Social Media: The Never-Ending Highlight Reel

Social Media Highlight Reel

Wake up, check Facebook. Morning poo? Instagram. During lunch, browse Pinterest. Sound familiar? Most of us are on some type of social media platform multiple times per day. Keeping up with our friends’ lives and getting recipe ideas is why we say we’re doing it, but in reality, we’re probably just addicted.

In all honesty, I think I’m OK with this to a certain extent. This post isn’t about cutting back on the time spent scrolling through my news feed (although that’s really not a bad idea). What I want to talk about is how all of this affects us as moms.

Here are a few thoughts I have while perusing my social channels:

  • Gah. Who has time to make crafts with their kids AND make dinner? This person is clearly a witch.
  • It always looks like they are having so much damn FUN all the time. Weirdos.
  • Awww…they’re on a date! I remember what those were like…
  • What a perfectly healthy and elaborate meal. On a weeknight. Disgusting.
  • Ooooo…they went to Costa Rica! I want to go to Costa Rica!
  • How do they make enough money to afford THAT?!
  • Is that toddler eating kale?
  • This children’s birthday party is fancier than any party I’ve ever had or been to.
  • Poooooooooooor meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I’m not proud of my thoughts, but I can guarantee I’m not alone. Do you ever feel worse about your life after scrolling through your social feeds? I think this is a common occurrence for all humans, but especially middle schoolers and moms. Since this is not the Chattanooga Middle Schoolers Blog, I won’t go into how social media affects the self-esteem of a middle schooler, though I think this is an important and very real concern. I want to focus on how social media fuels “mom shaming,” enhances mom guilt, and causes us to feel inadequate and sometimes depressed about our lives.

Social media is a never-ending highlight reel. That’s what it is meant to be. We post photos of our vacations, our children doing adorable things, and our selfies when we are looking fierce. We post our daily wins. We don’t post photos of our rained-out vacations, our children being terrible, or our selfies when we look r-o-u-g-h (I’m not talking about those “no makeup” selfies where we still try to get ourselves at a good angle and add a filter just for good measure). Basically, we only post the good stuff because that’s really all we want to share and that’s actually all we want to see of other people’s lives as well.

Social Media Highlight Reel Quote

If we know this about social media, why are we so hard on ourselves when we don’t live up to our friend’s highlight reel? Because we are not logical beings, that’s why. As mothers and parents, we are insecure. We hardly ever know what we’re doing. We are just barreling down the parenting highway with no GPS, going 180 mph with the windows down, the kids screaming in the back, and Pharrel’s “Happy” up as loud as it will go. We are all just winging it and it’s HARD. So, even though we know that everyone is just posting cute photos of their family having fun, we suddenly start to panic that we aren’t having enough fun with our families. Something must be wrong with us!

And the best part is that while we are judging our Facebook friends and judging ourselves for not being as cool as our attachment-parenting, marathon-running college classmates, we’re doing the exact same thing! We are posting our wins and our friends are feeling inadequate. We are taking 20 selfies and choosing only the best one for Instagram. Talk about a vicious cycle!

To break this cycle, we could just delete our social media accounts and live in blissful ignorance. I’ve known people who have done this (my husband is one of them) and most of them come crawling back to the social media abyss for one reason or another. If you have the willpower to delete your account and say goodbye to social media, then go for it. I, however, am merely a weak mortal and wouldn’t make it more than a week. There are too many great things about social media that I would miss. I keep in touch with people that I don’t live near, get recipe ideas, and keep-up with current events (aka: comment on and get into political arguments) on social media. So, yeah…I’ll be keeping my social accounts.

If you’re like me and still want to stay on social media, here is what I propose: whenever we scroll through our feed and have those negative thoughts like the ones above, we remind ourselves that we are only seeing a tiny piece of these people’s lives. That kale-eating toddler probably pooped on the floor not 20 minutes before. Your friend probably scrimped and saved to buy her new car just like you would have. That creepily happy family is probably also sad, pissed, and furious some of the time too. We really are all the same. Everyone is insecure about parenting and about life in general. None of us think we’re good enough. But, we are! We are trying our best and that’s really all that matters.

I hope this blog post hasn’t come off as preachy. I wouldn’t tell you to do something I’m not going to do myself. And so, let’s do this together. Let’s stop comparing and start celebrating each other’s wins. Let’s embrace the highlight reel and enjoy our imperfect lives. Who’s with me?

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