I am proud to be part of the online parenting blogger community. I think that the social media parenting community is doing an amazing job in debunking the myth of perfect parents. Once you actually become a parent, you realise that it is just that, a myth. As mature adults and mothers we know the difference between InstaPerfect pictures and real life! But are we doing enough to make sure that our children know that they too are enough. They are enough too!
I saw in the news this morning that suicide rates for school girls and young women is on the rise in the UK. It’s being blamed on the influence of social media. Which I get. The quest for perfection and the misguided perception of what perfection and beauty actually is.
What they believe!
My girls are 5 and 7, and my step-daughter is 15. They are all amazing girls. Strong. Brave. Intelligent. Funny. And beautiful. But every so often they say something about themselves that makes me want to scream into a pillow. Here are a few examples:
Why is the hair on my legs so dark? All the kids at school ask me that. I hate it. – My 5-year-old daughter.
I don’t want to wear my coat. It makes me look fat! – My 7-year-old daughter.
I don’t want to wear my PE shorts outside of school because people look at my legs. – My 15-year-old step-daughter.
I try to allay their concerns by reminding them that it doesn’t matter what other people think, or say, or even what they look like at all. What matters is that they are comfortable, warm, happy, and of course that they are kind and decent people.
The Struggle Is All Uphill
But that is so much! It’s so much information for them to hear. In the moment.
I have so many messages I want to give them in the moment when I’m responding to their ‘ridiculous’ comments. But there are too many words and it takes too long to say all that I want to say to them. In the moment.
Sometimes I think to myself that there is just so much I want to teach them. And then I start to worry that I will never have enough time to actually do it. What’s that other saying we hear all the time … the days are long but the years are short. It’s true you know.
So What Can We Do?
I guess the danger is that we, as mothers, in a digital age who all spend far too much time on social media, are becoming so intent on making ourselves and each other feel better and on propping each other up that it could be easy to forget that it is also our job to make sure that our children know that they too are enough. They are enough.
It’s not the job of social media. It’s not the job of the magazines, and the YouTubers. And it’s certainly not the job of the schools or our children’s friends to make them feel like they are enough. It is ours!
And it is quite possibly the hardest job in the world. Are we doing enough to make sure that they know that they are enough.
What’s My Point In All This?
I see a reminder quite often, on social media – obviously, that we need to remember that our kids are always watching us. And we all know that we should all lead by example.
So I want us to all ask ourselves this question, are we doing enough? Are we doing enough to make sure that our children know that they are enough. Do they know that what they see on social media is not real!
I am proud that my step-daughter seems to know that the girls in her year at school who posts nearly nude and borderline pornographic pictures on Instagram nearly daily is fake. I am proud that she knows that. I can’t claim to have influenced that. I can’t claim responsibility that she knows the difference between reality and social media. But I am incredibly grateful that she does.
But I feel like I could do more to make sure that not only her, but my younger two little girls do also realise that social media vs reality is very very different.
I want them to know that they are enough. Because as much as I am a good enough mother to them, they are perfect to me! They are more than enough.
I want them to know their worth. I want them to know their worth well enough to demand their worth always. Because they are enough.
This is a reminder to us all. Just as we are enough, so are they. We need them to know that. We need to tell them that. We need to show them that they are enough.
Here’s the video I uploaded to Youtube where I rant on about this a little bit.