Some days I have a hard enough time just blogging. Finding time to jump onto Facebook-Twitter-Instagram-Pinterest-etc just doesn’t happen. Just thinking about it makes me tired.
I didn’t grow up on social media. I grew up in a backyard and a home that had no Internet until I was in 6th-7th grade and zero cable until I was in high school. And I don’t find I have in any way, shape, or form been deprived. I knew MySpace existed, but had no interest. Then there was something called LiveJournal some college friends were on. I ended up on Facebook by accident as a college freshman and got mild amusement from it.
As a happy introvert, I declined face-to-face socialization when it wasn’t rude and found the increasing number of social media sites to be more annoying than useful. I fully embrace my introvertedness, see no reason to be more social than I have to be, and see no point to comparing myself to anyone or have anyone compare themselves to me.
Needless to say, I am not and have never been a social media mom.
When my oldest was born 4 years ago, I was only on Facebook, and just to keep up with grad school classmates and the odd relative. Which actually remains true 4 years later. I didn’t have a tablet or smartphone (still use a flip phone to this day!). My computer saw more dust than use. I was busy with my little baby and just soaking him up. See, I thought I would be a working mom by the time my second baby came, so really just focused on my little boy for 18 months. Even checking my email took a backseat. It was easy to forget about it and not check it for a week or two at a time.
Today, I blog with two toddlers, 1 and 4, running around. I still have a private Facebook account, but this blog has a Facebook page and accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Honestly, I’m hardly ever on social media, even as The Lily Cafe. Whoops, haven’t actually posted on any of them, outside of the automatic posts WordPress sends, since July.
I’ve read so many posts about the positive and negative effects of social media on parenting. So many parents talk about comparing themselves to what their feeds tell them and so many others talk about how we shouldn’t compare ourselves to anyone. Other bloggers write about getting off of social media because it can become negative with shaming and mean comments and the constant comparison game that people naturally just can’t stop playing.
It makes me glad I’m not a social media mom, and never have been.
It turns out to have been a saving grace when I had my first. If I was relying on social media to tell me how I should mom, I probably would have been a basket case despite the fact I have a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and years of experience with children with and without autism. To say I was trained to work with children is a bit of an understatement.
But if I had been active on social media, I probably would have been questioning myself and everything I did instead of following my own intuition. I would not have been turning to the parenting expert that I did rely on for the first year: my mom, who raised 3 of us in a time when there was no social media and pretty much no Internet. I would have been playing the comparison game, too. I would have driven my husband crazy. I wouldn’t have learned to trust myself and my child. I would never have learned to trust my instincts and what my child was trying to tell me. I would have been convinced I was doing everything wrong and tried pushing things that would have ended in disaster. Seeing numerous 2 year olds be successfully potty trained would have put me in knots. My son was almost 3.5 before he was potty trained (when he and I were both ready, and it was easily the best decision I ever made).
I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. I was taught to look at people as individuals. Being a social media mom would have ruined that. So, I’m glad I wasn’t a social media mom. I’m still glad I’m still not a social media mom. Even though this blog has its own social media accounts, I’m not on them much.
I have 4 solid years of parenting behind me. I’ve been a mom of two for 16 months. My kids are happy and healthy. I trust myself and I focus on what they need rather than on what other parents’ kids are doing at the same ages. Today, I can look through the social media feeds and think “oh, good for them!” I don’t have any desire to be like them or do things like them even though they have thousands of followers and millions of likes and are overall successful social media parents/influencers.
I’m happiest not being a social media mom. It’s shaped me into the mom I am today. I don’t care what other people think of my kids. I only care that they are happy and healthy and loving life. I care that they are receiving what they need to flourish in the world.
I don’t mean to say being a social media parent is a bad thing. I’m sure it works for many people and is actually very helpful. I just happen to not enjoy it. I have a solid background in psychology and child development. I know what I’m doing and trust myself. If you’re a social media parent, I hope you’re rocking it. If you’re not a social media parent like me, I hope you’re rocking that, too. There’s no one right way to parent or one right place to look for help and answers.
I’m not a social media mom and never will be. What about you? Has it helped you, or does it just get you down?