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Mothers, don't be fooled - social media distorts true life

BUSY: Warwick mum Amanda McCosker with Jackson and Hayleigh says there is never a dull moment with children in the home.
BUSY: Warwick mum Amanda McCosker with Jackson and Hayleigh says there is never a dull moment with children in the home. Samantha Oneil

WITH the rise of social media and the constant bombardment of picture-perfect family images, research has revealed modern mums are their own biggest critic.

The research, commissioned by Barnardos Australia, revealed nearly 60% of mothers admitted to being their own worst critic, and only 6% rated themselves as 10 out of 10.

Warwick mum-of-two Amanda McCosker was not surprised at these findings given the current trends of social media and advertising.

"If you are having a bad day and scroll through Facebook, it's all perfect family pictures and it can make you feel bad. No-one puts up the bad things or that they are having a bad day," she said.

"There have been occasions when I've been say out to a park and saw a mum having a bad day but when you look at Facebook, all they post is the picture-perfect family photos.

"There seems to be this constant portrayal of perfection, like it is some kind of competition or people don't want to admit the reality of it."

Barnardos Australia marketing director Manisha Amin said the findings suggested that Australian mums need to recognise the positive impact they have rather than being so hard on themselves.

"The majority of mums believe there is room for improvement. It's sad that in our society we undervalue how exceptional mums are," she said.

Social demographer Bernard Salt said there was an increase in mothers tending to be self-critical.

"There is also much more expectation from society these days with regard to parenting generally and mothering especially," he said.

"Expectations are elevated: in advertisements mothers appear glamorous, their kids are well behaved, things are always going smoothly - we don't see the other side of parenting, not many people are loading a photo of a kid throwing a tantrum over breakfast or of themselves looking frazzled and struggling to keep up. For the most part, we only see the best of other people's lives."

Mrs McCosker said like many mums, she was selective about who she spoke to about the reality of parenting and tended to be self-critical.

"It's difficult because before you have kids, no-one can tell you what it will be like. There is no manual and every child is different. Then you can get bombarded because everyone has a different opinion, especially when you are a new mum trying to find your feet," she said.

"I am my own biggest critic.

"At the end of the day, you question whether you have been a good parent but ultimately you did the best you could at the time."

Topics:  editors picks, social media, warwick



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