honesty, have a good laugh and offer support if you need it. “Thanks for posting – I know exactly how that feels,” one might say. You’ll probably get more responses to your imperfect moments than to your glossy moments of perfection. That’s a good feeling, knowing that others can relate and being perfect is not all it’s cracked up to be.