I’ve had quite the week of it over the past 5 days. On Friday I sent my non verbal son off to school with no shoes on his feet. That’s right, no shoes. When he went outside and hugged his chaperone we thought it was cute. What he was actually doing was saying “Carry me Nancy, my feet are cold!” *insert face palm emoji*. Then on Monday I realised that his prosthetic ear was still at my house and not his Dads so I got up, applied the glue and then waited for the taxi to pass by my house as I stood in the porch brandishing what looks like a human ear with my hair like a bag of chips, praying that the post man didn’t come. (read here about the fun we have with Harrys prosthetic body parts!) Finally, on Tuesday having sent both boys off to school with all their equipment, clothes and body parts in tact (yeay me) I got to the gym and realised that I had dribbled toothpaste down the front of my jumper. That’s right, dribbled. I’m 39.
I shared it all on social media knowing that people may judge me but more than likely would laugh at me. Why do that? Because its real life and here’s the truth …the perfect mother doesn’t exist.
This is what is really happening when social media is telling you that…
She has a really tidy and beautiful home
Now this could be true. My best friend for example has an immaculate home despite 4 boys, a partner and 2 cats but I know she works damn hard to keep it that way and the majority of us just aren’t that disciplined. You may see a lovely photograph of me at home on the sofa with the boys but trust me, everything out of range of the camera looks like it could be featured on a reality TV show called “Can’t tidy, wont tidy”. I’m no stepford wife, that’s for sure.
Shes always so positive
The lovely complexion and kick ass motivational quotes? Yeah, probably a filter that air brushes your wrinkles and a series of positive affirmations that were saved to the camera roll when she was having a particularly great day so that on the days when she does wake up feeling like Victor Meldrew (miserable git from a 90s sitcom) she can do a quick post to reassure the rest of the world that life it juuuuuust wonderful. I know, I’ve been that woman!! (and occasionally I do use the facetune app but just because my wrinkles make me feel like a pug and I cant afford botox) No-one is ALWAYS happy…I bet theres a motivational quote about that.
Shes so loved up
Now I have to say that I am one very lucky lady in this respect and am totally, sickeningly in love with my other half. I don’t often declare my adoration over social media but I do see lots of others doing just that (which is fine, each to their own) But, if their relationships are anything like mine there will also be the times when he infuriates her by soaking the bathroom floor like he actually showered OUT of the cubicle and farts on her leg as they drift off to sleep while she cuddles him in bed. THAT doesn’t go on social media (only my blog obvs – Sorry Andrew!) but what Im saying is that its very rare for two people to be in each others company and NEVER annoy each other. Our differences add some discussion (be it fraught at times) and variety to our relationship. Its real life and its fine to fall out at times. Don’t think it never happens because its never shared on social media.
She has children Mary Poppins would be proud of
Again, Im lucky on this one. My boys are both wonderful little people and Im very proud of them. I can take them anywhere and know they will be sociable and polite. But are they perfect angels 24/7? Are they hell! Yes there are arguments, yes there are tantrums and tears (usually mine) but on the whole they’re great. For me, where I am sharing my family as part of my job (yes, blogging is a job and if you think otherwise have a read of this post by the fabulous Harriet) I don’t want to always show the tough parts of parenting because I want to respect my boys privacy. For other parents they may not want to show the less than angelic sides of their children for fear that it reflects on them as parents but I truly believe that if everyone was more honest about the challenges as well as the fantastic certificates, rewards and school reports that their children receive it would help others so much realise that perfect parenting is as real as unicorns!
She always gets it right
Who in this world has never made a mistake in living their own lives let alone being in charge of children and helping them shape theirs? Its ludicrous to think that parents always get it right! In fact, I would go so far as to say that part of being a good parent IS making mistakes and showing your children the right way to handle them. How to know when you are wrong, how to apologise, how to cope when plans change at the last minute, how to deal with disappointment or a bad judgment call. We put too much pressure on ourselves to ‘get it right’ all the time when in fact we forget the valuable lessons we are teaching when our children see us ‘getting it wrong’ but sorting it out. There is no parent in this world who has never made a mistake and everyone is capable of glossing over the ugly truth to show a prettier reality. We used to say “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers” , I think todays version of that should be “don’t believe everything you see on social media”.
So there you have it, 5 reasons why you (and me) will never be the perfect mother. I hope that in reading them you have been reminded of the power of honesty both to ourselves and our fellow parents. In trying to show how wonderful life is we are missing out on so much understanding, support and laughter with and at our fellow parents when we share the days that don’t go to plan. And when you do have those days when everyone seems to totally have parenting nailed, think of me…sending my son off to school shoe and earless with toothpaste dribble down my top and you remember that real beats perfect every day.
I’m happy with being perfectly imperfect and you should be too!