The Dark Side of Social Media for Special Needs Parents part 2

Playing the social media comparison game? I've been there and I've seen the other side. Come take a peek and see what I suggest. Special Needs Parent Last week I wrote to you sharing about the Dark side of social media for special needs moms.

Last week I talked about how the silence of social media can be devastating. This week, let’s talk comparison game. I know it’s a problem, because I’ve been there too! How many hours are you wasting scrolling through feeds wondering how it must feel to have average kids and an average life? What would it be like to be able to go anywhere, anytime, and not have to worry about special needs or meltdowns? What would it be like to have a relationship without the extra strain? I’ve let these toxic thoughts take over in the past.  I’ve seen the other side and want to share it with you.

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I’m sure by this point you’ve heard the saying that goes something like this, “Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel.” It may be somewhat cliché by now; but that’s simply because it’s a resonant truth! I’ve seen so many people whose reality and highlight reel don’t match up. Heck, that was even happening in my own house about nine years ago.

It’s hard sometimes to see people complain about their developmentally typical children on social media.

You can get caught up in a comparison trap. It’s so easy to slip into: I wish my child had that problem… I have 100% done that myself. 🙁 When my son was still nonverbal, I would read other autism parents saying that their children were driving them nuts with relentless talking. It honestly made me so unbelievably angry, because I wished I had that problem!

…Until I had that problem. The thing is we all have some kind of problem. Until we’ve gone through it ourselves, we just don’t know what it’s like for others. In my case, both of these problems are in fact hard; they are just different types of hard.  That doesn’t mean that either one is easy though. This is definitely something worth remembering when comparing ourselves with other people on the Internet. You have no idea what’s going to happen in the future or what may be happening behind closed doors. I’ve had family and friends lose their typical children to cancer. Personally, I hands-down would take my son’s autism any day. We have to remember that comparison is the thief of joy!

Playing the social media comparison game? I've been there and I've seen the other side. Come take a peek and see what I suggest. Special Needs Parent
If social media comparisons are getting you down, try a detox for a while! I went two years without Facebook and it was incredible.

Wondering what could have been

It is frustrating to wonder what it would be like to never have not meltdowns and therapy galore to deal with. It’s senseless, however, to wonder about the what-it.  Please don’t let it steal your joy!  I’ve been there and wasted so much mental energy on what-ifs.  Focus on what could be.  Have you ever had that bonding moment with your child when the meltdown passes, and they are feeling so safe in your arms? You know, where you can see the love and trust in their eyes? These are special moments that only we’ll ever know.

As for relationships

I’ve had my own struggles there too. My husband and I went through a rough patch and had a pretty long separation. I honestly had no hope of it working out. But through time and God working on us, our marriage was restored. Praise Him, because I can’t imagine not having what we now have. Here’s where it relates, when I left, I just up and left. We had problems for a long time but no one knew. We had a Facebook perfect life. People that lived life with us were stunned and wondering, “What in the world happened?!”  See what I mean when I say, “I’ve been there!”  I truly promise you that I have.

Don’t compare your relationships.  It’s an empty comparison and not likely to help you repair yours.  Want to know how much comparisons helped my marriage? A hefty 0%.

If you’re human you may be envious of your friend’s seemingly perfect marriage, perceived lack of money woes, or fit figure.  Has this ever been you? “If we didn’t have all this added stress, we wouldn’t fight so much. Maybe if our son didn’t have Autism, he wouldn’t have disconnected from us.  If I could just slept like a human being I’d be able to stay healthy.” Completely valid feelings.  Don’t compare your relationships.  It’s an empty comparison and not likely to help you repair yours.  Want to know how much comparisons helped my marriage? A hefty 0%.

Finding Godly Contentment

So what can you do?

  • I think we can work on our contentment. Let’s pray and ask God to work on our hearts.  Ask Him to show us how to be content in the life we have.
  • If praying isn’t your thing (or even if it is), starting a gratitude journal may be immensely helpful! I’ve started them a few times and had trouble sticking with them, but I really have enjoyed the experience. If you can stick with it, I think that’s an awesome place to start.
  • For me, prayer and Bible study are the most effective ways for me to keep perspective on my life.

I hope that these reminders and alternatives are helpful for you, if you ever need someone to talk to I’m here.  Subscribe in the upper right hand corner to make sure you never miss any encouragement!

-Jill

Your Turn: Have you ever overcome these thoughts yourself? Please share your additional tips in the comments!

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Author: Jill C

Jill is a Christian, homeschooler, “boy mom”, and special needs parent. Jill, herself, has ADHD and has learned firsthand how adapting environments can be key to finding success! Her current mission is to empower parents whose desire is to homeschool their special needs children and helping them squash their self-doubt!

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