Social media a blessing or a curse?

A few months ago I posted a photo of my house being turned upside down by my kids with my I” can’t be asked” smile saying something along the lines “we played all the games and all the toys today” on Facebook. Then I send it to my mum hinting I could do with a bit of sympathy because my children have totally exhausted me and my patience and I wish I took them out rather than spending a day at home entertaining their wills she I have spoiled them too much. I felt upset so I texted the same image to a group of friends and one of them said she felt a bit jealous because I was such a hands on mum and had quality time with my kids while she stuck hers in front of the television while she needed to get her jobs done. One image, three perspectives. Mine – I am exhausted because I failed to take kids out of the house, my mums – you have spoilt your kids, and my friend’s – you are a good hands on mum. Now if you have been following my blog for a little while you know I have a bit of a strange relationship with social media. When I was in the midst of my postnatal anxiety social media was one real thing that contributed to me feeling inadequate. Well you see most of my Facebook feedback was filled with photos of cute babies in cute outfits and their reasonably normal , I mean not too tired rather than anything else, looking parents having a great time together. I had a pretty bad time at the time, Alma had tongue tie, reflux, silent reflux, food allergies and problems with her neck. She screamed so much I didn’t know what to do and was going from one doctor to another. I felt like I was the only one not enjoying my kids. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine challenged me to post the reality of parenting to raise awareness of maternal mental health I realised how normal it is to feel as inadequate as I was. A lot of people have told me in person that my posts make them feel better as they can see it’s not just them having bad days, not liking their children 100% of the time despite loving them so much, or feeling like a complete failure because when you juggle so many things even if they all get done to a good standard you feel like you haven’t given them your best. Now in my mostly anxiety free head I know it isn’t the end of the world if my children eat pom bears and pork pies for diner, or if they watch Cbeebies for 2 hours solid to let me get jobs done, or if they don’t make beautiful craft to display proudly, but if you are in the midst of sleep deprivation, hormonal hurricanes and life after kids these all seem like a big thing. We tend to focus on good things and post our achievements online, our good days and our pretty sides. This leads to one sided view of someone’s life. We all think so and so is so happy and well dressed, and always out with her friends and well behaved children. And she is, but she has her own things going on in her life that she chooses not to share. Social media provides us with a substitute for a village we so eagerly looking for, it gives us social interaction that makes us feel included, loved, “popular”, gives us useful information, provides a relief if you want to get things of your chest, it can provide us much needed support, it gives us a glimpse into someone’s life that we wouldn’t get otherwise and keep us up to date with news, but it also can cause us worry and anxiety, it can make us feel excluded and inadequate. It can help us find our tribe or it can make us feel isolated. It can be a blessing and it can be a curse. Perhaps if we all sometimes shared things that aren’t so pretty or flattering we would normalise the reality of parenting, and life really. What is your experience of social media?

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