I think most mothers post candid photos of their families; their kids making a mess at breakfast, the pet dog taking a nap whilst cuddling up with the youngest child, the middle child playing dress up and wearing every single item of costume clothing that they own. Sometimes I wonder if many mothers (or fathers) would be willing to publish some of the other common family moments that happen day-to-day, the ones that aren’t so pretty to look at.
Not only would parenting-guilt stand in the way of taking a photo of a child having a tantrum or crying, but would anybody like to see that side of family life? Would anybody be that honest and tell the world that actually, parenting is really hard and sometimes it feels like a prison sentence rather than a 24/7 exchange of unconditional love?
In my 14-month long experience of parenting, all of it has been filled with love, but that does not mean that there hasn’t been moments of dislike and irritation and angry frustration. My daughter may be just a toddler but when the moments arise when I lack the ability to make her happy, or to calm her down, or desperately need just have five minutes peace – it can push the boundaries of my patience, I get angry and I’m not as empathetic as I should be. In those moments, I wish for somebody else to swoop in and look after my toddler for me.
And of course, I never let that side of my parenting style come out in public, let alone post it on social media, because of course, that’s just not what you want people to see. As a mother especially, you want friends, family, acquaintances, even followers, to see that you have a charming, smart, happy little child because that means that you are nailing this parenting thing, your decisions on how to raise a human-being are practically flawless.
I cling on to any other parent who openly speaks about their struggles with me, because I know that it is such a rarity. We cling to what we believe others want to see from us, what parenting and family life should be like – even though inside we are deeply troubled by our lack of sleep, our lack of confidence in this brand new endeavour, and the overwhelming way in which our lives have been completely turned upside down.
I haven’t (yet) taken a photo of my daughter upset and published it, because frankly, the only thing I want to do in that situation is diffuse it. However – I am more than fine with the idea of conversing with other parents about the day-to-day struggles of raising a child, though I’m still happy to post pictures of my daughter looking like the sweetheart she is, because, what can I say, I am a stereotypically proud parent, who wants to show off the most beautiful baby in the world, regardless of how tough the day (or year) has been.
Lauren is a writer, artist, advocate, mother of 1 living in Scotland. She writes openly and honestly about all sorts of things, has way too many creative interests, and is continuously trying to figure life out.
This Stuff Is Golden
Lauren and I have swapped a blog post, each with the same title! Check out my guest post for her, on her blog This Stuff Is Golden