Motherhood is a beautiful yet transformative journey, filled with its own delightful moments and challenges. But sadly in recent years, amidst the social and digital era, societal expectations have skyrocketed, placing immense pressure on a woman to be an 'ideal mom,' a 'supermom,' or a 'perfect mom.'
While striving to be the best parent for your child is commendable, it's crucial to recognize the toll this pressure takes on women's mental health.
What are so-called "Supermom" and Perfect Mom" according to the social media platforms?
These days, social media, like Instagram and Facebook are showcasing "The supermom archetype" projecting an image of a flawless mother who effortlessly juggles a successful career, maintains an organized home, nurtures well-adjusted children, and, of course, enjoys a beautiful relationship with her spouse. This idealization is propagated through social media influencers and movies that impose a significant burden on women.
How Does "The Perfect and Supermom" Trends of Social Media Affect Mothers?
According to the research conducted by Ciera Kirkpatrick, The idealization of a supermom propagated through social media influencers and movies has imposed a significant burden on women taking a toll on women's mental health.
In an online survey investigating the impact of Instagram and Facebook usage on the mental health of new mothers struggling with perfectionism.
The perceptions of how motherhood should look, affect mothers' mental well-being as they feel the pressure to achieve ‘supermom’ status.
- Guilt and Shame of feeling inadequate set in: Parents often feel guilty and ashamed, thinking they're not doing a good enough job for their children. Social media can make things worse by showing perfect versions of parenting, making parents feel like they're falling short. This can lead them to doubt themselves even more.
- Culture of Constant Comparisons: Idealised posts of mommy influencers have fostered a culture of comparison among mothers and their children too. causing frustration, and they feel lonely in their motherhood journey.
- Impacted parenting styles: The constant striving for flawlessness may lead to over-controlling parenting styles, which affects the development of independence in children. Some mothers aim for their children to emulate activities showcased on social media, without recognizing that every child possesses a unique set of preferences and interests.
- Leads to anxiety: Modern parents, particularly mothers who invest a significant portion of their day browsing the lives and activities of other mothers and their children online, have experienced a notable decline in their mental well-being. This has led to heightened levels of anxiety, involving negative thoughts about their own parenting journey (i.e., negative cognition) and an overall sense of unease.
- Overwhelm with Information: The vast amount of information available on social media can be overwhelming. Parents, especially mothers are bombarded with conflicting advice and opinions, making it difficult to trust their own intuition.
- Reduced Real-Life Interactions: Excessive time spent on social media can divert attention from face-to-face interactions with children. Mothers often invest more time in observing what other mothers are doing and striving to become a 'super mom,' rather than dedicating quality time to their own children.
- Parenting has become Pressuring: While all mothers arguably want to be the best moms they can be, first-time mothers are not as experienced as other moms and thus may have greater uncertainties and less confidence in their parenting. They may also feel more pressure to maintain a positive parenting image as they’re being shown online.
- Low self-esteem and self-confidence: Unrealistic portrayals of motherhood on social media and in popular culture are impacting mums’ self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Decline of intuitive parenting: Parents may seek validation and approval from their social media peers. This can lead to a reliance on external feedback rather than trusting their own instincts and knowledge about their child. They spend time to achieve perfection as propagated on social media rather than actually sitting and sparing time for themselves to understand their unique child and analyse the parenting issues they are facing.
Remember, we live in a digitally connected world. We can't escape social platforms, but we must recognize their impact on your motherhood journey and mental well-being. Seek unfiltered motherhood posts and content from others for inspiration and knowledge, rather than feeling anxious or inadequate about your own parenting.