I first became a mom nine years ago. I hadn’t been on Facebook for very long, and Pinterest hadn’t been created yet. Fast forward to 2011, which is when I joined Pinterest. I was pregnant with my third daughter, and we were getting ready to move to a new home. It was then that Pinterest began to skew my expectations, and distort my reality. I may have pinned hundreds of pins of the “perfect” nursery, but that was far beyond our budget. Many of the ideas I had pinned were extravagant and unnecessary.
My love/hate relationship with Pinterest continued to blossom as my girls began to grow. I lived under this idea that my girls needed perfect birthday parties with themes and all the bells and whistles. My expectations grew, but my bank account did not. I made cakes for my girls’ birthdays and constantly felt like a “Pinterest fail,” even if my girls loved the results. I felt like I needed to measure up to a standard that I saw online of amazing Halloween costumes, snacks, or even toddler crafts. Looking back, I realize that my expectations had more to do with the standard I found on social media, and less to do with what made my girls happy.
I read somewhere that we shouldn’t compare our “behind the scenes” with everyone else’s “highlight reel.” It was a great reminder that none of us put our mistakes or failures on social media. We highlight the best of the best for others to see. We forget that life is more about our actual experiences with our family, and not about the illusion of perfection we often see online.
I have to keep myself in check when using social media. If I find myself falling into the comparison trap, I might need to take a break from my device and allow myself to spend some time in reality. It’s so important for me to remember that my children need my love, time, and attention much more than they need my picture perfect crafts, snacks, or parties. So next time you’re feeling like you don’t measure up to someone online, remember you’re only seeing a small portion of what’s real. And then remind yourself that your kids truly have all that they need, and it’s more than good enough.
Wendy is a breastfeeding, baby wearing mom of four in central Illinois where she blogs at TheMessyMom.net.