So it may have taken me 7 months but I have actually finished a book (something you never think before you have children, would be such a hard task)! It also just so happens that that book was about parenthood and was partly the inspiration for me starting this blog in the first place – The Unmumsy Mum.
I may be slightly earlier on in my journey than her, and have girls instead of boys, but it made me howl with laughter just how spot-on in her observations she is, so go and read if you have the time! However, closer to the end of the book it really struck a more serious chord with me when she spoke about social media, the perception of families to others and the pretence of some that family life is ‘perfect’. When we all know it’s not, surely?! (It’s not).
I mean, social media is pretty much the backbone of society these days, I know I am addicted (though I do try and limit my time when around Lyla…) and I’m pretty sure most people could say the same! We interact with a world both related and unrelated to ours without having to get our bums off the sofa (something I currently struggle with). That’s just cray cray! It’s how most of you will be reading this now – because of social media. So it has a lot to be thankful for.
I hope to find a middle ground with what I post, as to me I have everything I could possibly want (well, a lot more money wouldn’t go amiss. Oh and a Range Rover. Oh and a timeshare somewhere really exotic would be nice…) and I feel very lucky to have these things. That doesn’t mean that I won’t call my child a little shit under my breath (or worse) if she does something annoying, which can be quite frequent… And that doesn’t mean that what we have is perfect, so why pretend that it is? What effect does that have on the people who look at what you share, and read what you write?
I follow people on Instagram, and know people in real life, who do this, who only post or tell you the ‘good’ things, and who I used to almost get jealous of?! But there is no need. That one picture, or that one post is just a tiny snapshot into somebody’s life. So they’ve managed to cook, clean, do a craft activity, only feed their children organic snacks, go for a family walk and wee in private all in one morning? Wahoo, go them. I’d love to see what happens the rest of the time, and trust me, they most definitely have a fridge full of kitkats and petit filous…
I follow people who take amazing photos of their families (which I can’t do as I only currently have an iPhone to work with), or who only buy organic clothing from independent retailers. And I have to look at those pictures and tell myself that they’re just different, that the way I display our life is just different (and there is nothing wrong in the slightest with clothes from Next/Sainsburys/Primark etc). It doesn’t mean that they’re Supermum and I’m not (I’m definitely not).*
*Don’t get me wrong I will blow the ‘proud mum klaxon’ very loudly when it is required – it’s just about the balance.
Even though we know that perception is not reality, it’s hard not to judge yourself on what others are doing, no matter how much I preach about not worrying about them, I’m probably the worst person for it *hangs head in shame*! I have days where I find it so damn hard, but then the next day I can think “oh I’m actually quite good at this!”. I worry constantly about whether I’m doing the right thing, about how people see me as a mum, and then I see another child being carried whilst kicking and screaming and a sense of relief just washes over me! Thank god I’m not the early one being assaulted by my child! I don’t look at that person and judge them so why would someone do it to me?! It’s just a shit day. And having a shit day does not reflect on your abilities as a parent at all. Sometimes it’s. just. shit. After all, it’s just a phase and one day they will come out the other side….won’t they? Please tell me they come out the other side, please?!
I read all these blogs, and follow their social media, and watch the vlogs of these amazing mummies and daddies, and at first I was a little jealous of where they are, of how many followers they have. And then I realised that everyone has to start somewhere, that they inspired me to do this, and that we’re all in this together doing the same thing, letting people out there know that THIS IS NORMAL. Shit happens, really good stuff happens, it’s just life. Our kids love us more than anything, they may not show it all the time, but they do. All I can tell you is that perfection doesn’t exist, there is no such thing as ‘supermum’, and you’re doing a bloody good job.