Former Home and Away star Tammin Sursok opens up on parenting on social media

The actor talks on mum life in the media.
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In the age of social media, sharing life’s greatest milestones and celebrations has become easier than ever. From heartwarming family moments to unforgettable achievements, every detail of our lives can now be shared with the world in an instant.

For parents, raising their children in the era of Instagram brings its own set of unique challenges, with some new mums and dads struggling to find a balance between sharing their baby joy with family and friends while also savouring the precious moments in real time.

Former Home and Away star and mum of two Tammin Sursok has experienced the many benefits and challenges of parenting in the digital age, with Sursok’s candid insights into motherhood helping her cultivate a community of over 1.3 million Instagram followers.

Now to Love sat down with Sursok to find out her tips for parenting on social media and nurturing creativity in her children.

Tammin and her eldest daughter Phoenix.

(Image: Supplied)

As someone with a large social media following, do you feel any pressure to present family life on social media in a particular light and how do you navigate that?

For me, in the beginning, I don’t think social media was as all-encompassing and it didn’t feel like it was infiltrating your life as much as it does now. I feel like there are a lot of things that you also have to look out for when it comes to your kids being on social media. At the beginning of social media, it felt like being on Facebook and just about sharing with your family and friends. Now it’s so much more than that. It’s so wonderful in so many ways. When I look at social media, I look at it in the way of how can I be of service to the people that follow me, how can I be honest, and how can I talk about what I’m going through and what my family is going through. The more followers I get, the more I understand it’s not my place or my job to talk about what my kids are going through or what my husband is going through because that’s their journey and their space.

Sursok shares regular updates on her life as mum to daughters Phoenix and Lennon.

(Image: Instagram)

On sharing that authenticity, you share a lot of Instagram reels about life as a mum. Why do you feel that it is important to candidly share the ups and downs of motherhood with your audience?

I think it’s because I suffer from comparison and I suffer, at times, not feeling worthy or good enough. I’ve got a lot of social media friends now and you’re in their world and they’re in your world and I realised that a lot of the images and the videos that are being portrayed, even in their lives, look wonderful and perfect [are not.] I’ll reach out and say, ‘Wow, you’re on a vacation!’ and they will respond, ‘Oh my gosh the kids were crying.’ It’s not that I would have felt better if I saw that, but I know that I would feel less alone. Half of the time I have it together and half of the time I’m a mess and I think that’s life. It’s not healthy to always put the perfect idealised life out there because I think it hurts people more than it helps them.

For new parents who may be trying to cultivate their own online community, what advice would you give them if they struggling to find the right balance between how much to share/not share?

I’ve been listening to this podcast, and they had a guest who was a writer for The New York Times and they said that when your life feels smaller in real life than your internet life, then you are sharing too much. If you feel like you can’t just be in your world and you can’t have days that you’re just with your kids because you’re documenting everything and you’re putting it online, then it’s too much. I think, ultimately, it can be detrimental. I have so many friends in this business and they’re content creators or influencers and they’re not that happy. You get rewarded on social media for posting more, you don’t get rewarded for living your life. I don’t think the shoe fits one person and I don’t think my advice would work for everyone, but when it stops feeling good and if you’re doing it for the intention of ‘I want to post my kids to get more likes,’ you have to sit with that and think why do I need that?

“We always try to go back to that sense of play.”

(Image: Supplied)

Creativity has played a big part in your career and everyday life. As a mum, how important is it to create an environment where your kids can be creative?

I think it’s about finding creative outlets outside your work [that are] just for fun. I would say do something that brings you joy within the creative space that doesn’t have anything to do with selling or making a business out of it. It feels like we’ve lost that sense of play and enjoyment and you don’t have to monetise it. My kids don’t even know what it is like to not be creative. They’re constantly in our world so they’re always being creative in some way so it’s not like we have to lead them to that. When they’re bored or stressed, we always try to go back to that sense of play.

You’ve partnered with Amazon for the Ultimate Yes Day Bedroom Makeover. How important is it for kids to have a space that is uniquely theirs?

I think it’s so important. I didn’t realise that there were some controlling aspects about me in my life, because of how I was a child actor and how I had to control my world. As my kids get older, they do get to choose what they want, as long as it’s not like walking into the snow in shorts, but they do get to choose what they want. I don’t want to take [away] who they are as people and their creativity, and them designing their own space is super important. It takes time to realise that they’re not an extension of you and they are their own people, and they should have their own agency. I think kids get so frustrated because they can’t make any decisions, so it’s important that they get to choose that.

If you won the bedroom makeover as a kid, what is the one thing you’d have at the top of your wish list?

I’d love a slide. My daughter has a bunk bed that has a slide. A rock-climbing wall I think would be really fun. A chalkboard would be cool too.

Want your chance to win a bedroom makeover for your child worth up to $20,000? Enter Amazon’s Ultimate Yes Day Bedroom Makeover here.

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