We are in, what feels like, the height of the information age. There is an endless wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. As a parent, it’s been helpful in many ways to have so many ideas and philosophies, tips and techniques backed by lengthy research to fix just about any issue. But at what point is it too much? When does it become more of a scourge than a tool?
I recently had a conversation with a friend where I confessed the great shame I had in my parenting.
My kids constantly annoyed me and even though I “knew” better, I wasn’t doing better. I frequently lost my temper. I hid in the bathroom to collect myself. When my husband got home from work, I felt like a shell of a person and felt irritated and frustrated over any small request. After all, I spent most of my day separating two screaming, young children and trying to complete housework with hopes that no one would severely hurt themselves.
To my friend, I grumped about the social media accounts made it seem… seamless. If only I could take the action steps, my kid would listen. If only I took a cooler tone, they wouldn’t spiral into a tantrum. If I treated them respectfully, they would have resiliency and confidence. Please hear me say that I agree with so many of these sentiments but I feel heaps of shame when I can’t fulfill them. The shame brings more irritation and frustration and low mood, and I see that my own residency is wrecked, in part, because I have allowed too many voices into my head at once.
At the end of the day, I think it is important that, though well-intentioned, most parenting accounts online are reaping a financial benefit and are working in a positive light. There isn’t much I can do to change this, but being over-informed has definitely become something I have needed to monitor. I’ve also needed to cultivate my own intuition, as well as invest in my community of mom friends who are reliably real with me about their own parenting struggles. Getting too much online input and relying too heavily on an Instagram post can ring feelings of overwhelm when we inevitably fail.
My benediction to you is this: Being a parent is hard. Giving respect when being disrespected is hard. Just because someone is parenting in a good way doesn’t mean it’s the best way for you. Reap the benefits of accessible information but don’t allow it to overwhelm. Trust your gut. Give yourself grace. Every day is a new chance.