A New Mom’s #1 Frenemy :: Social Media

As a mom of a toddler, I often find completely random things in my hair. Food, amoxicillin, milk, and the occasional booger have made their way into what was once an untampered head of hair. It’s gross, but sometimes it’s part of being a mom, right? It is also probably why dry shampoo was invented. As a mom, there are {many} days when you’re trying to have it all together, but you just don’t. You are about to head out for a neighborhood birthday party, and your husband nicely reminds you to take a second glance at your hair. What started as a top knot has morphed into a bird’s nest containing previously mentioned food and booger residue. The chic, casual hairstyle you were going for didn’t stand a chance against lunchtime toddler kisses, and you forgot to get a present for the party. So overall … you are #winning.

If I am being honest, in those situations my mind will wander to that perfect social media mom account I came across earlier that day. The mom who had food-free top knots, effortless outfits, 25 angelic children, daily craft projects, and no one falling apart because they couldn’t throw socks in the toilet. I tend to assume that everything is perfect for her while I’m over here trying to dodge a biting toddler. Is this extreme? Of course, but it is also why my relationship with social media deteriorated to frenemy status after I became a mom.

My tool once used for light-hearted, fun entertainment had turned on me. It had become more of an enemy that would lure me into dangerous territory of mom comparison, and in turn, bum me out because I didn’t quite feel like supermom. But the period I found this to be most challenging was as a new mom during the months I like to refer to as… the newborn hunger games.

Early on in a baby’s life, his hobbies cycle through eating, sleeping, crying and pooing. While the range of responsibility doesn’t vary too much, it is repetitive and busy. In between these duties, you may find yourself with sporadic free moments for mental breaks which may include perusing social media . My go-to was social media and binge watching Scandal.

I was drawn to other mom accounts {creep alert: mostly moms I’ve never met}, comparing myself to them since they appeared to have it all together after birth. How is her belly so flat already? How did she have time to put on make-up? Where did she get those cute crib sheets, and how did I overlook them during hours of baby registry research? And my favorite: how did breastfeeding seem to work so magically for her that documenting it while wearing a flower crown was possible???

The list of internal questions goes on and on, but the point is that my relationship with social media wasn’t helping my reality. It eventually escalated to the point that I felt like I was alone in the struggles I faced with my newborn. I let mom comparison sneak in and make me feel like I was doing it all wrong.

Now this isn’t to shame moms who post updates that convey positivity and happiness. I just hope to remind other moms who find themselves in a similar frenemy situation that you are not alone in what you are experiencing and social media is just a highlight reel. In fact, I bet your feed isn’t blowing up with witty photo posts of sleep-deprived moms changing their 29th poop diaper for a baby who only naps 20 minutes, and if your feed does include these posts, then please comment below so I can get in on that friend train because y’all sound like my kind of people!

Heck, I even participate in the highlight reel game! We all do! In fact, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll share a glimpse into my highlight reel versus reality.

>> Exhibit A <<

A New Mom's #1 Frenemy :: Social Media | Houston Moms Blog
The first family photo that was shared with the world of social media!

It’s our happy little family. Big smiles, clean hair, laundered clothing and, oh look, a sleeping, non-crying baby! My epidural was still hooked up, I was riding the adrenaline rush from meeting him, and I still smelled like soap. Our families were in the room, and everyone was so excited!! It was so special to see the little man that I had protected for 9 months finally in my arms. And most importantly,  I had waited forever to put that blue bear hat to use. Sigh. BEST. DAY. EVER. 

>> Exhibit B <<

The first photo when we arrived home!
The first photo when we arrived home!

This photo has previously remained hidden in a phone camera roll, so the fact that I am sharing with you means we are basically BFFs now. Sleepy eyes, wrinkled dress, and the aforementioned top knot that at the time I thought made me look less like a homeless person. Also note, an awake baby that was showing hunger cues next to an oblivious mom who at the time didn’t know what those were. I was so happy to be home, but was stressed from the first time in a car with him. I was on edge because I was scared to take care of him without the help of nurses, and I was really hungry because hospital food was bleh. We also thought the garage was a good backdrop as a first photo at home. So, you get the idea? This was not my most picturesque moment, which is why it was never on social media.

Regardless of how perfect social media portrays a mom, we all have the yucky, rough, real-life moments. It is normal to feel less than pretty, less than perfect, and less than sane. So new moms, take these helpful reminders, especially at the beginning when you are emotional, tired, and EVERYTHING seems like a big deal:

  • You are NOT perfect {gasp}, but you ARE doing a great job as a mom!
  • You are NOT alone in this less-than-picture-perfect season of life.
  • You WILL move into a more enjoyable season of life with your little nugget. 
  • Sometimes social media is just straight up your frenemy!

My best advice is to connect in-person with other moms for support. You’ll be amazed how swapping stories will make you feel so much better and normal. And until you get your mojo back, I also encourage you to do what I did to all social media platforms and cut yourself some slack by taking a social media break. Click that unfriend, unfollow, un{whatever} button and give yourself some room to grow into your new role! 

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Jaclyn was born a Jersey Girl, but became a Texan after moving here at age 5. After a degree from Texas A&M, she began her career in the oil/gas industry within talent acquisition. Simultaneously, she realized she had a crush on a boy named Andy who became her best friend, #1 supporter, and eventually her husband 5 years ago. After many years of Inner Loop living, they welcomed their son Mason {May 2015} and made the ‘burb life’ jump to The Woodlands {hello, nature and commute}. When she isn’t working fulltime in the office, she is putting in the Starbucks fueled hours at home hoping to be a great ‘employee’ for her spirited, sweet, non-stop energy, at-home boss - son Mason. {Side Note :: Being a boy mom should have a manual included at the hospital. Amen?} While off the clock for both jobs, Jaclyn is getting connected in her church, trying the newest workout fads {jogging doesn’t cut it}, making to-do lists, crossing off said to-do lists, Mexican food, wine, wine, wine and trying to convince her husband that New Girl IS a funny show.



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