How Social Media Ruined My Life As A Mum
The attention that social media brings is thrilling to anyone, to say the least. For a mum, it gives her something to focus on aside homemaking and raising kids.
As with virtually everything today, using social media has both great and not-so-great implications. And this is so in every walk of life, not just motherhood. There is something to be said for thousands of people liking, loving, haha-ing, or awww-ing at your thoughts and actions. Be honest, you would have to be some sort of public figure to have 500 people laugh at your jokes in real life. And you would have to either make it to television or engage in public speaking. But today, anyone with an active social media presence can garner the same from the comfort of their living room couch. Or maybe even on the toilet seat. The feeling that all the attention brings is great, you'll agree.
So why are famous international influencers coming out to say otherwise? One of them, American influencer Katherine Omerod, has even authored a book on the subject! The title? "Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Life". Her thriving social media business gave her purpose, cash, and a creative outlet. But it also had a dark side. Chasing likes left the mother-of-one feeling ‘unpopular, lonely, anxious, unsuccessful and seriously uncool.’ Some days, each new follower became another bar on the cage of her online persona. One that meant she could only portray herself in a very particular and flattering light.
The Struggle For Likes And Acceptance Is Real
This constant pressure no doubt sounds familiar to many of us. It's getting more and more difficult to ignore Instagram's detrimental effects. We know it's making us more stressed, more anxious and more depressed, but we still haven't stopped scrolling.
Nigerian blogger and influencer Kiki shares how stressful it is to get those likes. She says, "sometimes, you make a post about an experience you feel everyone can relate to. But you get only a handful of reactions. When you make something up, maybe take a photo in an exotic location, then you'll get a thousand likes and hundreds of comments."
"Since it is a thousand likes and a hundred comments that attract the brands, what would you advise I do? Because money must be made"
Motherhood is not the stuff of exotic pictures, at least not always. It features housekeeping, loud toddlers, crying babies, diapers, sleepless nights and lots of cooking. If this is your reality, what do you share on Instagram to get the likes you seek? More importantly, if this is your reality, it can be crushing to see photos of the many perfect mums on Instagram. Your self-esteem takes a punch. What are they doing differently? You ask yourself, why can't you get it all together like those mamas? How does this affect your mood? In 2014, researchers in Austria found that participants reported lower moods after using Facebook for 20 minutes compared to those who just browsed the internet.
Get Real Mum, Are You Addicted To Social Media?
Being honest with yourself about any of your habits is a challenge. But getting real about your social media is particularly tough - especially if it's part of your social and work life. However, doing so is an important first step in getting control, and changing for the better.
Ormerod suggested asking yourself these questions:
- Have you ever felt that you wish you spent less time on social media, tried to curb it but not been able to, or curbed it for a little while and then gone straight back to it?
- Do you check your social media somewhere you're not supposed to i.e. whilst driving, at work or during quality time with your partner, children or friends?
- Does spending time on an app like Instagram leave you feeling worse about yourself?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these, ‘you can be pretty sure you’re not in a great relationship with it,' explains Ormerod. On the surface, explains Ormerod, it appears that social media platforms ‘trade in entertainment’. However, the real product is us.
'Our eyeballs, our time, our attention, that is their commodity, that is what they make these billions and billions of profit off,' she says. 'Every single update, every single new novelty - from stories through to archive- is designed specifically to increase our time and attention to be spent on these devices.’
But it's not all doom and gloom. Once you understand there’s an element of exploitation here - that you're being used - you're more attuned to it.
Be Done With Perfection And Embrace The Real You
If you find that you actually can’t recognize this person that you’re putting on social media, you have to wonder: why are you doing that to yourself? By heavily editing, literally through FaceTune or Photoshop, or figuratively through picking and choosing, think about what message are you sending others and yourself. If we want to chip away at the pressure of perfection, there’s a responsibility of every one of us to be involved in that.
When you spend quality time with your family, be present in the moment. Forget about wanting to put out a perfect picture. Seek out those accounts that make you feel good. It’s as important to curate what you’re seeing as much as what you put out there. Despite Instagram feeling like a different world, it’s just an extension of our own. So you need to try and act just as considerately and kindly as you would in your day-to-day life.
Sharing personal information is fine, try not to make people worry about you. Social media] is your resume online. You have to imagine a recruiter is reading everything that you write on the internet. That's the truth.
Final tip? Add humour, self-deprecation and be sure to end on a positive note.