Guilt, Lies and Mummy Bloggers

I started my first blog when my daughter was only a few months old, almost nine years ago now. No one had really prepared me for what that initial year of motherhood lay ahead, I’m not sure anyone really could. I knew there would be bad moments, tired moments, moments when my baby cried and I wouldn’t know what was wrong. But none of the books I had read prepared me for a catnapping, overtired baby who screamed all day, I wasn’t producing enough milk and she had silent reflux. I felt cheated, robbed, duped. The beginning of motherhood for me was like a big slap in the face with a brick. I had this beautiful babe who I loved dearly but all those issues which I had not in the slightest been aware of, meant for many a tumultuous day, often with me in tears rocking in a corner calling on my sister for help.

This was a time where Facebook was only just gaining popularity, Instagram didn’t yet exist and blogging was only just taking off in Australia. My access to the world of motherhood had been almost non-existant apart those few books I devoured during my pregnancy. Deep within the trenches in those first months, I decided to don my super-hero cape and set up a blog. I felt it was my duty and responsibility to warn all those naive mums-to-be out there exactly what they could be in for. Life as a Mum was not all roses, happy families, sleeping babies and walks in the park. I cast myself as lead actress in a likeable and relatable role, I lay it all on the table and my words bought all the ladies to my yard.

I tapped away at my keyboard, mainly on the bad days. It became somewhat of a cathartic exercise for me to let my feelings out. All of a sudden, I had other Mum’s responding, sharing their stories, telling me how my posts had made them feel less alone in that moment because they were experiencing the exact same thing.

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But here’s the thing, after those initial six to eights months of being a new Mum, things began to turn around. My daughter began napping perfectly during the day (after lots of hard work and tears), and continued to have a nap even the year she started Prep. She wasn’t a fussy eater. She didn’t throw supermarket tantrums and we never really experienced the terrible twos. Our morning routines as I returned to work ran relatively smoothly, and toilet training was an easy feat. When my son arrived four years later, I had almost exactly the same experience, albeit I was much more relaxed. And this is in no way me saying my that my children are perfect, far from it actually. Just like adults, we all have our moments, but on a day to day basis 95% of our time together is wonderful and full of contentment.

I was now left an actress in a lead role that I had cast for myself. One that everyone was relating to, found endearing and funny. Yet for me, she was longer relatable, to me the character was no longer real.

And I felt guilty. I feel guilty. But why?

Because now, all around me in a world that is almost ruled by social media, Mum’s are bonding and celebrating over just how bad their day/night was with their little ones (and for me, this wasn’t just limited to the online world, it spilled out into the real world too you know).  And me? Well I found myself sitting there enjoying a hot cuppa, watching my favourite TV show, while my kids walk themselves off to bed, after eating all of the dinner I served them up without fuss.

And I kinda feel guilty about it, like I can’t share my experience in a world that is now so open to sharing our lows. Or, if the highs are celebrated, it’s normally by people who are sickly upbeat and positive 100% of the time, usually overusing the word grateful and consistently finishing their posts with #blessed. So where do I fit in? What do I have to offer, now that I have evolved?

For a while there, I just continued to subscribe the version of motherhood I was once trying to warn expectant mothers of. I embellished and joked about things that my children did and in return, other mothers engaged with me and shared their own experiences of being in the “trenches”. In fact though, I was sitting there wondering what the hell I was I doing, why was I pretending to be someone I no longer was? And I’ll tell you why, because I didn’t want to become that Mum who comes across as though everything is perfect, almost smug, and this once again, wasn’t just limited to the online world.

So what is one to do when they can no longer play a role they once felt passionate about? An actress cast in a role that has now become redundant?

I now find myself in a predicament; I feel as though I am balancing on a fine line. I either continue being that Mum who everyone knows, who shares all the shitty moments of Motherhood and the terrible/yet hilarious things my kids are doing (because they actually still do them, just not every second and every day) and have other Mum’s nodding their head in agreement. OR I need to be true to myself, which will mean reinventing my online identity. The answer is quite simple isn’t it?

I have come to terms with the fact that I am now, in this moment, content with my life. The contented moments of my motherhood journey now deeply outweigh the times when my kids are bickering or drawing in permanent marker on the walls (by the way, you can get that off with hand sanitiser, you’re welcome!). And when I do start to loose my cool, I’ve come to realise that it usually has more to do with me than it does about them or the way they are behaving. I no longer feel comfortable in just sharing the shitty moments that other Mum’s can and do relate to, instead, I now choose to share them sparingly and focus more on the positives. I now believe there are more than two types of Mum’s to be put out there in Social media-Land and in real-life. Because I’m no longer blind, there are so many shades of Motherhood, not just the two that I was seeing and hearing about all the time.

