We have all experienced parental judgement at some point in our lives as mums - whether its online comments or disapproving looks from strangers - and a major contributing factor of this has been the popularity of social media.
Facebook groups and mum chat blogs allow us to seek online help or community from other mothers, but it can also lead to increased pressures regarding parenthood.
According to a recent survey by Credit Karma, one-quarter of parents said seeing other parents doing something on social media makes them more likely to spend money on the same activity.
Not only our mums and dads trying to keep up with the latest online trends, but we push for the same for our children. For instance, let’s look at the recent slime trend. Kids could not stop watching colourful ,sticky slime videos and were relentless in asking their parents to have their own toy.
Last year, the number one googled query was ‘how to make slime’. Parents were flocking to stores to either buy the ingredients for the toy or buy tubs of the slime itself to keep their children happy.
But are we putting too much pressure on ourselves to keep up the trends?
The survey also found that more than half of parents have gone into debt to buy nonessential items or experiences for their children.
52% said they overspend because they want their children to have a better life than they did, and 40% of parents saw their excessive spending as an investment in their child’s future.
The top non-essential items parents spent money on, in order of most to least frequently, were designer clothes, concerts/musicals/theatres, organic food, study abroad, private school, summer camps, cosmetic care, a personal laptop, pets, and a cellphone.
The influence of social media is apparent in these compulsory buys as the trends of designer children’s clothes, Disney musicals and movies, healthy organic foods, and learning via technology have taken hold of the young generation.
This has also had a huge effect on co-parenting and partnerships.
Most parents don’t tell their children or other parents about overspending on their children, and almost a third don’t tell their partner when they go into debt to buy something for their children, causing a strain on their relationships.
This hidden debt and overwhelming pressure was mostly due to judgement from other parents.
27% of parents say they’ve spent excessively because they were either afraid of being judged by friends or other parents (11%) or because they didn’t want their kids judged by their peers (16%).
These startling statistics show the wide effect parental judgement stemming from online trends has had on the mum community. Minding children isn’t exactly a cheap lifestyle, but there are some small daily choices you can make to save those pennies.
For tips on how to save this back-to-school season, look here.