When I was pregnant, I started an Instagram that would solely be for the purposes of sharing lovely pictures of the small one and browsing through online baby ’boutiques’. Well, curiosity killed the cat and I found myself dead amongst the sea of what I like to call the “Insta-Mum”. These mums seem to really have their shit together, photographs of perfect sleeping babies in perfectly decorated nurseries. These mums make their own Christmas decorations which involve them collecting twigs and leaves in the woods that are so conveniently close to their homes. They seem to always find time before that steaming cup of coffee or tea to place sprigs of lavender, dried orange and cinnamon sticks to take a picture of the moment. The lighting is always perfect and the drink is always hot. Their babies never seem to have the full scale meltdowns that mine sometimes (rarely) does and seem to be babying their way through life with expert skill.
I however, am not an Insta-mum but I’ve found myself staring at my hot drink with my brain ticking away as to what odds and ends are around my house to deem some hypothetical picture worthy of likes. I currently am documenting my small human’s life through the eyes of my iPhone 7 Plus but I’ve contemplated buying a DSLR to take those beautifully dusty yet high quality images that are so swift to get a double tap. Now I am guilty of a hashtag (or 20) but they seem to be more influential without them.
But why? What makes these mums seem better than me? Is it because they have thousands of followers and hundreds of likes on an image of nothing more than a chopping board with some perfectly sliced bread and a knife at a jaunty angle? Half the time it’s not even a bread knife, which makes me doubt the validity of this perfect parallel Instagram life that they portray.
Now there is one person on Instagram who I do not regret following, Cigarettes And Calpol AKA Mia. Mia is actually the girlfriend of a guy who my husband knows from when we lived in London (mouthful right) and she is just about the only Insta-mum who seems to keep it real. Mia gets sick and wants to lay in bed all day and not “mum” just like me, she has normal people ‘fun’ in her relationship, that its not just endorsements and “likes” on a picture, she genuinely just wants to document and share the highs and the lows of being a parent and if her current pregnancy is anything to go by, she’s just as opinionated and strong willed as I am.
There is no handbook to parenting as we all know, but sometimes we find ourselves doing the one thing that is possibly the worst thing we can do: comparing ourselves to others. Likes on my picture don’t equate to how I felt the moment I took it, how I feel looking at it or how I will feel in days, weeks or years to come looking back on it. They don’t equate to the endless supply of kisses and cuddles I have for my small human. They definitely don’t equate to my ability as a mother.
Sometimes we just have to remember that they’ve probably had to make the same choices as the rest of us. Do you cut your baby’s clothes off or risking pulling that vest over their head and covering them head to toe in poo.