Most of the time I really like social media, but other times I find it mentally exhausting now that I have James. There is far too much temptation to constantly compare your child with everyone else’s, and forget that perfect Instagram pictures aren’t necessarily reality.
I’ve always been one to share a lot of photos. This is mainly because we lived abroad and it was a good way to show our family and friends what we were up to. I probably bore a lot of people, but I also know that lots of people really like seeing the photos of where we have been and what we have been up to. I think this has become even more important since having James. When living in Lithuania our family didn’t get to meet him until he was 4 weeks old, but we were still able to share photos over social media, rather than sending them to everyone individually. This is one of the reasons I really like social media. You can be thousands of miles away but still feel connected to people. When we were living abroad I could keep up with what my friends and family were doing through Facebook, and also keep in touch via messenger. In addition, I have also made some wonderful new friends through social media, usually through commenting on something of shared interest.
I am all too aware that social media can portray an image of a perfect life and perfect child. When you scroll through people’s pictures of their perfect family life you can really start to feel like you are doing something wrong. I found this particularly difficult when it came to food with James. My child would be refusing or spitting out food, while I would be scrolling through pictures of children eating all sorts of wonderful things and this is what I wanted my child to do. Some of the photos I see of children’s plates on Instagram are quite amazing, both what they look like and what the child is eating. James’ dinners are never going to look like perfect Instagram meals. You can’t really make chicken nuggets, mashed potato and beans look attractive. I am a stay at home mum and I don’t think I would even have the time to create these masterpieces, but there is no way I would even bother when it would just get screamed at. In time I got over the inadequate feeling that I wasn’t providing my child with Instagramable dinners and set up my own Instagram account one_fussy_eater_to_another to show that not all children are perfect eaters. I also follow some other fussy eater accounts which are great for giving ideas on how to tackle fussy eating, and make me realise that I am not alone. I do follow other eating related accounts but no longer feel annoyed when I see children eating well, but look at them for inspiration and hope that one day James will be more like that.
Keeping my Instagram account to just pictures of James’ eating became difficult. As he has got older he is harder to get to eat new foods because he is fully aware when I am giving him something new. I now try to keep a mix of James’ eating and what we have been up to on a day-to-day basis. I do sometimes worry that James will hate that I have posted pictures of him eating and spitting foods out when he is older, but at the same time I like to think it is keeping a record of his eating journey and memories we have.
I actually find the world of Instagram a strange one. To me it seems like a popularity contest. You are constantly trying to take amazing pictures and increase your followers. Some one follows you so you follow them back, and then they often unfollow you, which drives me mad. I would prefer people to follow my account because they are genuinely interested in what I post about, not just because they want a follow back. There are days when I seriously consider deleting the whole account, and to be honest, I would probably be a lot happier for it. However, I know the account has helped some people who have sent lovely messages, both from Instagram and my blog.
My blog is my favourite part of social media. I really enjoy taking the time to consolidate my thoughts and write them down. Some blogs I have written have really surprised me in how popular they have been, and then there are others that I have thought would be popular but then weren’t. What makes it all worthwhile is when I receive messages from people (people who I know, as well as strangers) telling me that they can really relate to what I have written.
I really don’t want to use social media to portray a perfect life with James. A photo is only a snapshot and you can pretty much guarantee that it has taken numerous attempts to get a half decent photo. Compared to a lot of Instagram accounts, I don’t think my photos live up to anywhere near that standard, but why do they need to? I want to portray reality, not a perfect life, and if anyone is ever thinking I am portraying perfection, I can guarantee you that James has probably been a nightmare at some point during that day. I think we all need to be more aware of what our posts are portraying and how they could be perceived or make people feel.
Instagram – one_fussy_eater_to_another
Facebook – One Fussy Eater to Another