being a mom

Social Media Makes Me Feel Like An Utter Failure

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Social Media Makes Me Feel Like A FailureWe have all been there. It is 10 AM and a very slow morning. The kids have a snow day and you are wondering  just what to do with them. You are seriously dragging as you were up a little too late watching the Housewives argue on Bravo. In spite of the exhaustion, kids are dressed. They are fed (somewhat).  And you are proud. You still manage to hold on to your title of Supermom. That is, until you see that pic. The one that ruins your day.

A  Facebook friend just posted a photo of a gorgeous display table in the theme of Frozen. There are snowmen and princess cupcakes and colorful cake pops. Everything looks beautiful and perfect, with little coordinating handmade tags. You try not to panic. It is more than likely just a picture she copied off the Martha Stewart website. Or, at worst, a little girl’s birthday party from the week before. You envision it being a party for a girl whose mother just so happens to be a professional event planner. You feel a little sick when you discover the truth: Your friend and her nine kids baked, decorated and put everything together. It was no special occasion for them; just your ordinary snow day activity. It wasn’t big deal, she says, as they all have been up since five AM anyway.  Mind you that this is the same woman that last year made a holiday wreath by hand. She used twigs, string, and an old shoe. The memory still haunts you. Your friend would love to chat more, but she has to go and take the apple pie and chocolate cake out of the oven. You sink in your chair and go looking for your kids. They have to be around here somewhere.

My husband often refers to social media as “a hive of scum and villainy” (a reference from the movie Star Wars) and I think I know why. A lot of time you hop on the computer to “relax” and just end up frustrating yourself more. It seems that everybody is perfect and everybody’s kids are perfect too. I have been guilty of posting pictures of my kids and assorted statuses of what we are doing. However, I must admit the embarrassing truth: I really have no great talent. I am not creative in the least. I am not a baker, or even a great cook for that matter.

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54 Comments

  1. Robotic Socks

    April 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

    SM serves two purposes:

    1. Feel shamed by others

    2. Shame others

    Don’t be a victim!

    • Valerie

      April 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      I think it serves many other purposes…those are just the most common.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      April 14, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      also for posting Joseph Ducreux memes. I love that guy.

  2. Kendra

    April 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I used to feel like that too. I finally got to the point of realization that MOST moms who flood social media with overzealous projects and crazy crafts and cooking, are doing it for their own attention. They want the comments that say how awesome and unique they are. They want the credit for the hours and hours spent on it. It is and will never be about their children. Is it an added bonus if their kids think it’s awesome? Sure. But, really, if it was for your children, you wouldn’t post the 200 pictures on your adult social media, right? Maybe I’m just overly harsh.

    • val97

      April 14, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Agree. You can make a butt ugly craft with a 5 year old, and they’ll think it’s amazing. It’s more about doing things together than being perfect. The social media pics are all about the mom showing off.

    • Elizabeth Licata

      April 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      I don’t think I really see the difference. If one’s hobby is sewing, one could make a dress for oneself and post the results to Pinterest or Facebook, or one could make a dress for one’s kid and do the same. It’s not that it’s not about the kids, just that it’s also about you and your interests. Same for baking or whatever else people are doing.

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      April 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

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    • Kendra

      April 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      It obviously isn’t the same for everyone, but at least from those I see on my page, it’s 95% about competition with other moms. It would be different if you were doing it because it’s what you love to do. I don’t think there would be 50 pictures showing different angles if it weren’t about a pride or “showing off” thing.

    • Elizabeth Licata

      April 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Sure, that makes sense. It’s just that personally I don’t really think pride or “showing off” are bad things. If you make a badass Frozen cake, go ahead and slap that sucker on Pinterest and rock on with your bad, cake-decorating self. I will be suitably impressed.

    • Kendra

      April 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I can agree, if it is in moderation. It’s the ones who are posting crazy stuff non-stop that get under my skin. I’m doing all the decorating for my daughter’s birthday party, and you better believe I will be fully showing that off!! But the every day posting just comes off as a “see how much better I am than you” kind of thing and that’s just not cool.

    • rrlo

      April 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      I agree, it’s usually not that difficult to spot the difference between someone posting “look at this cool thing I made and here is a picture of it” versus someone using social media to broadcast their superiority. That person probably is broadcasting their superiority in real life too.

      I am so glad most of the parents on my FB are like that. Although, it’s possible I just don’t get their feeds anymore because they annoyed me one too many times.

