Childrearing

No One’s Prepared For Parenthood And You Can Blame Liars On Social Media That Make It Look Easy‏

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I agree with this study but aside from all of that, my own experience tells me that we have social media, which colors our perceptions in all areas with parenthood standing out in particular. Why did Susanne picture a peaceful coffee shop outing where she and her baby would be admired? Because that is probably the kind of thing that fills her Facebook feed every day and therefore, was what she ended up expecting for her own parenthood experience. People only post what they want the world to see- that perfect outing to the zoo without a tantrum in sight, the pretty kitchen with the lovely little cookies baked with their toddler (leaving out the photo of the toddler dumping the first bowl of batter all over the floor), a sweet story-time before bed (without documentation of the kid refusing to put on their pajamas and throwing a book at the wall). When all new parents see are the Instagrammed version of parenting (literally through a filter) how are they expected to be prepared for the very real frustrations and question marks of having their first baby? How are they supposed to feel normal and like they are doing it right when their reality looks so very different from what they see conveyed by other parents?

You may be asking yourself, as an experienced parent, what can I do to help? Well, the answer is simple: don’t lie and keep talking about the realities of parenting. Even if a pregnant woman seems annoyed by your stories, still tell them. Don’t be smug and don’t be obnoxious about it but a gentle “I just want to prepare you…because no one prepared me” might be appreciated down the line. If new mothers are ending up depressed when hit by the realities of parenting then maybe we should make those realities the norm instead of the edited Facebook perfection most new parents are exposed to. Let’s all just be real, for everyone’s sake.

(Image: vita khorzhevska/Shutterstock)

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