TikTok is teaching me to re-parent myself

TikTok is teaching me many of the life skills that were never instilled in me, and I'm becoming a better parent because of that.

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In case you're not up to speed on the latest social media craze, you should know TikTok isn't just for tech-savvy teens and tweens to show off the latest dance choreography or their impressive editing skills (honestly, how do they do that?) TikTok is genuinely a place for anyone and everyone, no matter your age, background, interests or life phase. The TikTok accounts I follow offer some of the best self-improvement tips I've ever encountered.

As a mom without a mom, TikTok is teaching me many of the life skills that were never instilled in me, and I'm becoming a better parent because of that.


I grew up in a house that, at best, was cluttered. And at worst, well, it was...bad. Really bad. Hoarder-level stuff that severely impacted my mental health and taught me how to feel shame at an early age. My basic needs like food, shelter and clothing were met—but that's it. My mother was abusive in every way you could imagine a parent being abusive, and I haven't had a relationship with her in over 15 years. Being raised in a house of neglect left me emotionally bereft and overwhelmed by many simple, everyday tasks even now as an adult.

Because being organized doesn't come naturally to me but clutter ignites my anxiety exponentially, I've often felt paralyzed by running a household and trying to make sure my own children live in a functional home. Particularly during this pandemic when we're all home. All the time.

Enter: TikTok. Now, I've definitely found myself down many a random rabbit hole on the app (I've been sucked into hours of watching Italian grandmothers cook family meals and silly impressionists belting out "Toxic" in the style of Bernadette Peters; basically my algorithm knows me as well as my oldest friends). But it's the simple household life skills videos that resonate with me most. And I'm so thankful these videos and their creators exist.

"Allisoniscleanin," one of my favorite CleakTok accounts, has taught me that a little de-greaser goes a long way. At 35 years old, I'm learning how important it is to have a non-scratch sponge (the semi-creepy smiley face sponge that is Scrub Daddy will change your life, no joke) and that fabric softener can get scuffs off your walls and it can bring an old carpet back to life. Even though I was a bartender in college, I had no idea Barkeeper's Friend could work magic on an entire house. Microfiber cloths > paper towels, and laundry detergent + mop water = impeccable floors. Who knew? Not me!

@allisonscleanin

Ok Baybee I’ve been using this solution for years. Definitely a #cleaninglady favorite! Tag me if you try it! #hacks #cleaninghacks #diy

A midwestern mom named Monica has shown me how to clean and organize my fridge with supplies from the Dollar Tree, which I've never done in the entirety of the six years I've lived in my current rental. Half-open boxes, wrappers, and stale snacks are now a thing of the past in my house, and now things just look neater. Win-win.

I've also learned that when it comes to curly hair care products, the limit does not exist. I've always just heat-styled it to death and avoided taking care of its natural texture because that's what I was taught to do.

I've always loved makeup, but makeup has come a long way in recent years. Instead of being intimidated by makeup tutorials, I've mastered a five-minute face by watching dozens of different TikTokers and figuring out what I want to look like as a mother in her thirties with no time, and that I'm no longer a 2003 high school graduate with 15-year-old eyeliner pencils.

@alenaavictoriaa

part 4- makeup for beginners tutorial! #makeup #eyeshadow

You can even find licensed therapists (make sure they're legit before you take them at their word, of course) sharing valuable and genuine advice about parenting children of all ages. Sometimes they share advice about processing your own childhood trauma. Sometimes they share words of validation, something those of us with childhood trauma didn't often experience from our parents. Who knew scrolling through my phone at night would be this beneficial?

The great thing about TikTok is sometimes you'll stumble upon a video that just says exactly what you need to hear in that exact moment. It's amazing how much better you can feel about your life when you're given the tools you need to truly take care of yourself.

Some of these creators may think they're just sharing 60-second snippets of them while they're on the job, or while they're unpacking their monthly Costco haul in the kitchen. But for a motherless mom like me, they're teaching me how to be gentle with myself and helping me take control of my life—one TikTok video at a time.

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