The morning sun breaks through the gap in your curtains landing on your face, the sound of your neighbour’s frustrated voice bellowing at their kids to get dressed waking you you’re your slumber, you yawn, have a long stretch, wipe the sleep from your eyes then reach for your little technological slab of possibilities, your phone. You scan the many notifications received during the night, catch up on those group chats, emails, Facebook notifications oh! Crap its Becky’s birthday you better send a virtual prezzie and wish her a good day so she knows you are thinking of her.
You scroll down your feed and see that Lizzy from school is on yet another holiday somewhere exotic posing by the pool at sunset with a fruit adorned cocktail #blessed you make an audible sigh and think to yourself how is she doing it? What does she even do for work anyway? you start to feel annoyed You scroll on through the funny memes and gifs, watch part of a video about how to you are the keeper of your own happiness and feel a bit better then there’s a video of the girls who all went out together last night but you weren’t invited, they are laughing dancing about looking glam #squadgoals you roll your eyes scoff think to your why wasn’t I invited? I could do with a night out, you like the post leave a comment “gutted I missed this *sad face*” and decide to check Instagram Steve’s wife is pregnant for the fourth time caption reads “hoping for a boy this time” with the image of him surrounded by his girls painting his nails, putting bows in his hair, make up on his face and his wife holding the scan picture #outnumbered you laugh like the picture, post a laughing face emoji and a say congratulations and continue to scroll through the various posts you see jenny down the road is celebrating her sons first birthday and has filled her lounge with a mountain of presents she has also posted a series of smash the cake professional pictures of her little cherub cutely going in head first to the massive sugary icing covered cake. You tut and continue scrolling through the sea of Insta mums bossing it in their sustainable slogan tees telling you that you too could be living this life, running your own business, still doing the school run, looking glam #mumboss there’s another one wearing that M&S must have dress at an event where she bumped into her friend who was also wearing that dress #twinning and another in their Instagram worthy home with a gorgeous bed full of cushions, with lights wrapped around the posts, that rug that’s everywhere and a shelf full of must have images, luscious green plants (probably fake you can’t even keep a cactus alive) and staged photo of her and her chiselled husband in bed and well-groomed children in matching pjs lying next to each other on top of the bed between them with a caption there’s no better way to start the day than hugs from the ones you love #myworld you look over to the lump of a partner next to you snoring away then back at the image of the perfect family on your phone you lift up the covers and glance at your holey stretched out ripped stained tee you’re wearing to bed and quickly begin to feel like a slob so promptly cover yourself back up.
After 45 minutes of scrolling and comparing yourself to those online you get up and get ready for the day while brushing your teeth in the bathroom you prop your phone up against the tiles behind the tap of the sink so you can catch up on everyone’s Insta-stories Brad and Lucy are at the gym together #couplesgoals your favourite influencer is at a swanky restaurant you make a note of it for your future date night. You notice a few of the Insta mums are sharing the same product and this is why they all have such great skin #gifted you look at your dull dry skin in the mirror dark circles under your eyes and then go back to the last story and swipe up to buy the product that has made all these women look like they are glowing. You carry on getting showered, dressed as quickly as possible because it’s rare that the kids aren’t up yet and this gives you a chance to put some make up on. You go to the kids room only to realise they have been up for a while they have trashed their bedroom playing what looks like war of the world and have actually been downstairs helping themselves to your organic biscuits you bought to be more conscious of your buying habits and where products are sourced. The only issue is they weren’t even eating them because they didn’t like the taste of your poo poo biscuits they crumbled them up and stomped them into the carpet along with the new cruelty free eye shadow palette you treated yourself too. You’re raging as you look at your far from Instagram worthy lounge covered in food, clothes and anything that isn’t nailed down thrown on the floor. You shout up to your partner to wake up and take the kids so that you can deal with the mess and make packed lunches for everyone as you didn’t do it the night before because you were tired and tried to get an early night but ended up scrolling through social media and fulling into a YouTube how to rabbit hole. While your partner wrestles the kids in the bathroom you quickly check your phone again and see your friend who had a baby a month ago in some gorgeous matching lingerie what appears to be a toned body while holding her new baby in the reflection of a bathroom mirror with the caption “I can’t believe my baby is a month old already and I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight aren’t our bodies amazing” #snapback you look down at your little pouch of a belly that just doesn’t seem to shift and know that under the layers of clothing you are wearing black Tesco granny panties and a beige maternity bra that is so stretched out and unsupportive you might as well be wearing carrier bags to hold your boobs. You say out loud “are you frickin’ serious! That’s not a mum bod she only had that baby a month ago how is that fair!” You like the picture and reply to the image.
Does this morning routine sound familiar? Do you reach for your phone before you reach for your partner? It is so easily done and before you know it these mini blows to our self-confidence become a bigger problem. Each time you go back onto social media you are feeding that negative mind-set and the comparatitous gets out of control. You feel that the image of success that someone is showing you is the only way to succeed, or that you are not a good parent because you do have the must have products that have been gifted to all your favourite influencers, or read that book, purchased that dress or not gone to the events that it seems everyone goes to but because you don’t live near the capital it is out of your reach. You feel bad because you only got your one year old one present and didn’t do the photoshoot because it was out of your means to do so. Let me tell you that it is ok, you don’t have to have all these things to be a good parent or feel self-worth. Take a step back and have a look at your feed are you following people that make you feel negatively about yourself? If so unfollow/hide/mute accounts that make you feel this way no matter whom they may be. Try to fill your feed with things that make you feel good, that might inspire you, make you laugh etc.
There are things that I have mentioned here that I am guilty of and that I really don’t have an issue with but what I’m trying to shine a light on is the hyping of the benefits without showing the pitfalls which is important to show a full picture as we have people out here getting themselves into debt to have these must have items and ensure their children are kitted out in the latest sustainable fashion, and they are snapped at the trendy instagramable cafes that are popping up all over the place that people are flocking to even though the food isn’t great but it’s worth it because the image you will get for your page will get lots of likes and you will portray a life that is successful, appear as though you have your shit together and setting trends right?. There are some people out there whose mental health is suffering because they feel they are not enough as their life doesn’t match up to those online. Trying to be a sustainable, cruelty free, charitable, healthy, entertaining, domestic goddess, interior designing, fashionista, jet setting, social butterfly extraordinaire is exhausting if that isn’t what you are into and just doing it to keep up with the gram. In an ideal world every meal would be balanced and full of organic veg and the shampoo and cleaning products would all be natural and nontoxic but unfortunately that lifestyle is an expensive one and not one that we can all live so if you do have to buy the 80p toilet cleaner instead of the £4.79 one that meant to help save the planet because that is your budget then do it and don’t feel bad about it. If you had to feed the kids chips, chicken nuggets and beans for another night because you were too exhausted to cook they healthier option you had planned or that was all that was left to eat do in the knowledge that at least you have fed your child. If we look after ourselves first it helps us to be better in other aspects of our life. I highly recommend taking a digital break to refocus on what it is you are doing and why you are using the different platforms, stop exposing yourself to the images that make you question your self worth. Everyone has things about themselves they don't like but not everyone will showcase that or their failings on social media. I'm constantly following and unfollowing people because sometimes I want to see something inspiring, funny, creative, a bit of escapism or enlightening to make feed my soul with light and condition myself to think in a more positive way as much as possible.
Here are a few Instagram accounts I follow that I'd recommend you follow for a more positive feed. @Livethreesixty