A Facebook post from Constance Hall generated a lot of buzz regarding the insane amount of pressure put on mums. The unfortunate outcome is that quality time spent with their children is sacrificed to ensure everything is getting done, and done perfectly!
This post really got us thinking about all the demands placed on mothers - with some finding themselves as a chef, chauffeur and counsellor and having to look perfect and carefree while doing it! The pressure doesn't start and stop with having children, it can start before you even fall pregnant, during and after pregnancy and well into the later years of your childs' life. Not only do modern day mums have to worry about actually raising their child, but they also need to think about what they let their kids eat, who they play with, what they wear - the list is endless.
A recent campaign run by Dove found that 26% of mothers believed it was achievable to be the 'perfect mum' they are constantly bombarded with on social media. Further, 92% believed motherhood is portrayed incorrectly in the media, but still felt pressured to do more and to be better. So the pressure still e even if we don't believe what we're seeing.
‘Post your latest birthday cake creation and you’ll be shamed for setting standards too high for other mums,’ she said.
‘Share a pic of your kid’s school lunch and someone will point out how chocolate crackles are the first step to childhood obesity.’
Carrie Bickmore - Stellar Magazine 2017
Parenting in the 21st century has proven to be uncharted waters, and can sometimes feel more like navigating a minefield than anything else. Well known faces such as Carrie Bickmore have spoken out about the pressure and judgement they feel as a parent in the age of social media. After sharing that she had started allowing her nine year old son to walk to school faced some nasty backlash. Comments online were quick to dub her as negligent, when she was merely trying to make a statement about her sons newfound independence. We never know how people online are going to react and how this is going to make us feel, so one of the best options is to just tune out and not even engage with it in the first place. If your social media accounts only contain close friends and family who love and support you, then post that funny picture of your child slipping in the snow if you want to! If you think some people might take it the wrong way then maybe reconsider, the controversy just isn't worth it as we've seen time and time again.
There has been too many instances lately of mothers in the media facing publicly vilification and trolling for their parenting styles and decisions. Carrie Bickmore wrote that Rachel Finch may as well have "put her hand in a blender" when she revealed her daughter spends weekends with her grandma so Rachel and her partner can spend quality time together. Rachel was criticised for being a 'selfish' mother - but why do we think this? Is it selfish to want to spend time with your partner when so much of our time is devoted to our children? Is it selfish to take a minute for yourself? Absolutely not, but social media gives people the impression that its acceptable to make such comments on womens parenting.
Both new mums and mothers who have had several children have also admitted to feeling pressured from social media to quickly lose their baby weight and regain their pre-pregnancy body. Sure, while Instagram personalities like Tammy Hembrow make it look easy to have two children and the best bum in Australia - while this is great and works for her, it isn't necessarily a realistic goal for the rest of us. There needs to be a conscious separation between the version of reality that people post on social media, and their real life, as quite often these are two completely separate things and the reality is much less glamorous, but how would we ever know that?
People will always have an opinion, but is it necessary to share this opinion on a public forum in an attempt to degrade other mothers? Women and mothers alike should be a collective army, sharing tips, recipes and funny stories in a positive and collaborative environment, not commenting spiteful things on other womens pictures and memories with their children. Modibodi as a brand wants to build a following of positive, confident women who build each other up and encourage us to love ourselves in every possible form, at our best and worst.
3 Golden Rules for navigating the online space:
- Never compare yourself to anyone else
- Dont engage in any conversations online regarding other peoples parenting styles
- Only follow people that make you feel uplifted and happy!
There is a fine line between feeling inspired and disheartened when looking at other mums online. Perfect parents don't equal perfect children, and none of us would ever want to think we were pressuring our children to chase perfection, so why should we chase the same impossibility?
Sometimes what you really need is a deep breath and a step back from all the chaos to take a minute and evaluate all the wonderful things in life that you're grateful for. Motherhood doesn't have a single definition and it certainly isn't a one size fits all concept.
We need to celebrate the normal. Normal mothers and kids and normal things that happen in our everyday lives. These are the memories that matter, not how many likes you get on a picture.
Motherhood means love, it doesn't mean perfection. It means trying our best and being okay with ourselves when we fall down.