Good heavens, another parenting phrase. I am not even sure if this is a thing yet, but in the hazy cloud of social media, if it isn’t yet, it needs to be. Transparent parenting. What is it, and what does it mean?
Whether we like it or not, social media has changed the way we are all living our lives. Even if you have taken social media out of your life, the world around us is so affected by it all, that you are still getting a dose of its after effects.
Now, as a direct sales marketer and blogger, I am not out here with pitchforks and torches saying that social media is bad. Duh — I couldn’t do my job(s) without it! But here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to social media and parenting.
What you see may not have to be believed.
- Most of what you see on social media is staged. Yep. Shocking, I know. That amazing Pinterest meal? It was cooked and photographed by someone who likely didn’t have 4 kids crying that they are hungry since they woke up from nap at 3pm. How about that church selfie you saw an internet friend post last Sunday, and you thought to yourself “HOW does she do it?” She may have had a seamless morning, and I hope that she did, but I bet that she may have still had a freakout or 10 that morning just like everyone else. People aren’t going to share that stuff though. No one wants to bask in that reality.
- Social media makes people (and in this case, parents) brave. And certainly more bold and judgmental than one would ever be in person. Again, this statement may not apply to your larger-than-life friend who certainly WILL tell Joe Schmoe on the street what she thinks as quickly as she’ll rattle off a comment on Facebook, but on average, I think it is a safe assumption to make that most people are far more brave when they are behind a keyboard than they would be face-to-face. This can create parenting wars online over opinions, etc. when otherwise we wouldn’t have the discussion. Bring on the mom shaming, friends.
- Most people on social media are going to share the BEST version of themselves or even a facade of what they WANT to be. This is totally human nature, not knocking anyone for it. But, social media representation does not always equal the truth.
Consider sharing what goes on behind the curtain.
Here is what I see happening at a cyclical rate, not only within myself, but within a lot of my mom friends. We are comparing what we know to be true about ourselves as parents (and it ain’t always pretty) with what we see other parents post on social media (which ain’t always true). And, y’all, as parents, we aren’t easy on ourselves. So, in other words, we are comparing our absolute WORST to someone else’s absolute BEST (or it may not even be true). This is causing a lot of parents to feel like dirt about themselves and their families. Not cool.
So, transparent parenting. What is it? In my mind, it is a form of renegade parenting where we say it like it is, and share it like it is when it comes to parenting - embracing and lifting up the hardships that come with raising kids. Rebel things like makeup-less selfies or a heart felt post about how you TOTALLY just flipped out on your kids for bringing 8,000 trinkets into the car. Transparent parenting is being relatable as a parent instead of seeking approval for appearing to have your stuff together.
Take it easy on yourself — and others.
Remember, moms and dads, if you are looking at social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, whatever) and feeling inadequate, remember that we are comparing our worst to someone else’s best. Someone else’s “I just snapped this flawless selfie of me and my kids but 5 minutes ago, I was yelling about getting shoes on and being late.” Someone else’s picture of the PERFECT craft idea, but that crashed and burned when they didn’t have the patience to complete the craft with their child because their kid is a hot mess just like everyone else’s kid.
I can say that because I’ve been that gal. The one who snaps the picture where my family and I look all put together, but really we aren’t, but I post it and wait... wait for recognition that maybe based on what I put on social media my life isn’t as messy as it is. Transparent parenting is being mindful of that of which we most fall guilty of doing. Parenting is hard, and social media can make it harder. So before you beat yourself up for the disconnect of what you are as a parent and what you think you should be as a parent, remember the source and give yourself a little grace.
Tara Boyd, a North Texas pediatric speech therapist and mother of two, to Beulah (“Boo”) and Lucy (“Lu”), dishes practical advice on marriage, motherhood and munchies with humor and southern charm in her blog Boyd Meets Girl.