It is bloody hard being a mum in the age of social media and the Internet where everything you do is noted, recorded and everyone seemingly has a perfect life. I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s all bullshit. As we’ve all heard, people only put their happiest moments on Facebook and Instagram for their friends and strangers to see. I’m not saying they’re all lying, I’m sure they’re not but we have no idea what happens behind closed doors.
In saying that, some mums put on the biggest persona of all on social media. I think most people do, we’re used to seeing celebrities and the general public living perfect lives, with perfect children who don’t have a dummy, eat perfectly with a knife and fork and they’re only 2 #blessed (if you’re child does do this, bloody well done, my son is feral with cutlery). Hell, I do it! I’m not going to lie here and say my monster is perfect, he’s anything but; I am not however going to tell Facebook that at 5am one morning, he woke up, came into our bed, farted on my head, laughed and then did it again. No, I’m going to say that I love our morning cuddles and I’m so happy and time is precious. It is, children grow up so fast in this technology age, you have to take little moments when you can. This sort of social media trickery has led to the rise of parenting bloggers who write about the realism of parenthood, it’s refreshing and I’m loving the honesty from some of my favourites.
In the first year or so of being a mum, I couldn’t count the amount of times I got stressed out with mum groups on Facebook where everyone seemingly had all their shit together and judged anyone who dared do anything different or who didn’t have their shit together. Below are some of the reasons I left at least two of these groups.
LITERALLY EVERYTHING I DID WAS WRONG.
I bottlefed – not only that I was lazy as I had a perfect prep (not everyone agrees with them and that’s fine but they saved my life, and that of my partner on more than one occasion), he was in his cot from 1 week old (hated his Moses basket), we moved him into his own room literally the day he turned 6 months old, he hated tummy time so I didn’t enforce it. We stayed in and watched bones, criminal minds and game of thrones rather than go out and face the world to be told he’s not very big/chunky/not the right height/he’s not sitting up yet etc. He has a dummy, he likes chocolate more than he should. He eats hot dogs more than he should, he doesn’t have baths every night. I went back to work full-time. He gets his own way. A lot. He’s also funny, cheeky, ridiculously cute and an amazing talker. He didn’t walk or crawl to the pattern the health visitor wanted but he got there in his own time.
I felt like nothing I did was correct, so rather than get bogged down in mindless and quite frankly, ridiculous arguments, I took myself out of groups. I started staying at home more to avoid being drawn in to conversations about his development. I’d say it’s only in the last few months that I’ve really started to think about being friends with other mums, and that is down to two very different groups of mums. One on a popular messaging app and one on Facebook.
The mums I’ve met and spoken to on both groups are lovely, friendly, very open to debate and there’s no judging! No-one holds grudges. There’s support for breastfeeding mums, bottle feeding mums, working and SAHM, literally everything. It makes me genuinely happy to see such a lovely group of mums, some of whom I know and some I don’t get along and try to help each other. I’ve never felt unwelcome or that any advice I give is stupid or unwanted. It’s the same with the text group, we support, we make each other laugh, we give advice and we’re there when one of the group needs us. It took a while for us to get to where we are but I’m so happy to be friends with such 2 very awesome groups of people.
So what I’m trying to say is, don’t believe the social media hype but find groups that have like-minded people on there and wont judge! We’re all just trying to do our best, raising our kids to be decent human beings and make sure that at the end of the day, they stayed alive. If new mums or mums-to-be, who are nervous about baby groups or making friends, can read this and realise that there is hope and they will make new friends who know it’s hard to get out on time for a playdate when your little angel has done an explosive poo two minutes before you walk out the door then I feel like I’ve done a good thing!
Also, re-writing this was a total pain in the arse, it’s not the same one I originally posted and that has really got to me today and stressed me out (Thanks WordPress) but I’m hoping my message in this is pretty much the same as the other one.