Hand ups if you have ever felt a small pang of jealousy when viewing a friend/stranger/celebrities Instagram page? Hands up if you have had a touch of FOMO when seeing images of people on night’s out.

Me and Me! I fall under both these categories and scarily its creeping in more and more. I know that social media doesn’t represent real life – people only show what they want you to see – so why do I let these feelings get the better of me?

It is definitely worse when I’m having an off day (or even week). How many times have you taken a ‘selfie’ to sit and scrutinise it over and over again. I filter every photo I put on – I need something strong to hide the mum-bags and despite having a baby that *touch wood* sleeps through the majority of the time, I still can’t shake them. Subsequently you post it and then you see a picture of a celebrity who has just had a baby looking absolutely flawless. FYI – 9 times out of 10 these are photoshopped to high heaven – and if they aren’t it’s probably down to the endless amounts of money they have to pay for personal trainers, hair stylists, make-up artists, plastic surgeons etc. Every woman has a different experience with pregnancy, if you don’t look like the latest celeb snapped on the beach 4 week’s post-partum, don’t despair – that is their job after-all (n.b paparazzi shots are also airbrushed, they invite the ‘photographers’ on holiday with them and in exchange for some flattering touch-ups they get the exclusive shots).

One of my biggest issues isn’t my appearance but that of my house. We are in the very slow position of trying to save to buy our first home together but until then we are stuck in the rut of renting. Now, don’t get me wrong I am lucky enough to have a great landlord and be situated in a nice area of town – for the time being it is perfect for what we need and a nice family home. But it isn’t ours. There is so much work I’d love to do to it to make it more of my taste but I would essentially be throwing money away. So, I sit on Instagram and see pictures of wonderful homes with the hashtag ‘hygge’ and brilliantly white interiors and I start to feel under-accomplished and disappointed with myself for not having this. But why?

Sometimes you just can’t help compare yourself to other people yet you don’t always know the details of people’s lives and what is behind the picture. We need to learn to turn these feelings of jealously around and channel it into something more productive. Let it show me what can be achieved if I work hard.

Social media can be detrimental to people’s health – studies have shown a correlation to depression levels and that of social media usage and I definitely believe that it helps to magnify our insecurities. However, it can also be a wonderful tool – if used correctly and taken with a pinch of salt.

Many times, I have debated deleting all aspects of social media, yet I can’t. I do enjoy it, I like watching my friend’s children grow up through images, I love seeing happy couples on their wedding day and I like seeing the newest make-up and fashion trends from bloggers.

Occasionally feelings of inadequacy can’t be helped (especially when being a mum – hello mum guilt!), we just need to let it stop controlling our lives and letting it impact us in such a negative way.

Part of the appeal of social media is the ability to be to shape your images to make a different perspective of your life. Maybe we are all guilty of this, maybe everything is uploaded and viewed through rose-tinted glasses.

The thing is, I don’t want to constantly see perfectly groomed children and immaculate houses on my new feed, especially when I am having a bit of a bad day. I want the gritty and this is why I have so much love for various mummy bloggers right now (high 5 CheltenhamMaman), it is fantastic that they are showing us the downside to motherhood as-well as the upside (don’t get me wrong I enjoy seeing the beautiful side just not all the time). They have shared a taste of real life – the illnesses, food stained toddlers and the toy jungles. Thank you for showing me (and others) that we aren’t alone.

A Guest Blog from Carley Jones

About Carley

Carley lives in Cheltenham with her husband Nick, daughter Mya and her cat Max. By day she works in Property Management (part-time) and by evening she freelances as Editor of The Cheltonian magazine. She is currently trying to juggle work-life and motherhood but loves the balance it brings.
Follow Carley on Instagram and Twitter.

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