Justice

Moms Letter Exposes Truth About Parenting Posts on Social Media

June 20th 2016

By:
Taylor Bell

When it comes to parenting, looks can can be quite deceiving, especially online.

In a brutally honest Facebook post last week, Australian mother Storm-Manea Ellyatt exposes social media's tendency to romanticize parenthood while failing to address the frustration and unique challenges that parents often face.

In an emailed statement, Ellyat told ATTN: that she was inspired to write the Facebook post after she suffered an emotional "meltdown" following days of stress in taking care of her son.

In the beginning of the post, Ellyatt calls out the lack of transparency about parenting from advertisers, social media users and society in general:

"It feels like a sick joke you never quite understood until this moment All those cute bonds ads, miniature Nike shoes, adorable baby shower gifts, baby spam on instagram, squad dates with your mum posse and those god damn laceylaners lied to me. Not once did I see an ad with a mum locked in her cupboard crying in her leaked stained pjs from 3 days ago, covered in sweat and vomit, praying to every god imaginable for the strength and patience to go back to the shitshow that is now their life. The once calm, poised, patient goddess, who could sling [sic] cocktials, swear with sailors and dance uninhibited until tomorrow afternoon, can bearly hold a conversation, hold her eyes open or the tears back from this new found “bliss.” — Storm-Manea Ellyatt

Ellyat goes on to elaborate of the "irony" in parenting, calling attention to the fact that parents often are condemned if they dare to express any frustration about raising a child. Because of the social pressure to highlight your accomplishments as mother or father, Ellyatt says it is hard for parents to express their failures.

"And the irony, oh the irony that everyone hates it at one point or another but you have to remember that hating it out loud is a kick in the face to everyone that would give everything for a moment of “hating it." So you post the photo, you cliché the fuck out of your status because your hashtag loving it hashtag mumlife hashtag soblessed and when people ask you, you say with all the vigour of 2 hrs sleep 'its honestly the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me,' and when there’s no cameras, no people and no [sic] judgement you let out the loudest FUUUCKKK YOOOOUUUU known to man, although it’s under your breathe, or screamed into a pillow, or yelled from the [sic] foetal position of your cupboard because your little ones finally asleep. So we somehow pick our shattered self off the floor, trying to piece together a resemblance of a person and do it all again."

In the end, Ellyatt applauds parents for having the guts to get up and carry on.

"Cheers all you amazing parents that dust yourselves off and do it again, with the smile of a thousand curse words, shattered souls and hopefully a strong coffee or wine in hand. Your my people x o x."

Ellyatt isn't alone; most moms and dads find parenting really stressful.

The stress of raising children is something that many parents face. According to a Pew Research Center, "fifty-six percent of all working parents say the balancing act is difficult, and those who do are more likely to say that parenting is tiring and stressful, and less likely to find it always enjoyable and rewarding," the New York Times reported.

The Pew study provides some details about why so many working parents find it stressful; they never have time to slow down and relax. "In fact, four-in-ten full-time working moms say they always feel rushed, even to do the things they have to do," the Pew study reports. 

Although this may not be the image that parents convey on social media, Ellyatt told ATTN: the need for "realistic depictions" of parenting is important.

"I think social media is a curation of our life, which is totally fine," Ellyatt told ATTN:. "We pick and choose what we want to share and how we are publicly perceived. There doesn't seem to be anyone on social media portraying the WHOLE experience and at times when you feel like you're struggling, it can be crushing to see everyone else loving every second of it. Everyone knows baby spam, a cute photo of your child, a doting parent, but in the throes of a bad day you can see that and think you're such a failure. We don't need more reasons to feel guilty. I just want to see more realistic depictions so I know at my worst someone understands and at my best someone does too."

Editor's note: The story has been updated to include Ellyatt's comments.