Why we all need to ditch the ‘perfect parent’ filter
Why can’t I stop scrolling?
Seriously, why do I keep torturing myself?
Sure, I’ll occasionally stumble across the odd post that truly encapsulates the gritty reality of parenting. But for every one of those, I’ll see at least a dozen filtered snaps of mums who live in immaculate houses with meticulously organised playrooms.
I see photos of these mothers baking cookies with children who are dressed in co-ordinated outfits. They’re all smiling. Everything is perfectly organised, there’s no mess in the sink or on the worktops, and every single baked treat looks identical. It’s the epitome of perfection.
Who wouldn’t look at an image like that and think ‘I want that life’?
Except no one actually has that life. And, deep down, we all know it. We’re intelligent enough to realise that these Insta moments never tell the full story, yet we’re still digesting this content and telling ourselves that life can be achieved.
No generation has ever felt the pressure to be perfect more than ours.
We’re the mums who grew up with Photoshopped women on the covers of our magazines, and during an era when cosmetic surgery became mainstream. It sent us a powerful, but ultimately damaging, message: you’re not perfect, but you could be.
Then came the dawn of social media. It changed the world, but it didn’t change our perceptions. In fact it made us more determined to grasp the unachievable goal of perfection.
We’ve become so conditioned to this way of thinking that it’s carried us into our parenting years. Nothing we ever do feels good enough. We could be doing better.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves, of course, it’s what makes life worth living. But when you’re chasing an unachievable dream, you can lose sight of what’s important. The things that should make you happy stop making you happy.
We forget that a perfect life doesn’t necessarily equate to a happy life. Yet we continue on this fruitless journey for ultimate perfection.
Perhaps what’s most disturbing is that social media has made us all part of the problem. No longer can we blame the media or the beauty industry for thrusting the ‘perfect wife and mother’ stereotype on us. We’re all playing our part in reinforcing it.
We’re in full control of what we share online, yet if we dare post any content that shows anything other than perfection, we fear that others will view it as an admission of failure.
What we’re forgetting is that, ultimately, we’re the ones in control of social media. We have the power to shake this horrible ‘perfect mum’ image once and for all.
So let’s all drop the filter. Let’s post that cute photo that you didn’t want to show anyone because there was Lego
all over the floor. And start showing the world what your kitchen worktop actually looks like after a baking session.
The more of us who embrace the mantra that it’s OK not to be perfect, the more empowered we’ll all be.