Social media is not real life. We are all guilty of doing something mainly for the ‘Gram’. How many of us take a good 50 photos (a large underestimate) before posting the ‘best one’ to social media. We are guilty of doing this not just for selfies of ourselves but for photos of our children. I can picture it now, the bribes and the lengths parents will go to, desperately trying to get the ‘perfect’ picture. I too, am guilty of shaking a maraca furiously, dancing and pulling funny faces. I’ve even been known to shout the word ‘titties’ (a guaranteed smile from our two) to get the widest smile. You can in fact shout anything in a high pitch voice to get the same reaction. I’m not sure you can expect a 5 month old, to really understand much of what you are saying. I’m sure other mums may disagree with me there though. I’m sure largely you’ll achieve ‘the photo’ of the award winning smile as a result of your half an hour danceathon with your phone in hand, largely in your child’s face.
Whilst scrolling through social media (usually whilst sat on the toliet, enjoying the alone time, should you get the door closed with no young person inside) you see all these happy faces, wondering why your child almost always has a soggy dribble stain on their top or remnants of sick in their crusty hair. Just remember no child (or at least none that I’ve met) are that happy all the time. Most children, if not all, spend more time, being sick, crying and pooing. Of course, ‘this reality’ is not social media worthy to the majority of people, although I think they make the funnier, dare I say, ‘better’ photos. On future milestone birthdays, 18 or 21, parents don’t post smiling photos, they find the most embarrassing picture imaginable. Also the moments teenagers tend to recreate years later are those of the disasters, not the ‘perfect’ immaculate photo.
There are of course then the photos of the ‘perfect’ families. All dressed in either matching or colour coordinated outfits. Firstly, it’s most likely this is an advertisement and the post is by someone who makes a hard earned living from the picture posted. I cannot imagine the effort, organisation and the luck needed to get such a shot. If they aren’t making a living this way, I’m sure they will be soon. Since joining Instagram, my mediocre pictures of the twins have been plagued with comments from companies wanting us to be ambassadors (Personally it’s just not for us). Anyway, these highly manufactured photos are beautiful but only reflect a staged second in life. Of course, they don’t reflect how the family actually lives. I would absolutely love to see the outtakes of these photos, I can only imagine the carnage.
There are also the photos of ‘perfect’ mother with her babies. This mother is gym-honed, made up with makeup and freshly polished nails, with hair gorgeously tamed. It’s the mother who seemly has it all. It’s the mother I envy although I wasn’t this person without children so I certainly won’t be that person now I have them. It’s fair to say I will never be that person. The photos are beautiful but also make me feel exhausted. I admire you for hitting the gym, having at least a tidy corner of a pristine house and having fantastic white teeth. I’m lucky if I get to the end of the day and have at some point remembered to brush my teeth or even attempted to brush my hair, which is more often left wet to dry naturally. I’m impressed by the ambition, drive and motivation these mothers have. I hope more than anything, they are taking these photos because they are happy, confident and comfortable in their own skin, rather than the complete opposite.
I also really hope this post isn’t mistaken for shade, it is not meant that way whatsoever and definitely was not my intention. Hats off to all the mums who get dressed, keep a clean house and just generally slay. Hats off to you all for being able to juggle that many balls. I continually fail to be like you barely able to shower everyday, relying heavily on dry shampoo surrounded by toys and sicky muslins. I do however suspect that even for those mums, those photos sum up roughly 5% of the reality of their day, as anyone knows no house or baby stays clean for very long. For the mums out there who are like me and don’t even spend 5% of their day achieving that much that’s ok too. You do you. I take more selfies in my pyjamas, with my hair wet and no make up on than I’ve seen online. Sometimes I may even have yesterday’s make up on, smudged around my eyes. I envy those who get up earlier to get dressed and ready for the day. I wish I could be that person but I will always favour the extra sleep. That little bit more shuteye makes me less of an ogre as does the all important cup of coffee first thing. I’m sure my husband in particular is thankful for it. Maybe I shouldn’t post photos of myself in my Jim Jams on social media but why the hell not, it’s my reality.
Social media isn’t real life. One photo is just a snapshot of a day. We all know how changeable a day with small children can be; good, bad and ugly. What is most important, whichever type of mum you are; yummy, slummy or scummy, do what makes you happy. Make sure you are happy in real life and not just for Instagram.