How to Be Effective at Instagram Parenting

a family sitting on the floor

by Laura Onstot | Laura Onstot, registered nurse and mom of 2 young kids, rarely pees alone, only frequents restaurants with Kraft Mac N Cheese, and blogs at Nomad’s Land. In her spare time, she can be found sleeping on the couch while she lets her kids watch endless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Her parenting advice is questionable, but at least she’s honest.

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Why buy parenting books when you can create an Instagram account for free? There, you will have access to all the parenting experts in the world. They will offer free advice while graciously sharing information about the products that have changed their lives.  

And in case you are wondering, you are seriously incompetent compared to these pulled-together humans. But if you buy their favorite products, maybe, just maybe, you have a shot at some form of success in your life. Or at least you will have shiny hair, thanks to all the Sugarbear Hair gummies they hawked you. 

I’ve learned a few things from the Instagram parenting accounts, and in case you don’t have 8 hours a day to mindlessly sit on the couch, eating Cheetos, while watching Instagram reels, I will summarize my findings. 

Consider this, the spark notes version of Instagram. 

mother and son spending time together - photo meant to express what instagram parenting is
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Rule 1: Your house should always be tidy, your countertops white, and for the love of all things, hang some wreaths on your windows.

The Instagram moms taught me that my house should always be sparkling clean and I should have wreaths hung on my windows, yet none offered cleaning advice. I was suspicious about the lack of clutter in their pictures until I found Marie Kondo’s Instagram account. I learned to throw away anything that doesn’t spark joy. This put me in the awkward situation of having to explain to my child’s kindergarten teacher why none of her library books are returned. Spot sparks no joy. Even his face is boring. And he cluttered my counters. Therefore, I put all of those books in the trash.

Rule 2: If you want to feel better about being a parent, follow the triplet mom accounts. 

I don’t have triplets, but I follow triplet mom accounts to make myself feel better. At least I only have one baby to put to bed. The reels they make of bedtime routines or wake-up routines on fast forward? I watch those instead of exercising; the exhaustion I feel when I watch their videos is comparable to that one time I ran a marathon. 

Rule 3: If your kid is a picky eater, it’s because you are doing it all wrong. 

Your problem is that you aren’t following the lady who offers sage advice on how to get your kid to eat spinach. After five years of watching her videos and trying to implement her tactics, I am here to report that it is a scam. I want to see the full-length video, with SOUND ON, of her 5-year-old kid eating salmon and spinach. Remove the inspirational music covering the sound of the video of her kid eating kale, because I guarantee, she’s in the background, shouting at her kid, “Eat this piece of kale for my video, and then you can eat as many gummy worms as you want!”

I know her advice isn’t real, but I continue to watch her videos so I can soak in the feeling of guilt as I watch my kids eat fruit snacks, frosted flakes, and Fritos. Sage lady’s children will turn out to be Gwenyth Paltrows of the world. And mine will have diabetes and heart disease at age 4. 

Rule 4: I am ugly. Or maybe I am not using the right filter. 

Who are all these people without double chins? And where do they come from? I’m not looking for a filter that will make me into the hottest woman on the planet. I have one simple request: WHERE IS THE FILTER THAT REMOVES EXCESS CHINS? 

It can’t be that hard to make.

Rule 5: The food I eat is ugly

And maybe that’s why I have double chins. I was pleased with the grilled cheese and Campbell’s tomato soup I made for dinner… until I saw Susan’s four-course meal served on a wooden table. Her parsley sprigs bring all the boys to the yard. And my pile of ketchup that takes up half the plate? It brings all the kids and also counts as a serving of vegetables. 

Susan’s lentils are beautifully plated, captioned, “Comfort Soups for Winter.” The caption on the lentils that I attempted to make following her recipe? “A trip to the port-a-potty during Boston Marathon”

Rule 6: And my house is ugly. Did I say that yet? 

We’ve come full circle, back to the low quality of my house. I don’t have a circular mirror hanging in just the right spot, nor do I have living plants in sunlit corners of rooms. I do have dead and diseased plants throughout the house, proof of my brown thumb. I don’t have a front porch with a swing covered in accent pillows, nor have I jumped on the layered doormat trend. But the sidewalk leading up to the front door is decorated with splotches of bird poop and mulch that has escaped the flower beds. There is not a rustic tray on the end of my bed with a lit candle and a vase of flowers, but there is a wet towel.

The Takeaway

See, I haven’t made it quite yet. But at least I know everything I need to buy and do to my house to make it worthy of the ‘Gram. (That’s what all the cool kids call it these days.) Instagram parenting accounts have taught me that I fail in all aspects of life, while everyone else has a seemingly perfect life. So if you need a large dose of guilt and self-loathing, log into your account and bask in your inferiority.


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