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  • Writer's pictureDr. Alex Gard, PhD, LMFT

Motherhood + Social Media

I hear the constant narrative being spoken by women in my office. The way women so harshly judge themselves as they compare themselves to these “perfect” Instagram posts. Sure, they may appear perfect on the exterior, but nobody is posting pictures of their imperfect moments. At least, most are not.

I find that the challenge with social media exists for everyone, teens and adults alike. And since I work with moms, and am one myself, I also know that social media can be VERY impactful on motherhood.

First, let’s talk about the pros, because there are many.

Social media is a platform that can provide resources, a sense of community, sound advice and LAUGHTER.

That is probably my favorite thing that social media provides for me as a mother, a place for laughter, where my experiences feel validated, seen, and where we as moms can laugh together through the hard stuff.

So healing.

Certain accounts also provide great education; I particularly enjoy some pages that give great tips for responding to tantrums, since that is the phase of motherhood I am in right now. Yay ;)

There are also great accounts that serve as valuable safe havens for mothers experiencing infertility/loss; and there is an abundance of support found in those communities.

A lot of good.

However… there is also a very negative aspect that accompanies social media, and the impacts are not great on moms’ emotional health.

There are undoubtedly many pages that put out unrealistic/idealistic images around motherhood and raising children. Many influencers whether they are intending to or not, support outdated ideas that women are to be kept, and that their role is to look thin, put together, have it all together at all times, and their houses and children should reflect that too.

These images can be overwhelming for moms who are simply just trying to get through their day. The moms who are tired, up all night with a newborn and who feel success if they were just able to brush their teeth that morning. I’ve been there.

Whether you are a working mom, stay at home mom, or both; your journey is yours. And for you to define. Your worth as a mother is not based on the Instagram standard. I hear too often the pain that comes from comparing your life to the Instagram life.

Here are some tips for how to make social media the healthiest space for you as a mom:

Filter your social media: Be intentional about accounts you follow. Do not be afraid of unfollowing or muting accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or that bring up the need to compare yourself. Follow people who are uplifting, who offer a sense of community, and can teach you something healthy and adaptive that you can apply to yourself or your family.

Limit your time: Give yourself a time limit. Even if you have filtered your accounts sufficiently, mindless scrolling is not a healthy habit. We all do it, and everyone can related to getting lost in the Instagram time warp. (Cue feelings of mom guilt). Avoid feeling guilty by limiting your time on social media every day.

Practice mindfulness: Moms often share that they easily slip into a social media dark hole when they are spending time with their kids. This often causes them to feel guilty later on. Being mindful about when you are scrolling is a good skill to exercise. I have clients who decide they will only scroll during nap time, or when their kids are asleep, which allows them to feel more present with their kids and avoid guilt.

Do something else instead: Whenever you get the urge to scroll, intentionally do something else instead. Read a chapter of a book, journal, mediate, or just sit in silence. That hour that can easily be spent scrolling, is a great time to do something else inspiring and productive.

To all you moms out there, I see you, I am with you, and I am here to tell you that it’s okay to feel the way you feel. This is really F’n hard. Please reach out for help if you need it. I am always here if you need extra support, and just a phone call away.

We will all get through this together, one very long day at a time. For moms out there who need my help, I'm offering phone or video sessions through a secure platform, click here to schedule an appointment.

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