Now that school’s out for summer, my social media feeds have been flooded with happy, relaxed families enjoying the holidays.
I’ve seen lovely photos of amazing craft activities, baking efforts, forest rambles, nature trails and beach picnics.
As lovely as they are, they make me feel like a really rubbish mum.
Today we had “one of those days.”
You know the ones where everyone’s a bit grumpy and nothing really “works.”
Of course, when you’re having ‘one of those days’ the worst thing you can do is to peek at your Facebook newsfeed.
You’re sure to be met (slapped up the face) by pictures of Barbara’s kids having a picnic, aboard a yacht obviously.
They will all look unattainably happy and fresh faced and have cute little life jackets on (the ones they own not the manky kind you hire).
Babs has a proper wicker picnic basket (not the plastic Sainsbury’s bag you use) and a proper fancy pants wool blanket from Laura Ashley (the kind of one you just couldn’t justify buying).
And you’re sat there with the maternity pyjamas you’ve had for 6 years that have a hole in them. Your hair is greasier-than-ideal (washing your hair is a luxury these days) and your kids are playing on the iPad.
Chances are, Barbara’s photo will send you plummeting into a feeling of total inadequacy.
So, social media (and Barbara) let me give you a rundown on how my average ‘one of those days’ goes (spoiler – there is no yacht):-
5.30am – 6.00am
Wake up (not by choice and grumpy) at ridiculous o’clock.
6.00am – 11.00am
Despite having been up from ridiculous o’clock, no one is dressed and we’ve achieved nothing except breakfast and a couple of hours of CBeebies.
Suddenly realise that we have achieved very little and it’s nearly lunchtime.
Stuff the kids into the car and head haphazardly towards the nearest ‘fun but educational’ establishment, because, you know, we need to ‘make memories.’
Everyone’s moaning and hungry.
Realise that nobody’s had lunch (unless we’re counting the packet of Fruitella dredged from the darkest corner of my handbag as bribery during a sibling brawl earlier at ‘fun but educational‘ establishment).
Get home – everyone’s arguing and still hungry. Make some spahghetti hoops and toast just so everyone gets fed as soon as possible.
Happen to glance at Instagram feed and see that Susan down the road served her kids organic cucumber and hummus for lunch today.
Feel like the worst mum alive.
Kids are already starting to get tired so are whinging on a massive scale – agree to some iPad time just to cool things down a bit.
Think about Barbara on the yacht.
Still feeling like a rubbish mum.
5.00pm – 9.00pm
This 4-hour period is a blur of bickering, healthy food refusal, biscuit crumbs, bath water, pjs, stories, restlessness, more bickering, milk, cuddles and fighting sleep to the bitter end.
Everyone is FINALLY asleep.
The INSTANT the house goes quiet, miss the kids desperately.
Feel so sad for the times I ran out of patience, feel sad that I only joined in their game for a few minutes earlier before I had to deal with the baby then grapple with a load of washing.
The rubbish mum feeling continues.
Have a glass of wine or do the ironing. It can go either way (usually it’s the wine).
Make a promise to try to be a better mum tomorrow.
Google if anyone does family boat trips in our area.
Go onto Facebook and post the ONE photo I took at the ‘fun but educational‘ establishment and write ‘Lovely day out with my gorgeous kids.’ Aaarrgh!!!!
Social media, you have a LOT to answer for.
You are contributing to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression.
For every photo of a mum taking her kids swimming, there’s a mum who’s having a really rubbish day and just doesn’t have the energy to leave the house.
For every status update by a mum who’s been out for a run, there’s a mum sat eating a packet of biscuits for breakfast wondering why she can’t get the time to go for a run and wondering where she’s going wrong.
For every photo of kids dressed immaculately in Joules, there’s a mum who’s kids are dressed in F & F with chocolate and snot slime trails on the cuffs.
For every photo with a beautifully tidy house in the background there’s a mum who’s house looks like a bomb’s just gone off.
Mums, please give yourselves a break.
Give the kids the iPad for an hour and make yourself a cup of tea.
Just because your life isn’t Insta-worthy does NOT make you a bad mum.
Treat social media with caution and for goodness sake please be kind to yourselves.
If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression on a regular basis please please speak to your GP.