We all know the type. Perfect hair, perfect makeup, impeccable house, above average children who could do no wrong. She’s the perfect mom and has made all the right choices leading to this. Underneath? She’s a mess. She’s doing her best just like the rest of us, but chooses what to put forth as an indicator of how her life is going. And while so many of those moms convey these perfect lives on social media, they do a fair amount of judging right along with it. Sanctimommies. Mom-shaming.
Here’s the thing: social media traps so many of us into thinking we need to strive to be just like her when the fact is that we’re all going to do the very best with the information and tools we have. You know the stuff I’m talking about. Breastfeeding versus formula feeding, birthing, sleeping arrangements, discipline, the list goes on and on. All these “experts” who think they know what’s best for everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my own preferences as a mom and I’m not shy about them. Some of those preferences shape who I am as a teacher. I do things a certain way with my own boys. But, my preferences simply CAN’T be the preferences for every mom and every child. And let’s be real, I’m not perfect and in most of my own social media posts you’ll see messy faces, toys all over, and some spectacularly wonky hair.
So what can be done when these perfect social media sanctimommies attack? First, remember that social media isn’t real life. Sure you can find a wealth of information, recipes you’ll never make and craft ideas you’ll never complete, but not all that information is helpful, correct, or inline with your situation. You can’t convince anyone who doesn’t want to learn anything new, so don’t stress it.
Second, know that absolutely no one can make you feel shame or guilt except yourself. If someone is telling you something about your parenting choices and you know that you made the right decision for you and your family with the information and tools you had, that’s all you need to know. You owe the internet trolls nothing.
Last, it’s not about what your life looks like to everyone else on the outside, but about how it feels to you and your children. I promise you I don’t look back at my childhood picture albums and focus on the stuff in the background. I look at the smiles and the experiences that were captured. That’s what matters.