Instead of joining in on conversations about how terrible my children have been, I now just sympathise and support those who are experiencing their own pitfalls of motherhood. Even though I can’t or no longer relate to the struggles that some of these Mumma’s are facing, I definitely feel for them and offer my support to them.

I just have this feeling that other Mum’s out there are now experiencing the same thoughts as me? I’m finding more and more now that Motherhood is fluid, ever-changing, evolving, and for like a better word, a journey. I no longer have to or feel the need to subscribe to a particular way of putting myself out there online or in the real world. I can still be sympathetic and give support to those Mumma’s who are  finding some days a little tough, but now I feel confident enough to post that I had a great day with my kids without people rolling their eyes into the back of their heads.

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Guilt, Lies and Mummy Bloggers

  1. Amy @ HandbagMafia says:

    I know what you mean- warts and all is the flavour of the month and it’s hard to see a place for people who aren’t suffering under the weight of demanding kids and hectic lives but- I think there IS room for it and it is a refreshing change.

  2. Jody at Six Little Hearts says:

    What a beautiful post and I can relate to your opinions on this spot-on. I have six kids and have been through the trenches over and over. When we began our family there were no smart phones, social media was tiny and we didn’t even own a computer. In fact I remember declining to even consider one until we had around 4 kids. Having no internet (like there is today) meant that my kids received 1000% my attention and my memories are wonderful.
    Good on you for feeling the pride and enjoying your parenting years now. They were worth the wait. Life is so precious, bugger the naysayers!

    • lifeatno2 says:

      SIX KIDS, your home must be bustling and full of amazing memories Jody! I think the internet has definitely made mothers feel more connected, on the same token though, it can mean we are forever comparing ourselves and wondering whether our own stories are valid. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, thanks to you and others I’ll continue sharing mine!

  3. nicolethebuilderswife says:

    I had my first daughter 21 years ago, and there was nothing. I was a young Mum crying out for support and a blog like yours would have been incredibly helpful, likewise a blog speaking the truth of how lovely it can be to be a parent, especially as our children get older. As a Mum to 5 kids, 4 of which are still teenagers, I find there is little to no focus on children as they age,, but this time is also one in which us Mum’s need occasional support and also hope that not every day is in the trenches. I do believe very strongly there is a place for the true you. xx

    • lifeatno2 says:

      I think too in your position now Nicole with older children privacy definitely comes into play when writing blog posts doesn’t it? There’s this urge to write things out in order to gain support and give support to others going through the same things BUT on the other hand, is our children’s right to privacy. Thanks for your kind words x

  4. mummywifeme says:

    Mmm yes. I totally get what you’re saying. I feel like I had a lot more material to write about when the kids were younger and causing me a bit more stress. Now, I’m wary about just how much I write about their problems. I’m over all of the negativity online and love to hear positive, uplifting stories. #teamIBOT

    • lifeatno2 says:

      We sound like we are on the exact same page!! I’m also wary about what I write now that my daughter is nine, there have been things that have happened over the last year that I would’ve loved to write about and I think would’ve helped other Mums out there, but that doesn’t trump my daughter’s right to online privacy.

  5. Tracy says:

    There is definitely a popular narrative that everything about parenting is hard. Parenting is certainly not for the faint of heart, but all of parenting is not all that bad! I think there is room for that narrative too; in fact, maybe that’s even a necessity in this current climate of fear and challenge and life feeling overwhelming. I have older teens and baby adults here, and I am tired of hearing how awful teenagers are. There are lots who are the most amazing, thoughtful, hilariously engaging young people who are going to make the world a way better place. I happen to have three of those people living in my house, and their friends are really awesome young people too. Why can’t we celebrate the positive experiences, while bearing with one another through the challenges?

    • lifeatno2 says:

      Yes yes Tracy!! I think that there are two main narratives out there, the ‘motherhood is soon hard’ and the ‘everything is perfect’ version, there are so many shades in between and I don’t think we see enough of that in social-land. I love that you have three amazing teens on your hands, I see lots of amazing kids in my job as a teacher, time we celebrated them too! Thanks for popping by and taking the time to comment x

  6. Kylie Purtell says:

    I can totally, absolutely relate to this! I must admit though that I’ve been lucky in that I started my blog before I had the girls, and so over the almost 10 years I’ve been blogging it’s evolved and changed so much that I don’t think people have minded too much as it’s always been an ever-changing thing. I am in the same boat as you though with regard to the fact that my girls are mostly easy and I feel like I don’t have much to contribute to what seems to the be the popular point of parenting being “so hard”. I think it’s great that there are blogs like yours, people who are still willing to write and share their stories after the “hard” baby days are over, there isn’t a lot of it but there are a lot of us bloggers who want to read it.

    • lifeatno2 says:

      Thanks Kylie! I do love that blogging can evolve as you and your life does. I guess I had so much content to write in those early days and now I’m like what do I write and will anyone read?

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