It’s a big old world out there on the WWW, and when you become a new parent, your online social habits may change a bit. Social media has so many great ways for us to connect and learn, but it also has its downsides. With the increasing number of parents using social media, it can definitely become a bit overwhelming when you’re trying to juggle the challenges of fresh parenthood while seeing images of ‘Pinterest perfect’ mums and dads. Luckily, there are some ways to use social media as a new parent that won’t send you running for the Wi-Fi-less hills!
Check your privacy settings
How would you feel if someone was peeking in your windows to see what you’re wearing, what you’re having for breakfast or how baby’s just started clapping? It definitely wouldn’t be cool, and anyone would be a bit freaked out. But what about everything you post online that’s there for the world to see?
Of course, social posts are tailored to show what you want the world to see, and if you choose to have public profiles then it’s fine – you’re in control. But many people don’t update their privacy settings, or they’ve had their accounts for so long that it’s not even something they’ve thought about. So, when you’re going to be posting photos of your baby and you want a bit of extra privacy, you can set your profiles to private, or look into personalising your privacy to decide exactly what people see and don’t see.
Photo by Minty on rawpixel
Don’t believe everything you see
This goes for everyone, not just new parents. We all know that social media posts are crafted, posed and edited, but it’s so difficult to convince ourselves of it.
Imagine you’re working your way through a mountain of washing and toys, with sore nipples, aching feet and pureed pear in your hair, when you decide to have a two-minute sit down. You scroll through your phone to see ‘Pinterest Perfect’ parents in glistening kitchens, babies dressed in pristine pastels, showing off their impeccably laid out post-yoga acai bowl… of course, you want to scream.
But before you do, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re only seeing what’s on the screen. Nobody’s perfect. People work very hard to create stunning Instagram profiles – whether it’s a job or just for fun, it’s not a standard that you have to meet. You’re doing a great job, however many cornflakes are crushed into the rug right now!
Leading on from tip number two, one way to empower yourself while helping others in the same position is to join the honest club. Membership is free, anyone can join and it can be super rewarding. Sharing ‘behind the scenes’ photos of what life’s really like as a new parent can be both beautiful and humorous. There are now so many parents using social media in this 'real' way, and if this is something that you’re into, you could also follow some accounts like @womenirl, @mommysinsidevoice or @4thtribodies – these are just a handful, there are loads out there to inspire and, basically, they may help you feel better about your reality.
Photo by Stacy Guthrie on Reshot
Get IRL crafty
The internet is boundless when it comes to tips, tricks and advice. One thing that you might not be super familiar with (as in you haven’t done this stuff since you were a kid) is DIY, baking, craft projects, etc. You can mix online socialising and crafting in one place on Pinterest! There are so many tips, hacks and cool ideas for new parents, and you might even find a fun new hobby on the way! While you’re there, don’t forget to follow Bluebell!
Let baby virtually meet friends and family
Having a friendship circle spaced out over the globe is becoming more and more normal these days. Whether they’re in places you’ve moved away from, friends you’ve made while travelling, or they’re one of the five million Brits who have upped sticks and now live abroad, many of us have friends and family overseas. Social media is a great way of keeping in touch and introducing them to baby from the comfort of your own sofa – how lovely! If you’re worried about posting too many photos for them to see and ‘over-sharenting’, there are so many options for video chats that can be set up in minutes for baby to meet your friends in far off places.
Photo by Authentic Images on PikWizard
Be mindful of friends who are trying
Welcoming a baby into the world is one of the most incredible things, and your friends are sure to be over the moon for you, but it always helps to be mindful of others. Only 5% of couples get pregnant on the first try and around 20% try for over a year. There are also many couples experiencing infertility and IVF journeys (which can be both wonderful and heart breaking). Of course, you can post what you want on your social media (within reason), but by putting yourself in the shoes of friends or family who are trying to conceive, you may think twice about updating every three minutes with what baby’s doing!
Photo by Charles ?? on Unsplash
Don’t feel guilty for unfollowing
The following and unfollowing game, especially on Instagram, can be a minefield. But let’s put it simply: if someone you follow is giving you feelings of guilt or having an effect on your self-esteem, there’s nothing wrong with unfollowing. Comparing ourselves to others on social media is normal – we all do it – but that doesn’t mean we have to continue doing it.
22% of parents say that happy family photos make them feel inadequate, and 23% say they make them feel depressed. That’s almost a quarter of us who would be so much better off with a little unfollowing spree. It’s time to stop comparing yourself to others and get on with #livingyourbestlife!
Be an inspiration
As they grow, they might claim that Elsa and Spider-Man are their biggest heroes, but it’s probably actually you! We are our children’s biggest inspirations – from imitating our facial expressions at just a few months old, to their academic and career choices, we have a huge effect on the paths our kids follow. Many kids will look at their parents using social media and smart devices and follow suit.
So, something to think about when you’re using your phone/tablet/computer is how the kids might see you. If you’re sitting for hours on end, staring at a screen, that’s a habit they can pick up at a young age. This report found that the average parent spends more than nine hours a day staring at a screen! Of course, screen time can be used for positive things such as bonding and learning, but too much of it can have negative outcomes for children, as it means less time spent learning, exercising and developing.
Just think of the phrase ‘your child will follow your example, not your advice’ when looking at how much you use screens in front of them.
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash
Learn, laugh and connect
Once you’ve made your way past the land of lost followers, crawled up hashtag hill and stumbled through a tweetstorm or two, there are so many positive things that can come out of social media. From tips and advice, to lifelong friendships and even careers! Social media is here to stay, so why not make it work for you? Post when you want to, delete and unfollow as you wish, try to avoid those bad habits creeping in, take a break every once in a while and remember that your social accounts aren’t the be all and end all. You do you!
If you feel you’re spending a bit too much time on social media, you could always schedule some special social media time in. One of the many features of the Bluebell Smart baby monitor is routine tracking, and you can use it to plan and track routine activities for both you and baby. Sorted.
Let us know if you’ve got any more helpful tips on navigating the world of social media as a new parent! Happy hashtagging!