Parenthood on Instagram – By Emma Hawkins

Instagram is a wonderful tool we use in our day to day lives, however, like most things it has its positives and negatives.

It has certainly opened up a lot of business opportunities for me and I really enjoy networking and meeting new people through this social app. It’s also full of inspiration, ideas, stunning imagery, funny stories and is a great resource for users. When I first became a parent I found it both a positive and a negative resource. Positive in terms of not feeling alone, or not feeling like the only one going through certain things e.g. sleeping, feeding. I would post my thoughts or experiences and through doing so, I would receive numerous messages from women with some helpful tips or simply just saying that they understood how I was feeling.

On the flip side though, there were days (and still are to a point) where I would be scrolling through my feed unwashed, in my PJ’s, or having just had a mindless fight with Tom simply from pure exhaustion and would see photos of mothers and their children looking so perfect, so happy, so content. The shear contrast makes it easy to second guess what’s happening in your own world.  You try hard not to, but it’s so easy to compare yourself when you are looking at a beautiful, ‘picture perfect’ image of a person who looks so fantastic, so skinny, so clean, so awake, all while you are thinking, ‘I have never seen their child misbehave once!’

Well of course you haven’t silly because they don’t show you that side of their parenting. We compare the pair on Instagram, yet we really shouldn’t. We should take it for what it is, a highlights reel of everyone’s life.

I certainly only show the “good bits” as do most people excluding some fabulous mummy bloggers and online content sharers who show us everything; the good, the bad and the ugly (and I really respect them for doing so). Me? Mine is genuinely a highlights reel. I am open and honest about most things through my language, yet my photos are always the nice, funny and cute ones.

I view Instagram now like I used to read magazines, knowing that it’s edited and thought out. As long as you are aware of this, you can take it for what it is. Enjoy the good while reminding us that it is a mere minute or glimpse of a person’s day.

I have many people contact me and say thank you for sharing so much of your life, but in reality, I don’t. Thirty seconds of Insta stories is not a true reflection of what goes on in 24 hours of my day. A well edited, smiling pose of a dress that suits my figure is probably not a true reflection of my actual figure. A beautiful photo of Belle and I is probably not reflective of the sleepless night we have had the night before. I could go on and on  but I think you get the idea!

I recently asked 20 mums who I know to tell me what they don’t share on Instagram. Some of these mums you would probably follow and some you have never met and simply use their Instagram to share their lives to their small and private audience. In the end it seems, we are all very similar. Here were a few of the responses:

Tell me what you don’t share on Instagram?

  • Tantrums
  • Snotty noses
  • Bad clothes and outfits
  • Messy house in background
  • Face covered in food
  • Video of my voice sounds annoying
  • The changing of the wet sheets at 11pm, 1am, 2am, 4am as I’m too tired and it’s too dark to film
  • The spontaneous, amazing moments that happen with your kids that are natural and beautiful and picking up your phone is the last thing on your mind (I loved this response!)
  • Those nights where they just won’t sleep and you’re trying everything.When they are sick, slumped on you all day, vomit or poo explosions and wees on the floor
  • Sleepless nights
  • Struggling with post-natal depression
  • The bad days of a grumpy teething baby
  • Dishes
  • Shiny ugly plastic toys
  • Half eaten food all over the floor
  • Loneliness at home
  • The PJ days
  • Not able to shower, eat or have a normal conversation with your partner
  • The meaningless arguments you have with your partner after a long night of feeding/teething/wake ups, or just an argument with yourself if your partner is smart and refuses to bite back
  • The guilt. Certainly not posting a happy face or selfie saying “Hi…. I feel really bloody guilty today”
  • In the bath

As mentioned above, these are just a few examples. In the end, some people do show all sides of motherhood, which is great! And some just don’t, which is also fine. I guess I just really wanted you all to know that you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone, especially on social media. Take it for what it is, a great tool to share and connect but definitely not to compare.

If you do find yourself comparing yourself to another parent on Instagram, re-read that list above and remind yourself, they go through everything you are going through as well, they are just choosing not to share it. No one should feel the need to share everything anyway, only what he or she is comfortable with.

Written by Emma Hawkins

Please note that these experiences are personal and may not be relatable to each reader. It is one individual’s perspective. We ask that people refrain from any negative commentary directed to others or the individual. We respect that each person has their own opinion and we encourage feedback but please ensure it isn’t delivered in a hurtful manner. Any derogatory or highly aggressive statements will be removed and anyone who is trolling will automatically be blocked from participating in this forum.