4 Tips for Navigating Social Media as a Mom

There are ways to avoid negativity on social media

mom and baby on phone
JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

Modern-day motherhood comes with a surprising new challenge: the world of social media. In addition to worrying about how to best care for their little ones, these days new mothers also have to navigate the tricky world of online motherhood.

While social media can be a haven for mothers who may feel alone in what is an entirely new world, or who may be isolated at home alone with young children, people on social media can be cruel.

 And the kind of judgmental meanness aimed at mothers on social media isn't confined to one group; even celebrity mothers aren't immune to "mommy shaming." Supermodel Chrissy Teigen took a lot of heat on social media for the simple act of going out to dinner when her baby was 10 days old, which some of her followers apparently found questionable.

But just because some mothers parent differently than others and feel the need to make nasty comments, that doesn't mean you have to avoid all social media as a new mom. Instead, make social work for you with these tips on navigating motherhood online.

Educate Yourself About Social Media

Unfortunately, although it's common, social media is not completely safe. We may think that our pictures and our posts belong only to us, but that's not necessarily the case. Consider how many people are on Facebook when you post those cute baby pictures to your page.

There's even a bizarre practice of what's called "baby role playing," which involves strangers stealing other people's pictures and creating their own virtual world from them. And many parents know the pain of having their child's picture turned into a meme, without the ability to do anything about it.

There's no reason for panic, but it's best to educate yourself on the realities and laws of social media platforms before you post. Watch those security and privacy settings, and know who can see your personal information online.

Decide On Your Own Boundaries for Social Media

Just because everyone and their brother are jumping on the SnapChat bandwagon, doesn't mean you have to. Believe it or not, parenting existed before social media (can you imagine?), so you shouldn't feel pressured to join every single social media platform known to mankind simply because it exists. Use platforms that feel fun and/or useful to you and don't worry about what everyone else is doing.

You should also keep in mind how you will primarily be using social media too. Depending on what your purpose is, there may be other alternatives available to you besides the typical platforms. For example, if you primarily want to use social media to share pictures with family or to log your baby's memories and milestones for yourself, there may be a better, more private app for those uses.

Don't Get Swept Up in Comparison

It can be really hard not to get swept up in the comparison game on social media. There will always be another mother who looks better in a swimsuit sooner after giving birth or appears to have a more fun-filled life or the perfect dinner party every single night. It's important to remember that social media is never real life and comparing your reality to someone else's edited, filtered, and posed best shot is not healthy or helpful.

When in Doubt, Delete

Have you ever found yourself consistently depressed or in a bad mood after looking at certain images or people's feeds? Here's a revolutionary idea--you don't have to look at them! It seems like such a simple thing, but many of us follow friends or pages without thinking twice about the real effect that being bombarded with these stories or images can have on us.

The bottom line is that if a certain feed, follower, or person consistently makes you feel worse about yourself, it's as simple as clicking one button to delete or hide them. Life is too short to let social media bring you down. Keep social media a fun break in your day as a parent, instead of letting your life be controlled by the online world.

Continue Reading