I have a bad case of the mummy comparisons.
Constantly comparing myself to other mothers and feeling like I can’t reach the level of parenting perfection they are.
With social media its getting harder to stop. Pictures of peaceful sleeping babies flood my news feed daily . On my lowest mum funk days, when I feel that I’ll never be able to leave the house again, I will be in tears at peoples photos of their days out with their new born babies, smiling as if all their dreams had come true. Its not these mothers fault that I’m upset, what I get upset about is the feeling that I can’t reach that level of family perfection myself.
As my head has cleared these last few weeks I’ve thought about these mothers and begun to realise the only person putting them on the pedal stool is me.
I’ve become to realise that one photo of a smiling baby and mum doesn’t mean they have a perfect life. Its one second of a 24 hour day which has more than likely been filtered to shit to take out the mothers eye bags and the sick running down her shirt. Something of which I know I’m guilty off.
My own social media pages are filled with smiling images of my children because who wants to see pictures of them during their meltdowns, not to mention if I had a camera on my hands during those moments I’d probably want to throw it at them rather than capture it on film forever
Take these family photos I’ve uploaded recently for instance:
The peaceful sleeper
He’s only peaceful because he had us up most of the night before and he cried the roof off the house when he woke up. And this little piece of sleep heaven blesses us for all of 40 minutes throughout the day though on this photo he looks like he’s the most peaceful baby in the world.
Look how they play together
They arent playing. My daughter was jealous of all the attention he was getting and was trying to shove him out of his play mat and in the process booted him in the head while he proceeded to scream. Poor child still cries when she comes close to him today.
The milestone look at me photo
Doesn’t he look so happy the cheeky chops.
The other 25 photos to get this one depict a screaming child
Look how much of a cool mum I am
This day at the beach took a lot of effort and lasted for 30 minutes before my son got bored and screamed so hard I had to trail a buggy across the sand in one hand while shushing him in my other arm. In the mean time my daughter shouted that she needed to wee whilst pulling her trousers down and squatting in front of a crowded beach.
I then returned home and cried.
So you see one second of someones life in a photo can seem to show a stress free life but behind those cameras can be a deeper truth. My social media photos would make it seem I’m a doting mother who’s got it all together, when really most days I cant pick out an outfit let alone look after myself and my two children without having an emotional breakdown at some point. No ones perfect so why do we sometimes expect ourselves and our children to be?
Recently while I was glazing over a copy of Cosmo I came across an article on how to achieve happiness. In it was a quote from Debra messing which said;
“When your passionate about something you want it to be all it can be. But I fundamentally believe the key to happiness is letting go of that idea of perfection.”
This quote stuck with me and helped me understand my postnatal depression and my quest for perfection. Being a mother has been something I’ve dreamed off all my life. I always thought I’d be brilliant at it and as an overachiever feeling I’m not meeting my high standards in the most important job of my life I’ve been beating myself up constantly. In order to get better I’ve got to give up on that idea of perfection and realise that I’m doing my best. Hopefully that day by day I’ll accept that and become happier.
And I’m really trying to do that.
I still find it hard not to compare my life with others especially on social media but I try to remember that photos can be filtered and unfortunately life cannot.
So I’m coming to accept that my imperfect little family is just perfect they way they are.
And if it helps any of you struggling mums out there this is how my unfiltered days mostly look:
I hope that makes you feel a little less alone in your struggle.