Advice Column, Lifestyle, Parenting, Recently

The pressure to be the “Perfect Mom” in the age of social media

  • Vital Baby
  • Category Advice Column, Lifestyle, Parenting, Recently

When we think of motherhood, it is synonymous with love, nurturing, happiness, faith and boundless sacrifice. However, we find ourselves in an era of curated personas, where perfection is toted and flaunted at us on a permanent basis.

Motherhood has fallen prey to this too. It’s become entangled with pressure.  Pressure to be perfect. Social media has created an unrealistic portrayal of motherhood that can leave moms feeling inadequate and overwhelmed.

As Moms, we can often fall into the “Comparison Trap”. We see the highlight reels of moms with perfectly behaved children baking Pinterest-worthy cupcakes in spotless kitchens. We see meticulously planned family outings. We see meticulous homes. This curated content creates a skewed reality, leaving us thinking that every moment of motherhood has to be perfect and anything less than that, is a failure.

The desire to present oneself as a competent and capable parent is nothing new, but the rise of social media has intensified this pressure to extraordinary levels. Mothers are bombarded with images of picture-perfect families enjoying idyllic moments, accompanied by captions extolling the joys of parenthood. These carefully curated posts can create a distorted reality.

For many mothers, the pressure to live up to these unrealistic standards can lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt. They may find themselves comparing their own lives to the images they see online, feeling like they fall short in every aspect. From the cleanliness of their homes to the nutritional content of their children’s meals, every detail becomes a potential source of anxiety as they strive to measure up to an impossible standard.

The pressure to be a perfect mom in the age of social media can have tangible consequences on women’s mental health. Research has shown a correlation between heavy social media use and increased feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Moreover, the pressure to maintain a perfect image online can take a toll on mothers’ relationships with their children. Focused on capturing the perfect moment for social media, some mothers may prioritise the appearance of a happy family over genuine connection and quality time with their children. This can lead to feelings of disconnect and resentment, both for the mother and her children, as they struggle to live up to unrealistic expectations.

The pressure to be a perfect mom on social media is not only detrimental to individual mothers but also contributes to a culture of judgement and shame surrounding motherhood. Women who deviate from the norm or openly discuss the challenges they face may be met with criticism and scrutiny from others who adhere to the illusion of perfection. It starts to become a dangerous comparison trap. Moms on the receiving end bombard themselves with questions: “Why aren’t my kids this well-behaved?” “Why can’t I get my house this clean?” The truth is, these online snapshots don’t capture the meltdowns, the tantrums, the overflowing laundry baskets that are a very real part of motherhood!

The antidote to the comparison trap lies in embracing authenticity. Moms need to reclaim the narrative and showcase the beauty of real, messy motherhood. Sharing the challenges along with the triumphs and sleepless nights next to the heart-warming cuddles. This doesn’t mean oversharing every detail of your child’s life or your journey as a mother and a family. It’s about finding balance! Sharing moments that resonate with other mothers and reminding them they’re not alone in the trenches. Taking away the pretence of the “Perfect Mother”.

Social media takes away the realness of motherhood, to a degree.  Those real moments. Those tangible moments. Those moments that make you want to cry first and then reach for your camera so you can capture them and never forget them.

One of the best ways to counteract all the pressure moms feel from social media, to be the perfect Mom, is doing a digital detox.  Look at who you follow and what comes into your feed. Does it add value to your life? Does it make you feel good as a Mom? Is it informative? Does it give you confidence? If it doesn’t do any of those things, then hit the unfollow button. Find your tribe. It is crucial to curate your own online space, filled with positivity and encouragement, not perfection.

Keep your focus on striking a balance. Don’t be scared to unplug from social media. Schedule breaks from your phone and computer. Set a limit to the amount of time a day you’re online. This helps keep the pressure at bay and forces you to focus on the realness of your own life.

Finally, the “Imperfect Mom”, is the “Perfect Mom”. We are human. We make mistakes, and anyone who tells you differently is probably trying to sell you something you really don’t need. Navigating through motherhood is a journey, it is not a destination. Books, learning aids, social media, podcasts – the list is endless – are all tools that we use to create a framework of what we think is needed. But it is how we build off that framework that ultimately makes all the difference in our lives and in our children’s lives.

Social media should be a platform to celebrate the motherhood journey in all its messy yet insanely rewarding glory. By embracing realness, encouraging supportive online communities, such as the monthly Vital Baby Instagram Lives with Sr Londe, and prioritising positive connections, mothers can rewrite the narrative of motherhood in the social media age.

It takes a village Moms. Let’s focus less on perfect and feeling pressured to be something that in reality doesn’t exist. Let’s rather celebrate the imperfect moms who are doing the best they can, because that’s what truly makes you perfect for your children.

Vital Baby’s Commitment

As a company deeply invested in maternal and child health, Vital Baby celebrates South Africa’s cultural diversity. We collaborate with midwives, community leaders, and healthcare providers to create products that align with cultural values. Our mission is to empower families while respecting their unique traditions and recommend balancing cultural beliefs with evidence-based medicine. Respect practices that enhance well-being without compromising safety.

For more information visit vitalbabyshop.co.za 

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