Parenthood is a journey filled with countless joys, triumphs, and profound love. Yet, amidst the beauty of raising a child, there exists a less glamorous side—one that is often hidden behind the carefully curated facade of social media. In today’s digital age, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok offer glimpses into the lives of other parents, portraying an idealized version of parenthood that can leave many feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges that social media presents for new parents and discuss strategies for embracing imperfection and finding contentment in the messy, authentic moments of parenthood.

Social media has become a breeding ground for comparison, particularly for new parents navigating the uncharted waters of parenthood. Scrolling through feeds filled with picture-perfect moments of smiling babies, immaculate homes, and seemingly effortless parenting can create unrealistic expectations and feelings of inadequacy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing oneself to others online, leading to feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. I’ve had a lot of clients when sharing their thoughts, mention how they are worried that their child isn’t doing this or that because they see children online their child’s age doing whatever it is the parent is worried about. There will always be children who are better sleepers, children who can crawl quicker than others, eat better, etc. and children who might not follow that same path. I think parents sometimes might forget that their child is a unique human who possesses skills and develops in their own time (generally speaking). 

In the age of filters and Facetune, the pressure to present a polished image of parenthood can feel overwhelming. Parents may feel compelled to live up to the standards of influencers and celebrities, striving for perfection in every aspect of their lives. From picture-perfect nursery decor to meticulously planned family outings, the pressure to conform to parasocial/ societal expectations can take a toll on mental health and well-being. In saying that, some content creators are sharing the not-so-put-together side of their lives (which I think is awesome) but this very much depends on the social platform you’re looking at and what your algorithm is like. 

Beneath the glossy facade of social media lies the messy, imperfect reality of parenthood. Sleepless nights, tantrums, and diaper blowouts are all par for the course when it comes to raising a child. These raw, authentic moments are often overshadowed by the carefully curated images that flood our feeds. Parents need to recognize that imperfection is not only normal but also beautiful—it’s what makes parenthood so uniquely rewarding. This is dependent on values and where your priorities lie but I don’t think a child is going to want perfection. Perfection usually isn’t fun and it’s a state of being where learning and experiencing new things can be limiting. 

How can parents cope with the challenges of social media and the relentless pressure to compare themselves to others? Here are some strategies for navigating the comparison trap and embracing imperfection:

  • Limit Your Screen Time: Set boundaries around your social media use and prioritize real-life connections with your child and loved ones.
  • Curate Your Feed: Unfollow accounts that trigger feelings of inadequacy and instead follow accounts that promote authenticity and celebrate the messy, imperfect moments of parenthood.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and recognize that no parent has everything figured out. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and embrace the journey of learning and growth.
  • Focus on What Matters Most: Shift your focus away from external validation and instead prioritize what brings you joy and fulfillment as a parent. Whether it’s cuddling with your baby, sharing laughs, or simply being present in the moment, cherish the small moments that make parenthood meaningful.
  • Seek Support: Connect with other parents who understand the challenges of parenthood and can offer empathy, encouragement, and solidarity. Whether it’s joining a parent support group or reaching out to friends and family, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

At the end of the day, parenthood is messy, chaotic, and wonderfully imperfect. It’s okay to have bad days, to make mistakes, and to question whether you’re doing it right. What matters most is the love you pour into your child and the memories you create together along the way. So let go of the pressure to be perfect and instead embrace the beautifully imperfect journey of parenthood—one messy moment at a time.

Social media has revolutionized how we connect and share our lives with others, but it’s also created a breeding ground for comparison and self-doubt. For new parents, navigating the pressures of parenthood in the age of social media can feel like an uphill battle. However, by recognizing the illusion of perfection, practising self-compassion, and prioritizing authenticity, it’s possible to find contentment in the messy, imperfect moments of parenthood. Embracing imperfection is not only liberating—it’s the key to finding joy and fulfillment in the beautiful chaos of raising a child. So put down your phone, cuddle up with your little one, and savour the precious moments that make parenthood truly magical.

Meg McPherson
Discover Birth Postpartum Doula

With advanced culinary training, Meg loves visiting farmers markets and spending time with loved ones, and her passion for supporting families inspired her to become a doula.