What do you want from us?

Facebook’s ‘Motherhood Challenge’ is waging a war. According to journalist, Flic Everett, it’s offensive and competitive. And those who take part are making other mums feel bad with their happiness and smugness.

Are we smug?

Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog knows that I am pretty honest about motherhood. You’re more likely to read about my failings than my triumphs. And that’s not just because we seem to have more of the former in our house.

Everett blames the rise of the ‘Mummy blogger’ for making it hard ‘to admit to finding motherhood painful or depressing, or wanting to crack your wailing child over the head with its capriciously flung egg spoon.‘ Really? She clearly isn’t reading my blog or any of the parenting blogs, I read. She also blames the ‘Mumpreneur who just couldn’t find the right softness of cot blanket, so made them herself from possum fur and appeared on Dragon’s Den.’ Wow.

Frankly, that latter comment is just insulting. I’m inspired by mums who create off the back of their own experiences and launch successful businesses like my friend, Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers and numerous others.

Also? Everett obviously missed the memo about Mumpreneurs generating £7 billion for the UK economy.

Or maybe she’s just gutted she isn’t one of them.

I’m not offended.

I haven’t taken part in the Motherhood Challenge.

It’s not because I find the idea offensive or haven’t been tagged. I have. I just haven’t gotten around to it. Likewise, there’s plenty of friends who haven’t tagged me. I’m not offended by this, either. I don’t think they must think I’m a crap mum. It just hasn’t occurred to me to think like that.

And personally, I’ve enjoyed seeing my friends’ photos. I know that lots of these friends have had a hard time in the past and I’m pleased to see them have an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their kids.

To remember that there have been good times.

The dark side of social media.

As with everything on social media, if you want to be on it you have to take the good AND the bad. There is always going to be something you don’t want to see.

I remember when I miscarried our third child and, two days later, a friend posted her 12 week scan picture on Facebook. When I saw it, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. But this friend had been trying for a baby for three years. I already had two healthy children. This friend didn’t deserve my grief. And I hated that I reacted like that, that I felt so bitter and sad because, deep down below all that grief, I was so happy for them. So, I took control. And I came off of all social media. For weeks. Until I felt stronger. Until I knew that I could handle whatever Facebook chose to throw at me.

As for mums who have lost children or women struggling to conceive, I totally get how this ‘challenge’ must be hard to see. And I am so, so sorry for this. You should read Leigh Kendall’s opinion of the challenge who blogs at Headspace Perspective. She lost her premature baby, Hugo at 35 days old, after he was born at 24 weeks. Her article is much more balanced than Everett’s, she comes from a place most of us can’t even imagine and, whilst she’s not a fan of the challenge, she understands its foundation and considers it from all angles. She heartbreakingly admits, ‘No one has tagged me, I am an awesome mum, and I am always really chuffed, as a mother of no living children when people remember I am a mum.’

The fact remains that we can’t control what we see on social media. But by being on Facebook, Instagram or any other platform, we are giving our consent to see anything.

Mums can’t win.

The response to the Motherhood Challenge is yet another indication that us mums just can’t win.

We get attacked if we’re too honest about motherhood and asked why we can’t be grateful and show the ‘happy’ side. My friend, BrummyMummyof2 runs the hilarious weekly Wicked Wednesdays link, where you post a picture of your tantruming child. You don’t get much more real than that, right? Yet, she’s been criticised in the past for showing this side of motherhood.

So, world. What do you want from us? Do you want us to be honest and real or happy and smug? Because I’m getting mixed messages.

Here’s an idea. How about you stop trying to censor us and let us post what we like. And participate in what we like?

And ignore what we don’t like?

A picture speaks a thousand words?

Before I go, I want to share a picture with you.

10929959_10152669589495810_491478329177106585_n

This picture is one of my favourites. It’s the first picture we had as a family of five.

When this picture was taken, I was six months into treatment for PND. We’d gone away for a few days to the New Forest. And it’s the first time I remember feeling better and thinking, ‘we’re going to get through this.

This picture wasn’t a ‘cover’ for pretending that my life was perfect, when it wasn’t. I wasn’t hiding behind a false image. It was a photo that I loved and wanted to share with my friends. This was one very small moment in time. Would I have been more real if I’d shared a picture of me sobbing in a ball on the floor, when I was at my lowest? No. Because this picture is as real as that one would have been. And, such is life, I will always remember the very hardest of times, with or without a photo. But sometimes, I do need reminding of the good.

And frankly? If anyone’s naive enough to believe that one happy picture sums up an entire life, if someone’s pictures on Facebook or Instagram make them feel that inadequate, then it’s probably time to opt out.

Until they feel stronger.

This post is not intended to offend anyone. If it has, it’s probably because I’m about to get my period. Sorry. Only we can control what the media make of us mums. So let’s not let them divide us. Come like the Facebook page for more posts and memes.

Like/share this post with others

    5 thoughts on “What do you want from us?

    1. Louise May

      My sister is a sociopath. She posts pictures of her children constantly on Facebook & her acquaintances comment about their adorableness which they relate to her own looks & her greatness as a Mom. In real terms, it’s not that she is a great Mom, but that she is a Mom and so she is great. (Meanwhile, last time I saw my sister she physically attacked me, drawing blood.) The point of the Guardian post is that we revere Motherhood for no good reason.

      Being a Mom does not make you into some elevated being. Yes, I’ve heard it’s hard. I’ve heard it’s the hardest thing a person can do. Etc, etc. Yet, 80% of women under 40 have children. Being a Mom then is actually pretty ordinary. In fact, it’s something I’d like to do myself, but I am infertile.

      So please, our culture & Mommy bloggers, stop elevating women for being Moms when there’s no reason for it. By all means, be a good parent and your kids will pay you back in affectionate spades by being loving presences in your life into old age. But please don’t ask the rest of us to revere you. You could just be a sociopath anyway.

      Reply
      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        I’m sorry to hear about your infertility and I won’t pretend to know how that must feel. It also sounds like you have a difficult relationship with your sister. I can’t agree with you, however, that we revere Motherhood for no good reason. None of the mums I know think they are elevated beings. In contrast, many of them have bouts of low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. Lots of us gave up careers to have children. Others have made different sacrifices. Our choice, YES, but still. And yes being a mum IS ordinary but it is also intense and relentless. For that reason, as a mummy blogger, I for one will not stop elevating women for being Mums. Not because I am a sociopath, but because when all you’ve done all day is wipe bottoms, negotiate with small children and sweep the floor, sometimes you need to hear how amazing you are. We all need praise and encouragement. People who work need it from their bosses. Children need it from their teachers and parents. Mums need it too. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

        Reply
    2. Steph

      Hmm – I read the article earlier and I did see her point. I was tagged and didn’t do it, not to make a big stand but I did feel uncomfortable – I know too many people that would love to be able to take part but haven’t been able To have children yet, and to be honest most of my pictures are about motherhood so it felt odd to pick out more? Equally, to each their own – I’m not judging anyone else that wants to take part! x

      Reply
      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        Thanks for your thoughts, Steph. I agree, I personally didn’t feel the need to put more pics of my kids up but I think there are other mums who are non-bloggers and non business-women who perhaps don’t have the outlet that we do, who probably wanted to share a bit of themselves as Mums. Did I misinterpret her comment about Mumpreneurs then, I thought that was a bit off? All in all, I just felt it was one of those ‘live and let live’ type FB shares. I imagine there are all sorts of Mums taking part too including those who have struggled to have kids x

        Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *