Social Media a New Stress for Moms Seeking Perfection

By Mary Pflum

May 20, 2013 10:17am

Jennifer Bathgate, a mother of three boys, is called “Cake-zilla” by her husband.

Bathgate’s elaborate, over-the-top cakes for her sons’ birthdays and celebrations have featured everything from Elmo to Cookie Monster to a soccer ball to a subway train to a “Star Wars” cake featuring Darth Vader.

While not every mom can create cakes like Bathgate’s, every mom can see photos of them online, along with other moms’ hand-sewn Halloween costumes for their kids or homemade Valentine’s Day treats for all their children’s classmates.

Parents’ ultra-sharing in today’s social media world, on sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, just to name a few, is creating another opportunity and, some say, a new struggle for parents, especially moms.

“Definitely, there’s that mom competition,” Leslie Venokur, co-founder of Big City Moms, a support group for new mothers, told ABC News of the handiwork being displayed on mommy blogs and Pinterest boards.

“There’s that, ‘I saw this cake on Pinterest.  I’m going to make it,’” Venokur said.  “And then at the next birthday party, ‘I saw this one.  I’m going to one-up you.’”

The online deluge of photographs and descriptions of such “perfect” moments can be inspiring for some moms, but intimidating for others.

“It can make some women feel like they’re not enough,” one New York City mom said.

“A lot of people do put a lot of pressure on themselves to be this new mom who is kind of a superhero,” another said.

Jenna Andersen, a mother of two in California, grew so frustrated by not being able to recreate the perfect-looking posts she saw on Pinterest that she launched Pinterest Fail, a website where people can post photos of how their do-it-yourself attempts actually turned out.

The website has the tagline, “Where good intentions come to die.”

“We need these areas where we can gather together and say, ‘My life isn’t perfect and neither is yours and I’m perfectly happy with that,’” said Andersen, who also writes the blog “That Wife.”

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