The Perfect Internet Mom
Any form of media can make it very easy to compare yourself with others. I feel like I am speaking not only for myself, but other women when I say this. Age doesn’t matter much either. Young girls can begin to compare their bodies to other women the moment they see skinny models on magazines. Teens using Instagram are exposed to others posting and posing their “best” selves. Young adults, and middle aged women can feel the pressure to compare themselves to others easily from media exposure. They compare their bodies, looks, skills, or even their life. Social media, has made this need to compare even more imposing.
Many women engage in comparing themselves to others in some way. The article “Help! My Parents Are Millennials How this generation is changing the way we raise kids” includes information on a survey of “2,700 U.S. mothers ages 18 to 44 and found that nearly 80% of millennial moms said it’s important to be “the perfect mom,” compared with about 70% of moms in Generation X; 64% of moms across age groups said they believe parenting is more competitive today than it used to be” (Steinmetz, 2015). An increase in the expectation to be a perfect mom is presented from this survey. The article addresses the pressures, and how the use of technology plays apart in the pressure. Online activity allows for plenty of criticism and judgment.
I’d like to speak more specifically on the use of blogging, mothers, and this pressure. Blogging can be a great way for mothers to be creative, to document, and to engage in things they already enjoy. It is yet another social media site that can produce judgement and criticism whether it is coming from other bloggers, or whether this comes in the form of self-criticism and self-judgement. Moms may look at other bloggers, and see how happy the other families look in comparison to hers. One woman calls it “mompetition.” Competition to have a more seemingly happy, healthy family is one way mothers might engage in self-judgement or criticism.
I know personally, social media has produced an image of the “ideal mom” in my mind. This ideal mom I have imagined from social media contributes to the image of the mother I hope to be. I personally have idealized a mother who does yoga while she’s pregnant, and takes vitamins to help with her babies development. Once the child is born I have idealized a mother who wraps up her baby in one of those wraps that are tied around her midsection, and goes on a nice bonding walk with her child. A lot of what I have idealized has come from my social media influence. If i indeed don’t end up being this “ideal mom” I think I too, could put myself at risk for self-criticism and judgement.
Mothers who blog can begin to create in their own minds an “ideal” or “perfect” mother image. If they don’t match this, they may feel disappointed. Blogging tends to show only the good stuff. Blogs are kept decorative, organized, and pretty. The pictures and stories posted are of happy times, creative crafts, and positivity. Following a crafty mom, would make me want to be a crafty mom. She could of course need to have the time to take to sit down with her kids, and be creative and clean. Realistically, I couldn’t do this. Seeing other blog moms can make moms feel they need to be some type of mother.
Although these pressures can be present on blogging sites, I think they also have space for more positive things. Mothers need to remind themselves that no two mothers are the same, because no two people are the same. This can help decrease self criticism and judgment placed upon others. Blogs can be ways for women to get ideas from other moms, or bond with moms who share similar values and ways of raising their kids. It can be a place for moms to get ideas, but women should remind themselves of their own important uniqueness as a mother.
For mothers out there, what is your “ideal mom” image? In what ways do you differ from this image? How might this be a good thing? How are you unique in comparison to your created “ideal” image?