In this day-in-age of Instagram, Facebook and an overwhelming amount of social media and technology, it’s hard not to get swept away in our perceptions of what parenthood should look like. We are constantly bombarded with images of celebrity moms with perfect hair and makeup, such as recent photos of Kate Middleton just hours after giving birth. Not to mention Pinterest moms with immaculate homes (seriously, how many housekeepers to you have?)
With that being said, here are 5 ways parents can keep their expectations in check:
1) Get off your phone and offline.
I know I am certainly guilty of spending too much time online. I bought a new iPhone with more space when the twins were born because I wanted to take loads of photos. Of course, this also meant being able to have more social media applications. And that, in turn, means spending too much time scrolling and getting sucked into other strangers’ lives without realizing it, comparing my own life to theirs, and being disappointed that my house is not nearly as nice or that I am not as put together as they are. It is impossible to have a true sense of reality when we are constantly comparing ourselves to people we don’t even know.
2) Reach out.
Our problems can seem so great when we confine ourselves and shut out others. If you find yourself struggling in the midst of piles of laundry, daycare drop-offs, and teething woes, call a friend. Chances are she is having a rough time too. When we reach out to other people, our problems seem so much smaller and things don’t seem as bad as we think.
3) Keep it simple.
Overwhelmed by planning your child’s birthday party? Make a plan, make a list of the details, then ask yourself, “How can I make this easier?” For our twins first birthday, I had so many plans to make a theme and do all the decorations by hand from Pinterest, not to mention bake 2 cakes for each of them. Does that sound a little insane to you? It did to me after I wrote all of this down. We ended up buying everything from Sam’s Club, including the cupcakes, and our decorations were nothing more than some balloons from Amazon and a paper “Happy Birthday” banner. Our only invitation was a Facebook invite. All guests had a great time, and the kids will never remember that their cupcakes were store-bought.
4) Give yourself some credit.
Being a parent is one of the hardest things you can do. It’s so easy to forget that! Why do we put even more pressure on ourselves when we become parents? Take some time to acknowledge how much you do on a daily basis and let go of all the things you wish you had accomplished.
5) Embrace the mess.
If you are a neat freak like me, having kids has totally turned my world upside down, as I look around the living room scattered with crumbs, toys, and random objects that were pulled from our kitchen to entertain our kids (like a mixing bowl). The reality is that toddlers love to explore, which means, taking everything out of boxes and throwing it across the floor, and then moving onto the next fun thing. However, I love this age, so as hard as it has been, I have tried to embrace this time and accept that it comes with a lot of mess and a lot of love.