    • Elizabeth Licata

      April 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Yeah, I can see where it would get annoying if it were an everyday sort of thing.

    • raero

      April 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      I’m with you on this. My husband’s cousin’s wife is one of those pinterest mombies and literally every single day is a different craft. Her kid is THIRTEEN MONTHS OLD. She knitted him 30 different pieces of play food. They make their own playdoh, silly string, they do finger paints in bags and potato stamps. And there are no lie at least 10-12 pictures of each activity.

      And I mean, whatever, to each their own. I do feel bad though in 5-6 years when that kid has absolutely no idea how to entertain himself and is constantly whining to mommy for a fun game or activity.

    • Larkin

      April 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Yeah… one of my FB friends is the worst for this. Haha. But it’s not even really crafts–I wouldn’t mind that, I actually love seeing awesome crafts and art projects in my newsfeed–it’s more like “Look what an awesome mom I am!!!!!”

      The elf of the shelf? Oh man… there were like five photos every day of the elaborate things that he did to their house. And she posts photos of things like the lunch she packed her daughter for April Fool’s Day… where she went to all the trouble of saving junk food containers/wrappers and putting healthy food inside (a sandwich in a cookie wrapper, carrots in a Cheetos bag, etc) and then detailed it all for her FB friends.

  3. Tinyfaeri

    April 14, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I was the artsy kid with the mom who was not. It’s really not so bad – encourage whatever she thinks up, and if you want, let her come up with projects you can help her do. The craft class sounds like fun. 🙂 Kids don’t really need structured activities and parent-led arts and crafts projects, they’ll get as much if not more out of finding things to do themselves with your support.

    And if you had 9 (9!) baking assistants, you could probably do a nifty centerpiece, too.

  4. Elizabeth Licata

    April 14, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Everyone needs to remember that Pinterest and social media photos are a highly curated snapshot. What you see is specifically what they want you to see. I can do the Pinterest thing easily: Make something. Throw up a foamcore background, get the light angled right, and boom! Perfect photo = perfect life. But seriously, I’ve taken decor photos of my perfect, pristine, artfully decorated bedroom while perched on top of the giant laundry pile I had to build to clear the floor from the photo space. I have used Photoshop’s spot remover tool to make my floor look clean because it’s easier than actually sweeping. Anything that isn’t beautiful just gets shoved behind the photographer or cropped out of the picture. Doesn’t mean it’s not there.

  5. rrlo

    April 14, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Some people really enjoy the creative process of crafting fun things. It’s not a big deal. And if they are proud of it – they may display them on their social media. I think that’s cool.

    I am sure we are all doing something unique with our children that other mothers are not doing. Not everything can be documented on social media – crafts/food are much easier to display.

    Who cares about crafts? I am fairly “crafty” and can’t rope my kid into doing anything remotely craft-like. Meh. No need to feel bad about it. There are plenty of other activities we enjoy doing together.

    • procashmoney

      April 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm

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    • Valerie

      April 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Yeah, I’m not down with crafting but I am still pretty athletic for an old mommy and am outside with my kids all the time playing baseball and running around like a nut. Def not Instagram-able but I think its probably one of my better Mom talents.

  6. Kris

    April 14, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Ugh. Facebook. Every time I think my 11 month old is a genius I see a post from one of my friends saying that their babies are walking. Or talking. Or have more teeth. It’s an awful little rat race of milestones. Damn you Facebook.

    • guest

      April 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      I have a “omg I suck as a parent” moment every time any friend of mine posts a pic of their kid surrounded by cool toys we don’t have. 😛

      Never mind that most of my friends work & part of why their kids HAVE so many toys is because they’re compensating for lost time.

      Never mind that my 9mo old is perfectly happy waving a hand towel around while “helping” fold laundry, or beating our entertainment center to death with a swiffer (again, “helping”) or rolling around on her playmat with the cats and dogs. I see someone’s child with a handcrafted, handpainted abacus and I go “OMG WHY DOESN’T THE BABY HAVE AN ABACUS YET?!?”

