Social media can be a breeding ground for mompetition and complaining

The average internet user spends about 2 hours and 22 minutes each day interacting with social media, according to a report on Digital Information World in January 2019. That equals equals 16 hours and 36 minutes each week and nearly 800 hours per year!

That’s a lot of time on social media. It’s definitely a newer frontier considering that Facebook wasn’t even created until 2004 (MySpace was created the year before). Twitter came along in 2006 and Instagram and Pinterest both debuted in 2010.

Social media and mompetition

While social media has a variety of pros and cons, one of the issues it’s definitely enhanced is mompetition — mom competition. When I was a kid back in the 1980s and 1990s, my mom’s biggest source of mompetition came primarily from the moms of other kids in our school.

Now, we moms compete with moms everywhere. We log onto Facebook and see how someone we’ve never met across the country has a toddler who can ride a unicycle while our toddler trips walking to her tricycle.

Or we fire up Instagram and see the happy beach family vacation a mom a state away is on while we blow up a small kiddie pool and wrangle arguing children who are trying to walk through the house dripping wet.

And don’t even get me started with Pinterest. I love Pinterest, but it can definitely be a huge pressure cooker for moms. You don’t have to be on it long to learn that every other mom on the planet has a picture perfect clean house that only takes 5 seconds a day to maintain and children who spend their summers doing intense housework, extensive schoolwork and hours of community service before spending only 15 minutes of screen time a week on educational apps.

Of course I’m exaggerating — a little. But, mompetition certainly has grown with the use of social media. Even if we spend much less time on social media than the average user, it’s easy to get sucked into the comparison game. It’s easy to feel mompetition. And it’s even easier to throw our own highlight reel up on social media and feed the fire.

Social media and complaining

Then there’s the other side of social media. There are the posts that are perpetually negative. There are the posts that poke fun at other parents or even children. Sarcasm is found in abundance on social media. Snarkiness abounds.

While I do appreciate jokes about the challenges of parenthood, some can go too far. They can keep us focusing on what’s hard about motherhood and not all the loads and loads of good stuff. They can make us feel irritated and frustrated instead of uplifted and encouraged.

The purpose of Families with Grace

And all of this is part of why I created Families with Grace. I want the FWG blog, social media outlets and general community to be a safe place to be honest about struggles. My goal is to be real. However, you also won’t find posts about how frustrating my children are or how much my husband annoys me.

Because while those feelings are real sometimes, they aren’t the feelings I have the vast majority of the time, and I don’t want to dwell on them. I also, though, don’t want to give the impression that I know everything and my family is perfect. I don’t want you to think that I always talk to my husband and children with grace and patience. I don’t. I fall short.

I do keep trying, though. That’s the journey I want us to take together. Let’s try together to be better and do better for our families — not just try impress one another. Let’s find ways to keep our priorities in the correct order: God, spouse, children.

Because no matter what someone posts on their highlight reel of social media, the real issue is whether they are doing their best for their family. If I try to deceive you into thinking my children, home, marriage and even Christian walk are perfect, I’m only fanning the flames of mompetition. I’m only working to make you feel worse.

If I try to commiserate with you about how awful everything is in my life, I’m only fanning the flames of griping. And I’m making you feel worse.

But if I share with you the lessons I’m learning through my mess and imperfections, then maybe you’ll remember that not all of us are perfect. Maybe then you’ll give yourself some grace and get some ideas for what could work in your own family. My prayer is that God will use some of my words to work in your heart.

Learning to be more like God

I love what I do. I love writing. I love being a mom. I love being a wife. I definitely love Jesus and His redeeming love. But, aside from Jesus, I don’t fully love all of those things all the time. I’m doing my best. When I fail and fall as I do, God gives me grace and pulls me up and dusts me off.

He doesn’t roll His eyes. He doesn’t post on Facebook about how annoying I am. (Can you imagine if God was on social media?!) God just loves me and gives me all the grace I need.

His example is I want to draw from in my own life as a wife and mom. That’s the image I want to portray in my life and on social media. Life isn’t perfect. It’s messy and scary. It’s beautiful and good. And it is so very much more than what shows up in our social media news feeds.

Join me on the journey to creating homes filled with grace, love and faith. Come along and learn from the mistakes I make and lessons I learn. I can’t promise you that I’ll be perfect, but I know the One who is. God never fails, He always loves and I want nothing more than to honor Him in my words whether they are coming out of my mouth, posted on my blog and typed into my social media accounts.

This post is part of Families with Grace’s Social Media Savvy series that covers a commonsense approach to handling social media as a parent. Check out these other posts from the series:

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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