You're tired and you've had a long day, you can't remember when you last had a shower and your top is covered in a variety of suspicious stains. You have finally got your baby to sleep and you sit down with your first hot cuppa of the day. You idly pick up your phone and open up Facebook/Intagram and there they are...the perfect mums. Their clothes are stain free and super stylish, their homes are dust free and everything is white, their hair is perfectly blow dried, their nails are perfectly manicured and their children are angels. And there it is, the feeling of failure.
How the hell do they do it? Why am I not like that? Am I failing as a parent?
It's easy for the creeping doubt to overshadow reality when you are feeling tired and vulnerable. You lose perspective of what social media is and what it represents. We all share our 'best bits', the happy moments, the highlight reel. I share lovely pictures of my daughter laughing, playing, being cute. I do not share the giant poos that result in me having to cut her out of her vest, I do not share the teething screams that can't be soothed, I do not share the tired days when I genuinely think 'I can't do this'.
Being a parent is wonderful but it is hard bloody work. It's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there isn't really such thing a day off. Even when you are not with them, you are still with them. Once you are a parent there is no off switch. The real day to day can be really tough at times, and it's important to know that it is ok that it's sometimes hard.
Please don't forget that when you look at social media, even in your vulnerable moments that what you are seeing is someone's best and comparing it with your worst. Nobody's life is perfect, so don't hold yourself up to those impossible standards. We all have off days, we all have days when we are so tired that we think we can't possibly take much more, we all have days when we want to hide in cupboard and cry. That doesn't make you a bad parent, it makes you human.
Another negative side effect from the social media comparing is that it can make us judge others unfairly. We can be resentful of the people we hold up as 'perfect' and that insecurity can lead to us tearing them down, which isn't fair. It's better to be happy for someone and lift them up and it's easier to do that if we become more secure in ourselves.
Do not be apologetic either. I am so guilty of jumping to criticise myself through fear that someone else will do it before me. I post pictures with captions apologising for my messy hair, or a spot or how tired I look. We need to not apologise and be OK with not being 'perfect', not just for our own self esteem but for others. The more we are happy in who we are, the more we can help others to feel the same.
At the end of the day we are all trying to do the best that we can for our children and our family units. And it's true what they say, comparison is the thief of joy.