What pressures come with being a social media mother?
Holly Gee and Sophie Taylor first started discussing motherhood through their brand called Life of Mummies. Now they are known as influencer mums of social media sharing the highs and lows of being parents. We wanted to know how social media puts pressures on women, and those who are mothers too. Here are their thoughts...
Growing up in the 90’s and early noughties, we played outside, made up our own games, spent hours actually playing with other children and didn’t particularly care about the clothes on our back or what colour our hair was. We grazed our knees, bumped our heads jumping out of trees, rushed home from school to access MSN messenger and spend hours updating our statuses, going online and offline so that you would pop up on your crush’s screen and then spend ages editing our MySpace pages and listening to our favourite albums over and over again. Then as we got a little older, we obsessed over whether our current crush was going to turn up at the house party we were going to. There was never any evidence that the night even happened, because people didn’t care about taking photos or updating stories, so our memories were about the fun we had, rather than how we looked.
The house phone was our best friend (yes a HOUSE phone, something kids nowadays probably don’t even know ever existed). Our first mobile phone was a Nokia 3210 that had no camera, no colour screen and the only ounce of stress to come from it, was when you lost at a game of snake.
Fast forward 10+ years, our lives are consumed and controlled by a digitally run world. Technology is a wonderful thing, don’t get us wrong, however the effect it has created on the world within just those few years, has completely changed the way kids and adults are experiencing life. Rather than guessing who’s at the party, you know hours in advance who is going to be there via ‘Insta stories/Snapchat/Twitter/Facebook etc etc…’ The outdoors is solely used for ‘picture perfect’ images to be taken, to be shared with all your beady-eyed followers and for some sort of warped perception of personal acceptance. The magic and excitement of the unknown has totally disappeared. People know where you’ve been, what you’ve eaten and what you’re wearing, the second they open their phones. Nothing is private anymore.
Whilst social media can be very beneficial for growing businesses, it’s also very dangerous when people start to measure their self worth by how many strangers have liked and commented on their photos. We often find ourselves scrolling through this virtual reality from the second we wake up, ignoring our husbands, children, dog and fish until we have had our social media fix, which ultimately brings us to the ironic point, that social media is in fact totally antisocial. Our new best friend is also our worst enemy. Social media can be a very misleading world, that can fill you with anxiety and such a lack of confidence if you don’t have this “picture perfect” life that it portrays. From airbrushed skin, to re-sized bodies, from holidays, to clothes, to houses, to parties, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. It’s a scary and dangerous world that we are both very aware of, as we were lucky enough to grow up in a totally different way and atmosphere. We grew up being kids, looking 12 years old rather than 13 going on 30. And what scares us the most, is that our own children will never experience life the way that we did, because no matter how hard we try and hide it from them, we know that one day they are going to come home from school and ask us for an iPhone and tell us about what they saw on Instagram that day.
Yes, we may sound slightly contradicting running our own social media channels, as we have such strong views on social media and the negative effect it has on people, but this is the future of our generation and we can’t ignore it. However, we can at least try to bring a sense of normality to this self-obsessed, digital world. So when we had our babies and were slapped in the face with the reality of motherhood (not what Instagram prepared us for) we decided to start our very own Instagram account, Life of Mummies. We wanted to shed light on the reality of motherhood and to show that life with kids is never picture perfect and that there are going to be ups and downs and lots of hurdles along the way, but that we are all in this together. So hopefully when you’re next scrolling through Instagram and see your favourite celebrity laying on a beach in a bikini, followed by the pair of us covered in our toddler’s snot and in the same clothes as yesterday, it will bring you back to reality and make you feel a little more human.
Social media is exciting and can bring people together and can create a positive escape in many other ways, but you should always be mindful that what you are seeing, isn’t necessarily the whole truth, and to never judge and compare yourself on what you see on the screen.