Parent typing on laptop computer
The Tech Savvy Parent title
Brian Housman author
Brave enough to stop clicking text

an overachieving super dad, I have had to acknowledge a reality—I care what others think. You do too. As much as I loathe that part of myself, it is an admission that keeps me grounded and keeps me from falling into a comparison trap. There is a deft daily balancing act that takes place in me between wanting to be the best version of myself and needing to be the best because other parents have obviously got their act together way more than I do.

This crazy struggle between my brain and heart is more acute when I go online. I see pictures and videos of parents doing science experiments that make Bill Nye seem like an amateur, or a dad that got his five kids to all participate in a history presentation of John Adams that looks like something from the Smithsonian. When I read the Facebook group postings, I think, “Wow, eighty-six more ideas and I haven’t done any of these.” My kids may say they like our home experience, but they have no idea how much better others are doing.

As someone who makes a living writing about social media and technology, I’ve had to learn to keep it all in check in my own life as well. I can’t believe the hype that the number of followers or “friends” I have is somehow a reflection on my success. Nor can I believe that I need to be anyone other than who my family needs me to be. I’ve had to give myself permission to be Brian and no one else. It often requires me to not click on another parent’s profile, to not read every idea, or to even unfollow voices that have become toxic. Each year I even take a short social media sabbatical for a couple of weeks so that I can calm my mind and stop the comparisons.

It is easy to fall prey to indirect shaming from other parents. Indirect shaming happens when you encounter the homeschool parent online that proceeds to tell you all of the things others are doing great or that a good parent should do. It’s a roundabout way to say you aren’t making the cut. HomeLife Academy counselor Mona Housman (my wife) said that their counselors and moderators read the message boards of hot topics on their website to make sure the content stays both specific to the topic as well as positive. When asked about this subject she told me, “The supercharged homeschool parent that posts every idea that has worked for their child can be helpful, but it can also become a trap to make you feel like a failure. I would recommend you get online to get what you need, then get off.”

"Each year I take a short social media sabbatical for a couple of weeks so that I can calm my mind and stop the comparisons." text
Parent and child working together

Here are a few social media tips to keep you from feeling stressed the next time you go on.

1. Know who knows you.
Instead of seeking out random advice from strangers, consider finding a small group that knows you, and keep going back to them. This will become your community that will give you legitimate advice. Seek out a parent further along in the homeschool journey, and ask if you can come to them specifically for advice. This will limit the voices from which you draw.
2. Be specific.
If you need some advice or ideas on a subject, keep your time online specific to that topic. Don’t go to a science discussion board to find direction on dissecting starfish. You’ll end up reading hours of stuff not relevant that will make you feel overwhelmed. Instead, search for “dissecting at home.”
3. Be quick.
Limit yourself to how much time you read what others are doing. In the end, go with your gut.
4. Acknowledge the good.

When you come across ideas that are working in the experience of others, acknowledge their success, then move on. Say to yourself, “I’m glad that worked for them, but that’s not my child.” You can give them credit without making it a self-comparison.

“For this year, I know what is in my child’s academic best interest.” Like a rock to stand on, you need to say this to yourself over and over and over. You do not need to be the TikTok mom with daily reading and writing advice or the Instagram dad with funny anecdotes of homeschool fails and 50,000 followers. Be free to be the best version of yourself that you can be for your child. Love yourself (and your child) for where you are in the journey so far.

Brian Housman author

rian Housman has had the privilege of speaking at more than two hundred parenting conferences from coast to coast and internationally. He is the author of Tech Savvy Parenting and Engaging Your Teen’s World. Brian and his wife Mona have been married for twenty-one years and have two teenagers, Bailey and Ashlan. Get daily parenting tips from him on Twitter at @bwhousman.