New mums: This one's for you
Does anyone ever feel like they’re really struggling but can’t quite put their finger on why? I’ve felt like that the past couple of days, which came to a head today when I burst into tears at the dinner table while out with my sister and her family. As she took the shambles of a human that looked a bit like her little sister outside, she asked what was wrong and at first I didn’t really know how to reply. I suddenly just felt really overwhelmed.
Talking it through with Kirst, I realised it was due to my earlier reflection on the fact that Rex is now three months old. And just how fucking hard those three months have been. But that wasn’t why I was upset. I was upset because I realised that I didn’t know of anyone else who’d struggled as much as I felt I have in these early months and it made me feel like I’m not coping or doing a good job with Rex.
Why was I, a fairly intelligent, level-headed woman, finding what everyone else seemed to make look so easy so bloody hard? It was then I realised how rare it is to hear or read about women struggling with motherhood. And how social media can be pretty toxic.
The non-reality of social media
When I found out I was pregnant, I started following many new mum and baby-related accounts on Instagram and Facebook, because I felt like I needed all the help I could get. And ninety per cent of them paint the most amazingly beautiful but entirely unrealistic picture of what it’s like to be a mum. And I do it too. We post want we want the world to see, which isn’t that your kid has been screaming for hours and you don’t know how to stop them. The truth is that very rarely is someone’s social media accounts a true reflection of their reality. Mine included.
If you were to look at my Instagram account, you would think I am the happiest mum in the world and that all my baby does is smile. The reality is that while that is true some of the time, when it’s not like that I’m struggling to stay awake, often haven’t brushed my hair and/or teeth and Rex is wailing somewhere while I’m willing him to shut the hell up. While I am very honest with my blog posts, my social media accounts make it look like this motherhood malarkey is a total piece of piss. When I actually think it’s anything but.
Don’t get me wrong, the last thing I want to hear and see is mums struggling and having a shit time 24/7. I am also not begrudging any women who genuinely find motherhood the most amazing experience all the time, in fact fair fucking play to you. I just sometimes wish there was just a bit more honesty floating about. You never know who is looking at your accounts and sometimes knowing that someone else is going or has gone through the same thing as you is massively reassuring and can help more than you realise.