You know what's even worse than a baby that won't sleep, won't stop crying, and poops all over that onesie you once thought was cute? Images of "perfect" families that make you feel like the only person in the world struggling with your new baby, when in fact the opposite is true.
Six out of 10 parents felt like they were failing during their baby's first year, according to a global study of 13,064 adults commissioned by baby wipes company WaterWipes. Sleepless nights, feeling exhausted, and struggles feeding the baby were major contributors to parents feeling like they "aren't good enough," a press release noted.
Yep. That alone will do it. But another contributing factor to feeling like a big ol' parenting fail are the "unrealistic, picture-perfect" images of families and parents portrayed in TV, movies, ads, and social media, according to the poll.
"At times, parents are left feeling like they are failing, especially when they are surrounded by false images of perfect parenting," Cathy Kidd, global VP of marketing at WaterWipes, said in the release.
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Additionally, 42 per cent of parents around the world said they felt pressure to be "perfect" after spending time on social media, and 40 per cent felt they couldn't be honest about their parenting struggles because they were afraid of being judged.
Nearly half said they put on a brave face instead of being honest about how hard it is.
Social media use is linked to depressive symptoms
It can be easy to feel like everyone but you has their act together, Canadian parenting expert Ann Douglas previously told HuffPost Canada.
"But of course, people who really invest in their image online are only putting out their most perfect moments. So in your news feed, you're seeing something like 200 people's most fabulous minute, as seen through their own narrow lens," Douglas said.
About 83 per cent of internet-using parents use social media, largely Facebook and Pinterest according to the Pew Research Center. Two recent studies found that people feel depressed after spending a lot of time on Facebook "because they feel badly when comparing themselves to others."
Perspective can get cloudy when parents are constantly inundated with Instagram photos of serene family picnics in sunflower fields, and media pics of a very pregnant Meghan Markle strutting her stuff in four-inch stilettos.
And last year, when the Duchess of Cambridge emerged from Lindo Wing mere hours after giving birth to Prince Louis, she looked like a radiant goddess not even of this Earth. (Romper even called the duchess a "trigger," noting that she "seems together 100 per cent of the time.") For new moms who may not have brought their babies home while sporting a designer outfit and a fresh blowout (more like sweatpants and adult diapers, right?), images like these can send you into a tailspin.
Douglas previously recommended parents remember they're only seeing a small snapshot of these people's lives, have some self-compassion, and put down your phone. But if you're looking for some more honest parenting accounts to follow, we recommend Chrissy Teigen, Amy Schumer, and our slightly-too-real parenting series, "Life After Birth."
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