When was the last time you donned a tea-length dress and a frilly apron while pulling an apple pie out of the oven?
But, I’ve seen the images. Happy homemakers of the 50’s creating havens of rest and relaxation for their families.
I wonder how many women looked at those images, and then at the chaos of their own life, and started feeling “less-than” perfect.
The new perfect parent.
With Pinterest and Instagram blasting images of perfection, we feel compelled to keep up with strangers. We start to compare ourselves to pictures on a computer screen.
We see pictures of perfectly organized laundry rooms and compare them to the piles, upon piles of dirty laundry in our home. We think, “what’s wrong with me? My laundry room doesn’t have coordinating wicker baskets!”
We read about creative, fun activities to do with our kids and start thinking that the basic swing set and sandbox in the backyard are less than enough.
We drool over fancy desserts and feel like a failure if our puff-pastry-with-raspberry-cream-filling doesn’t look anything like the picture on the blog.
In this world of images, we feel less adequate, unable to ever measure up. And, unfortunately, this can leave many parents feeling sad, depressed or overwhelmed.
Suddenly, confident parents are doubting themselves.
Break the Comparison Trap.
You are not a slave to the images you see on the computer screen! You can reclaim your confidence and feel secure in your parenting again.
- Set boundaries. You may decide to reduce the amount of time you spend on Pinterest or Facebook, refuse some friend requests or limit the number of things you pin. It may be best to take a break from a certain website or remove the app from your phone.
- Focus on truth. Remind yourself that the qualities that make you a good parent – patience, listening, support, humor – have nothing to do with the fact that you have an organized spice drawer or the ability to make necklaces from old T-shirts.
- Rephrase your self-talk. Rather than criticizing yourself for not measuring up, change the way you talk to yourself. “I do not need to bake homemade cookies to show my son that I love him. I do that every day by giving him a hug, talking with him, and spending time together.”
- Prioritize. Before you add an idea to your already busy life, take a minute to evaluate – think to yourself: Do I have time for this? Will it add to the quality of life in our family or will it add more stress? Am I doing this because I feel pressured or do I genuinely want to try this?
- Reach out. If the feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety or uncertainty last longer than a few weeks, it may be time to seek help. Call a friend or schedule an appointment with a mental health provider or Parent Coach. Sometimes it takes a little more support to break out of the comparison cycle.
What makes you a good parent is the fact that you love your children unconditionally, you provide for their needs, and you give them a safe environment to grow and learn.
Unfortunately, no one will ever be able to capture that in an image.
It can only come from the heart of a concerned, loving, attentive…imperfect parent.
(Aprons and apple pies are optional.)