Opinion: Social media didn't invent mom shaming. It just made it worse

Bianca

Gripping my leg, my Kindergartener begins to wail as the bell rings and her classmates walk single file into the school.

Today, she doesn’t want to go - she wants to stay at home with me. Flustered and frustrated, I try to remain calm while attempting to coax her off my cuff and into class.

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Looking around, I realize I’m the only parent who seems to be struggling. The others appear to have it all together as they chat cheerily while waving goodbye to their kids.

Meanwhile, mine is a mess.

It wasn’t just the shrill sobs of my sweetheart that had me feeling stressed, it was the embarrassment of feeling exposed in front of the other parents. It looked like I didn’t know how to calm my child and I was starting to lose my cool in public while they looked on in awe.

Whether we like to recognize it or not, what other parents are doing greatly impacts how we feel about our own parenting decisions and those insecurities have existed long before social media has come into play.

Refinery29recently conducted a survey to find out how 500 Canadian women feel about the impact of social media on motherhood, and the results were not surprising.

Of the 500 mothers surveyed, 82 per cent said that they compare themselves to other moms online, and 69 per cent said that they have insecurities about motherhood that stem from social media.

While I agree that the false sense of reality brought to the foreground by platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have made it even more challenging for mothers to feel confident in their bodies and with their parenting beliefs, I don’t think it’s the social media channels that have created these insecurities.

I don’t blame social media for the birth of the feelings of inadequacy felt by moms, but I do believe that the perception of perfection is more prominent today thanks to those channels.

Most moms know social posts aren’t reflective of reality, but it’s difficult not to feel like you don’t stack up as you scroll through images of perfectly preened children, flawless and fit moms who never seem to frown, and lavish lunches that leave you feeling hungry while filling up your feeds.

The difference is, while we’re more likely to see the realistic side of parenting in real life, what you see is still pretty carefully curated for public perception. People keep their problems at home just as they keep them offline.

Whether social media spawned the onset of inadequacy in women, or just spread the impact of a problem that was already there, one thing is for certain, it’s never healthy to compare ourselves to others. The more we share all sides of our stories on social media - and in real life, the more others will feel secure in their own skin.

Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee. 

 

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