Monday, 23 February 2015

Why I'm no super mum: The truth behind the Facebook photos

www.lisamaltby.com

Why I'm no super mum: The truth behind the Facebook photos


I’ll admit it, I’m pretty stubborn. When people told me I’d have to give up things to become a mother I scoffed at the notion of letting children rule my life. I was not, under any circumstances, going to be one of those mothers. I would wince when I was told things like ‘say bye, bye to your flat tummy!’ and ‘you won’t be able to paint your nails when baby comes.’  There were friends who seemed to achieve amazing things on top of juggling a family (as if raising children wasn't amazing enough on its own), at least it seemed that way from their Facebook feed. I secretly hoped that I could be one of those super mothers who ‘had it all.’  

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An idyllic mother and child scene you might see on most mother's facebook profile pics

Once you become a mother, the inspirational images of woman in lycra, showing off their six packs and lifting a baby over their head with their ridiculously toned arms, are no longer that inspirational. Instead of making women feel good they make them feel a little bit inadequate. Sure, we want to know that it’s possible, but the reality of me getting a six-pack is about as likely as me getting through my laundry pile today. It kind of got me thinking about some of the lies we are fed on social media about what we are expected to become once we have children. We’re thrown lines like ‘well, she can do it, so can you!’ and we see a Facebook feed of family selfies, looking like they've just won the lottery. We compare our lives to theirs and convince ourselves that we’re constantly failing.

So, here are some of the things that I might post on Facebook which may provoke other mothers to say ‘wow, I don’t know how you do it!” As though I’m superwoman. Short of flicking my hair back wistfully and saying ‘oh, it’s nothing’, I’m here to expose the truth on the mothers who make you feel like you should 'have it all.'

1. What I want you to see on Facebook: My social life
Just because I have children doesn't mean I can't let my hair down, right? I can still party like the best of them. Hell, I'm always going out for drinks with my girlfriends and on dates with my husband, tagging myself in Pizza Express or uploading a photo of my mojito. Ooh, yay me!

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I can't believe I'm going out,  AGAIN! I'm just so rock and roll.

The reality of a mother with a social life:
The reality is that when I get home from (rare occasions of) socialising, my three month old is just waking up for a feed. After two hour's sleep, at 6am the next morning, all four family members will be in my bed. My eldest will jump on me, my youngest will puke on me and the bed smells of farts (no names mentioned, but I went out for a curry). This is not a great remedy for nursing a hangover, believe me.

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The morning after

2. What I want you to see on Facebook: A flat stomach.
I’m determined to get rid of the love handles by my finely tuned exercise regime. I might post something on Facebook, like, "Time for a workout!" Like you actually give a crap. You imagine me doing press-ups with my baby strapped to my back, followed by me downing a pomegranate smoothie. 

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Just off for a workout! Yay, I'm so pumped up!
The reality of having a flat stomach:
In order to workout I don’t have time to tidy away the toys or put the first load of washing on for the day. I don’t have time to shop for groceries or dust my house. I can't afford the gym. After I've dropped my four year old off at nursery and put my 3 month old down for a nap, I reluctantly roll out the yoga mat that has ben shoved behind my sofa. I find it knackering (and that's just getting the mat out). What keeping fit looks like for me is wearing old, paint splattered leggings and a greying nursing bra because I haven’t had time to shop for any appropriate gym attire. Sometimes I get my old gym clothes OUT of the washing basket to wear again because I haven’t had time to wash them. Then I do ridiculous exercises, like dancing round the lounge like a complete and utter nob head. It’s not the most aspiring scene, but it means I get a flat stomach in about a frigging year or two.

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How I look doing a workout. Please note the piles of washing and general state of my house in the background.


3. What I want you to see on Facebook: My artistic career
Kids don't stop me from ploughing on with my creative aspirations. No way, josé! I am doing oh so well in life, juggling all this with having a family too, right?

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Just working on another commission… I'm OH so successful in life.

The reality of freelance work:
The reality of this is that my work desk is also the dinner table AND the colouring in table all rolled into one. I either do my work at night or amidst chaos, sometimes at the same time as rocking my newborn with my right foot and playing card games with my four year old with my left hand. I have become an expert in photoshop at editing out sticky finger marks and glued on raisins. In order to prioritise creative projects, I sometimes eat Doritos for breakfast or steal my four year old's chocolate. See, I’m a really bad mother all for the sake of a bit of art. 

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My office


4. What I want you to see on Facebook: An idyllic family
I am managing to juggle family life with ease, always going out of lunch with my cute, well-behaved kids. Living. The. Dream.

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Out for lunch with this cute little fella!

The reality of family life
Balancing everything is pretty damn hard work. Besides which, my children aren't always idyllic. Yes, it's true (and neither am I at 3am). Although you may see angelic photos of my children out for lunch with me on facebook, don’t let that fool you. The reality is that five minutes later my three-month-old will have leaked shit onto my leg and my four-year-old will have had an almighty tantrum in the middle of Starbucks.

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He found out about the chocolate



And just for the record, I’m writing this post while I’m sat on the toilet*

*and no, you can't see a picture 

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