We’ve all got some doubts about how we’ll do as parents, and this usually comes from a place of love and a desire to give our kids the best life we can provide for them. But when that desire to be our best turns into a desire to be perfect, we create a disconnect from reality because none of us are perfect and no one—no matter how much it may seem—has got it all figured out.
Social media is a great way to share some of our beautiful moments with family and friends, but it can also contribute to our fears of inadequacy, especially when it comes to parenting. Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a professor of Human Sciences and Psychology at Ohio State University, studied new parents and discovered that mothers had a decrease in confidence concerning their parenting abilities when they worried about what others would think of their parenting.
Schoppe-Sullivan and her team asked new parents about their social media use and found the more frequent visitors of those sites also indicated higher levels of parenting stress.
A tendency to compare oneself to others can lead to feelings of depression, which only magnify if someone is constantly checking social media and seeing how others appear to be parenting.
Worrying about what others will think of your parenting only saps your confidence, which will take away from the joy you can be experiencing with your children, leaving you stressed and missing out on the good times.
There are always going to be hard days, and every now and then you’ll mess up, we all do, but kids are resilient.
There are hundreds of parenting books out there, each with a different take on the best ways of approaching parenthood, which means that everyone’s going to do it a little differently and that’s okay. You know your kids better than anyone, so you’re the best person for the job when it comes to parenting them.
Among kids, even of the same age range, there are differences in what is normal for how they develop socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Discovering how to adjust to suit the needs of your kids will be an ongoing experience. You’re allowed to make mistakes along the way—just make sure you’re always open to growing.
Schoppe-Sullivan says it’s more about how you teach, rather than what you teach, and that it’s great if you can simply be sensitive, warm, and consistent. However, it’s difficult to be those things if you’re chronically stressed about parenting.
Remember, being a parent isn’t about being perfect; it’s about being mindful. If you’re on social media, keep in mind that people are sharing the pretty side of their lives, so it may not always accurately portray what they’re experiencing. We’re not seeing the full picture of what they’re going through everyday, just the highlights. So don’t judge yourself too harshly, we’re all just figuring it out each step of the way.