      It’s so stupid…especially since I WAS the kid with all the cool toys who would have given them all up just for more quality time with my parents. 😛

      Ugh. Facebook. 😛 😛 😛

    • guest

      April 14, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      I was a SAHM with all 3 of my children, so this isn’t any so-called working mom’s guilt talking. I am hesitant to even reply, as I hate the whole working mom vs.SAHM thing. It’s such a waste of time, when instead we should be supporting each other as women. But, your post was rather biased and judgmental. Not every working parent is buying toys for their kids to “compensate for lost time”. A lot of working parents don’t even have the money to buy extra toys, as they’re working for health insurance, or maybe the extra $200 they bring in a month. Whatever the reason, a lot of moms work and they shouldn’t be made to feel inferior by any SAHM, especially when things are said just to make a SAHM feel better about not being able to afford the things that others can. It’s just material items. To generalize like that is just pretty harsh in my opinion.

  7. Abby

    April 14, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I don’t really mind seeing the completed crafts and so on. Good for you, you’re Martha Stewart, maybe I’ll hire you and your adorable underlings for my next party.

    I do mind when people link me really elaborate Pinterest crafts with the caption, “For when your kid is born!” Okay, yes, all of this stuff is gorgeous, and I will happily find ways to keep my kid entertained once he’s old enough to lose interest with my kind of old school baby toys (wooden spoon, mirror that he can talk to himself in, baby doll for him to converse with), but those methods will probably be something more along the lines of finger paints or sidewalk chalk, not gourmet snacks and elaborate cupcake displays. I appreciate the thought behind it, but sorry, I’ll stick to simple glue and glitter.

  8. Alex Lee

    April 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    “I am looking forward to the ‘Mommy and Me’ craft class we will be taking together this spring.”

    Oh Happy Day!

    http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view7/2944936/hercules-nutty-professor-o.gif

    • Valerie

      April 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      “Her-kuh-lees Her-kuh-lees!”

  9. procashmoney

    April 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

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  10. allisonjayne

    April 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Sometimes my only motivation for posting my crafts on instagram is to try to convince my mom to like me.

  11. Brittany Anne

    April 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve always been musically inclined, and neither of my parents know anything about music beyond listening to whatever radio station they happen to flip to in the car. But they took me to weekly piano lessons for years, showed up to every single recital to cheer me on, encouraged me to get a degree in music (which actually worked out!), and generally did everything they could to encourage this interest of mine, even though they didn’t share it themselves. And I couldn’t have cared less that they themselves weren’t very musical, because they cared so much about *my* interest in it. I think encouragement is more important than anything else, which you seem to be doing a great job of. 🙂

  12. MerlePerle

    April 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    My kid loves crafting, drawing etc. I can’t draw crap! But I got a book for preschoolers from the library wherebit explains to you how to draw stuff. Like a unicorn starts with a kidney shape and so on. Now my daughter and her friends think I’m the coolest.

  13. TngldBlue

    April 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I have an acquaintance on FB that is always posting these super cute crafts she does with her kids. The other day we went to her house and I figured out she doesn’t actually do these with her kids. Her kids spend about 5 minutes on something before she gets annoyed they are doing it wrong & takes over, leaving them to play alone while she spends hours doing stupid shit like glittering cupcakes. Smoke and mirrors!

  14. KaeTay

    April 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I’m going to let the author in on a secret: it doesn’t matter how well you draw.. it’ matters that you’re spending time with your kids. They could careless about how good you draw.. just that you’re there.

  15. Ptownsteveschick

    April 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I’m a crafty person, over my life I’ve sewn, rehabbed furniture, made beaded jewelry, scrapbooked and now I am finally stuck for the long haul on knitting. My mom hates crafts. But she was always happy to give me a ride to the craft or thrift store and help me out with supply purchases, I was never discouraged by the fact that she didn’t want to craft with me.

  16. WriterLady

    April 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I don’t mind the crafty images. Some people have different interests and talents, and in my mind, it’s okay to share those moments with others. Here’s what does annoy me a little: When the same person repeatedly posts one nauseatingly upbeat status after another, as if everything is absolutely perfect all the time in their lives. Examples: “We went to Disneyworld last week!” “My husband just got a major promotion at his job with a huge raise!” “Look at our $30,000 kitchen remodel!” These are real statuses from one specific person in the span of a month or so (obviously not word-for-word, but you get the point…no hyperbole, though). I don’t buy it for a second. To me, it’s a sign of insecurity. And she isn’t the only person to do this type of thing.

