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Social Media For Mums & It’s Impact On Parenting

Social media for mums, the benefits and negatives of getting advice from Instagram and Facebook.

How big of a part does social media play in your day-to-day life as a mum?

For most mums, social media is a big part of their life. We wake up in the morning and it’s often the first thing we check while having breakfast. During our lunch break we look at Facebook or Instagram, or maybe have a quick scroll through TikTok. We post about our lives, jobs, holidays, and our children without a second thought. We talk about how social media/screen time affects children, but have we ever stopped for a minute to think about how it affects women, or more specifically mums? While there any many positive aspects to social media from either a business or personal perspective, there are probably more bad ones.

The positives of social media for mums

I’m going to start with the positives. On my own personal social media I post pictures of my girls, that way all my family living abroad have the chance to see them and what we are doing. Sending pictures to each and every family member can get quite tedious, so for me, Facebook makes it easy to share with everyone at once which makes life easier. I also love creating activities for my girls which I post on children’s activity groups on Facebook to share the ideas with other like-minded mums. Equally, I love seeing activities that other mums have shared, and for the most part find social media a great source of inspiration for baby and toddler activities.

I am part of a group of mums on Facebook who have children born the same year so I can ask questions if I need help on things such as meeting milestones, vaccine info, kids’ health, or ideas for things to do with her during the day. One of the main benefits of this is I can usually get a quick answer to my question which can aid in researching further advice from babycare professionals.

There are also many groups where we can find free products for families in need such as nursery furniture, toys, and clothes. With two daughters of my own, they are forever growing out of clothes or toys, so it’s great to be able to use these groups to donate things we no longer need.

We see videos, pictures, or posts from other mothers going through similar problems, like difficulty with breastfeeding, baby not sleeping, picky eating, and tantrums. The professional advice given to mums during and after pregnancy provides a great foundation for raising a child, but the extra titbits of information from real mums can make all the difference when you are faced with less common scenarios. Being a stay-at-home mum can make you feel quite isolated, so being able to read other mum’s stories makes us feel less alone. Being able to easily communicate with mums who are in the same boat provides a measure of reassurance when times are tough. Sometimes a video or a photo is all we need and can make us feel better about motherhood, and maybe even provide the support that is so easy to miss out on.

These are just a few of the positive sides of social media for mums, let us know if you have any more!

Now let’s look at the downside of social media for mums

How many times have you seen a post or a reel and it made you feel like a bad mum? Maybe it made you feel like you’re doing something wrong, or made you feel as if you are not doing enough? I bet at least one time. We compare ourselves to other mothers from a video we’ve seen on social media! Read that again….maybe out loud. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? How and why do we do this? Why do we have to compare our life as a mum to a video of someone who we have probably never even met? Let’s try and realise that behind that camera it is unlikely that their life is as perfect as they portray it to be. Behind the camera most of the time that perfect life you are looking at is completely different.

What can comparing ourselves to other mums cause us? Research shows that it can increase anxiety and depression, affect your quality of life, disrupt your sleep, and generally have an adverse effect on navigating through life as a mum. 

Some things mums can do to improve their experience with social media

  • Reduce your screen time
  • Remember that social media life is not real life 
  • Stop comparing your life to others
  • Don’t set unrealistic expectations, the mumfluencer’s perfect life is not real, they struggle too even if they don’t show it
  • Pick and choose who you follow with more care
  • Follow only people who share your values and show what a normal life is

Know who you are getting your advice from

This next point is probably the one that really frustrates me the most.

I scroll on Instagram and see influencers telling other mums what they should or should not do BECAUSE THEY KNOW.

Here are a few examples: Say this to your child not this, take them here not there, feed them this not that, make sure you do this and not that, buy them this toy not those toys, let them drink this not that. It’s worth keeping in mind that in some cases these influencers might simply be doing the job they are paid for, ie influencing your purchasing decisions towards a product they have a financial bias towards.

The other day I saw a video explaining that we shouldn’t tell our children that their drawings are beautiful but instead to talk through what they drew. As much as this might have some scientific reasoning behind it, if my daughter proudly shows me a princess picture she’s drawn how can I not tell her it’s beautiful? We can always talk through what they drew afterward. There is no black and white when it comes to raising children, yet sometimes people are quick to latch onto new ideas and then feel the need to tell the world it’s the only option.

Another video I saw was a well-meaning mother telling other mums that ready-made food pouches shouldn’t be given to children. As much as I prefer to always give my children freshly prepared food there are times when convenience overrides our usual mealtime preferences. I’m sure most mothers have given these food pouches to their children at least once and they certainly shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it! Posts such as this tend to get a high amount of comments, views and shares, as they invoke emotions and a certain amount of mum guilt. I like to think that is not the real motive that prompts such posts, especially where children are concerned.

Unfortunately, we live in an era where some mums will take advice based simply on the number of followers someone may have!

So where is the best place to get baby advice?

If you are looking for health advice, weaning advice, or psychological advice speak to a professional rather than the mumfluencer on Instagram. That’s not to say there aren’t useful bits of advice to be garnered from alternative sources, but it is always worth remembering that what works for one mum doesn’t automatically mean it is the best choice for you or for your child. First and foremost, it is important to get the basics right, which is where professional advice comes in.

We are not saying that professional advice is the only type worth listening to, rather watch videos from non-professional sources with an open mind. What are the motives behind the advice given? Is there a financial incentive behind the recommendations? Or is it purely shock tactics to create a bit of mum guilt and knock up a few thousand extra likes and shares?

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to do what is best and right for your children. Remember mums, we all try our best, so don’t compare yourself to others who may live their life under completely different circumstances. Don’t let the facade of social media life make you feel less worthy as a mum….ever!


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