Mom using cellphone while baby is strapped to her chest

Social media will try to take control, but 2018 is about being present: here’s how to reduce social media stress in the new year

Social media is one of those inescapable realities of the 21st century. If you’re a nursing mom, you probably spend a good chunk of time Pinning while you pump. (We’re on Pinterest, too!) While we love social media for its ability to impact positive change (like the empowering  #NormalizeBreastfeeding and #GlitterStretchmarks campaigns), there’s a constant pressure to keep up with the #goals stuff others are posting. Our mission is to build up the amazing community of mothers we’re fortunate to work with every day. And in 2018, our resolution is to help moms reduce their social media-induced stress and remember why it’s okay for your real life to be less #Instagrammable.

1. Cut Back Browsing Time

This is the simplest solution, and also the toughest to execute. While discover pages and suggested accounts are fun to peruse once in awhile, they can be the first step into a social media rabbit hole. Once we catch sight of something we like, it’s hard to pull back and not compare ourselves to what we see. Life is happening six inches above your screen: it’s time to stop looking at the screen and start looking at the world in front of you, the home around you, and the tiny smiles beaming up at you. Try to limit your screen time to 1 check-in per day, or only use social media on weekends. See if you can give it up for a full week! After 7 days, check in on how you’re feeling. Our hunch is you’ll be breathing easier and more fully enjoying the little moments life presents in real time.

2. Follow Fewer Professionals

Content creators and bloggers are professional social media users who make their living by building beautiful profiles. Whether they’re unbelievably crafty or phenomenal cooks, their job is to promote their skills and make it all look easy. Your job is to be the best damn mother you can be. Follow the accounts of real people you know who encourage and support you. Trim down the number of people in your feed so you follow those who inspire real life—the ones without the perfect DIY projects, impeccably clean homes, and cookies so gooey you’re thinking about taking a bite out of your phone. Remember: social media was built to help you keep up with the people you love. If there’s an account you find yourself constantly trying to emulate, let go of it. Embrace your messy home and the bake-and-break cookies. Real mom life is nothing like a glamorous photo shoot, and your kids love you for who you are, not for your fly-away-free hair. Follow your friends’ accounts and the ones that remind you of real life, both its beauty and its challenges.  

3. Focus on Moments

Think back on your own childhood: can you remember the pile of laundry in the corner of the room as you unwrapped a birthday gift? Or the stain on your mom’s shirt as she helped you finish a class project? We’re guessing not. The point is that your mother wasn’t perfect either—no mother is! What matters to your kids is that you’re present. Instead of trying to capture the perfect photo to post, focus on remembering the moment. That being said, we’re all for taking a photo or two to look back on. If you’re looking to commemorate an occasion, and it’s within your budget, book a professional shoot, or ask a friend to play photographer for you. This way you can capture the spirit of the holidays or celebrate a first birthday without being distracted from the moment.

4. Prioritize and Know When to Call It a Day

Let’s face it: some of us can cook, and others use the smoke alarm as a dinner bell. There’s no judgment here, and there’s no need to judge yourself. If all you can muster up for a rainy day activity is a blanket thrown over two chairs, then that’s good for the weekend. Social media will show you moms building spectacular indoor mansions complete with fuzzy blankets and strings of tea lights. And we commend those moms! But it’s important to realize that we all have different schedules and unique strengths. Prioritizing one activity a day can help you make the most of the time you get to share with your family. Plus, life isn’t all or nothing; Christmas will come again, and there’s always another opportunity to sign up as a room-mom or chaperone a field trip. You’ll get plenty of chances to check off anything on your list that you didn’t get to this year. What’s important is that you make the most of all 2018 has to offer.

No matter how much or how little you like, tweet or favorite, social media affects us all. Especially as mothers, we don’t need any unnecessary negativity in our chaotic lives. The new year is a chance to start fresh! If your Instagram feed is making you question yourself, kick it to the curb and take a look in the mirror, because that’s one badass mom staring back at you. If you need an extra boost, turn to a friend or to our team at Ashland Health. We’ve been exactly where you are, and our social media channels are less #aspirational and way more #realtalk. You are not alone and you are enough. Here’s to 2018, to being present, and to making this our best year yet. Happy New Year!