    Look, I like to use social media. I generally post an update once every other day…sometimes once a week, depending on how busy I am or what I have to say. I’m more inclined to share political articles or funny memes, rather than talk about my personal life. When I do, however, it’s a mixture of the good and the mediocre (or even slightly bad). I admit that I have mentioned a time or two when I’ve landed a new long-term project, but I try not to gloat about it. It’s just a simple, “I’m super-excited to start my new Grade 8 ELA writing gig tomorrow.” On the other hand, I also post self-deprecating statuses that are intended to be humorous…nothing too serious. I will never delve into territory that is too personal, be it good or bad. I’m just not one to believe that 300 people need to know all of that info.

    • Jessifer

      April 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      I guess the key is not to have so many people on your FB to begin with. I have about 100 people on mine and that’s only because I have a pretty large family (they make up about 50% of my “friends” list).

    • WriterLady

      April 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I don’t add people willy-nilly. I happen to have numerous acquaintances from high school and previous workplaces, as well as a VERY large extended family (both on my side, and my husband’s). And to be honest, the person whose example I used is actually one of my friends from high school (she was a close friend through even the college years). I’ll delete someone who offends me, but I don’t want to delete a person whom I care about. It’s her decision to post these things, and I never publicly disparage her or anything like that. When she happens to post ordinary things (like pictures of her adorable kids), I’m always one to “like” the photo. As I noted, my initial reaction is that someone who does this on a fairly consistent basis is dealing with an insecurity of some sort, so it’s not the end of the world. Idk…I just don’t get worked up over social media. I’ll make observations, of course, but it’s not such a big deal that I need to remove the person entirely.

  17. Jessifer

    April 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    My mom was not crafty at all, nor did she have much of an education, but there was always music in the house, she read tons of books to me, we played board games, and when she’d make rice krispy squares (the only thing she’d actually make), she’d let me count all the marshmallows and measure the cereal in the cup before tossing it in the pot. Then she’d let me lick the spoon while we watched Oprah and folded laundry together (cause that’s a “big girl” job). It didn’t have to be perfect or unique to be awesome and it helped me become the person that I am. Now that I’m a mom I have to remind myself of that from time to time.

    • Mette

      April 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      It sounds absolutely lovely. When I’m doing things with my kids, it’s never about the outcome, but having a good time together.

  18. SA

    April 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I for the life of me never understand these articles. “I see pictures posted of something I can’t stand doing and it makes me feel bad”?? I could honestly careless if someone is crafting up Martha Stewart style goods….if I want to do something a little crafty I know that it is going to be construction paper and googly eyes, why should someone else’s joy or hobby have any affect on my own happiness.

    I have friends that post photos of places I am most likely never going to be able to visit. I wish I could afford to travel more, but I can’t and I just enjoy looking at the pictures of places I may not ever see myself.

    I see pictures of friends new homes and know that I won’t ever have a home like that, but know that I am very happy with the smaller, yard-less home we were able to purchase.

    • rrlo

      April 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      I am with you on this one. What others are doing have no impact on me and my child. As far as I’m concerned we have both achieved perfection LOL.

  19. brebay

    April 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Rats, I owe my boss $10. I could have sworn from the title this was Becky.

  20. ChelseaBFH

    April 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Here’s what I tell myself about Facebook: if I have 365 friends, and each of us does something amazingly crafty and posts it once a year, that means that on average I’m seeing one amazingly crafty thing on my newsfeed a day. And that’s going to make me feel inadequate even though I’m doing just as much as everyone else. (This is also true with vacations – if every one of your 365 friends takes a week’s vacation a year, that means that on average you have 7 friends posting from their vacation at any given time, so it can feel like EVERYONE is always on vacation even though you take just as many vacations as everyone else).

    I have to continuously remind myself that Facebook is not one person, it’s a collection of a huge number of people and I cannot be expected to compete with them all at once!

  21. Rachel Sea

    April 14, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I wouldn’t feel even slightly bad about not being all Martha Stewart with your daughter. When I was a kid I didn’t know a single parent who did crafty things, that’s what other kids, school, and babysitters were for. You are supporting her, and that’s what matters.

    If you want to do something with her, I’m sure there is some craft that you can be good enough at. I recently started sewing, and have been enjoying it a lot. I’ve often let my perfectionism stop me, but with sewing I feel free to be imperfect, both because I know it takes a lot of years to know how to do everything, and because as long as the whole turns out nice, I really truly am the only person who knows where I messed up. It’s the first time I’ve really felt like good enough can be great.

  22. brebay

    April 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Mmmm, no. She parked her 9 kids in front of the TV or the ipad and did that shit herself, ignoring the pleas of her children to come play with them, barking at her hubs who left early to avoid her wrath and met some bimbo who pays attention to him at the coffee shop. When she finally lets the kids in to eat them, they’ll destroy the table, and the youngest one will cry because they taste funny and she wanted regular cake. Finally, she’ll send the lot of them outside, wash down a Xanax with a shot of Vodka, and call it good. But damn, by morning she’ll have 156 likes, and she’ll be back at it again.

  23. keetakat

    April 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Make no mistake, being a Mom is a craft all its own and I’ll bet there are a million things you do every day that you don’t think of as being creative, but they are…all the ways you come up with to overcome the challenges of parenting? Totally creative thinking. And, by the way, allowing your daughter to be the brilliant and artsy person she is, is a gift some parents are intimidated by, you are doing some seriously great mom’ing.

  24. Gina Freitas

    April 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I cannot live up to FB’s standards. It kills my self-esteem.

  25. Jezebeelzebub

    April 14, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    When people annoy me on FB, I stop following them or put them on this special list I made called 9th Circle of Hell. Then I don’t have to look at their shit. Like this one mom is forever posting pictures of her kids, and they always look filthy and are usually doing something I find bratty- so into the 9th Circle of Hell she went. If they are really stupid, I unfriend them. I have occasionally gotten a message like WHY DID YOU UNFRIEND ME and I’m like, “who cares? it’s only Facebook. Calm your tits.” Anyway, when I see pictures of all the cool stuff that moms do with their kids, I look over at my kid who’s watching Hellraiser with me or fiddling with her tarot deck and I figure those moms have all that shit to clean up, while MY kid picks out her favorite cenobite or divines the FUTURE. So then I win.

    • keetakat

      April 14, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      “who cares? it’s only Facebook. Calm your tits.”

      …I think you might be my BFF incognito! That is so something she would say and I would be all mortified and spritzing my knickers in hysterics.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      April 15, 2014 at 1:14 am

      Could be….. could very well be.

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    April 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm

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  27. jendra_berri

    April 14, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    My mom instilled a love of reading in me, and made an effort to talk to me about body issues and domestic violence. But she wasn’t crafty. Took her, like, two years to make a shoddy quilt. She knit me an itchy sweater I was too big for by the time she finished. My time was spent with books and writing my own stories and learning to draw, not making crafts. And that was A-ok.

    Eff the crafts, man. They’re fun, and it’s cool, but they can be done at school and daycare. Other household’s crafting has no bearing on you. No one mother can be amazing at everything. You’re probably awesome at something this mom sucks at, but maybe it’s just something you can’t photograph.

  28. Kate

    April 14, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I guess I’m one of “those” moms. When I was pregnant (and suddenly finding myself unexpectedly unemployed) I spent a ton of time sewing all the things for my son’s bedroom. And making countless bibs. And blankets. I was bored. I posted these things to facebook. I never thought I was making people feel bad about themselves. I was just proud of all the things I figured out how to sew. I don’t think I’ll stop posting pics of things I make on facebook. I like making things and sharing pics of the things I make, although I make far fewer pretty things these days since I’m working more than full time and have a toddler.

  29. Kay_Sue

    April 14, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    I am probably a perfect example of why you shouldn’t take what folks post on social media at face value. Classes aimed at brand marketing taught me the value of presenting the best image that you can and how social media can help.

    Don’t get me wrong–everything I post is real. Right now, my profile pic is gorgeous. My hair and makeup were perfect. My outfit was killer. Add in an Instagram filter and it is stellar. And that is precisely why I picked it, out of the many other snapshots of that evening. It’s also why I do not have a pic up off this week, when my period is about to start, I am horribly bloated, and experiencing a wonderful breakout that rivals anything from my high school days.

    I love to post funny things my kids say. But I never post the times that they back talk or turn their wonderful logic on each other for evil and leave me wishing I could mail them to Antartica.

    I sometimes share my cooking escapades. Fried chicken, homemade mashed potatoes and yeast rolls from scratch make the list. Those times that I am too tired to cook anything and just pop some hot dogs in the microwave?….well, not so much.

    Social media is one aspect of your identity that you can truly manage to show whatever you want. Take it with a grain of salt. A very large grain, if you can.

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