Written by Camilla-Erika Campbell for her blog, Mummy’s Winter Robin.
I first wrote this post a year ago when Robin was weeks old. I decided to take an afternoon off, go into town, drink coffee and relax the best I could. I didn’t set out to write about this but it was very much in the forefront of my mind being a brand new mum. A lot has changed in the last year (as you can imagine) I am now back at work and Robin is 14 months old. But when I read this I still identify with what I wrote back then and whether you are a mum or not I still think everyone can relate with this.
Social Media + Feeling Shit = Never a Good Match
What I’m about to talk about is nothing new and to be honest isn’t even unique to me being a new mum. It is something many of us suffer from and mostly at our own peril. It’s the darker side of social media and how crappy it can make you feel.
Like many people whenever I pick up my phone it is a case of let’s have a quick look at Facebook or Instagram and see what is going on. I blame not only my nosy qualities but my interest in social media professionally, it’s like a double whammy for me! Anyway I never stop to think about how I am feeling when I hit the app on my phone and if I am actually in the right frame of mind to do so. Most of the time I’m feeling pretty good and viewing other people’s lives doesn’t affect me. But today is a classic example of when maybe I should stay away.
As you can imagine with a newborn baby I haven’t had much me time. In fact pretty much zilch. If I’m not with Robin all the time I am running around the house doing washing, tidying up etc. So today I thought I would get some me time, do a bit of retail therapy, grab a coffee and do some writing. Pre-baby I used to spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Over the years it has been my go to place for socialising, catch ups, studying, me time, reflection time. As I write this now I am sitting in a Starbucks in the city centre of Aberdeen grabbing back a bit of me. The fact that I am even having me time is weird. Where is Robin? Where is his massive change bag?
Before I got here I went to Tesco to look at baby stuff and maybe even get a couple of outfits for me. Basically it was a disaster and everything I tried on looked awful. I came out of Tesco feeling shit about myself and how I look. Not only that but I was slightly annoyed that I’d managed to now piss myself off in my ‘me time’. I got into the car, had a quick look at Facebook and Instagram and that’s where the mistake came. I mean I’m sure we have all done this, you feel like crap and then you see loads of pics of people looking great on Facebook which basically makes you feel even more like crap.
So it made me want to write about it.
Ever since I fell pregnant I felt myself becoming insecure and now that Robin is here I feel insecure in a different way. Body image (although that’s always been there), am I doing the right things? Can I cut it as a mum? Guilt for wanting to go back to work, guilt for wanting time to pass more quickly etc. And as a new mum you spend a lot of time online looking up forums and perusing social media. I have to admit I get jealous when I see other people’s updates. People out enjoying the sun, having a drink whilst I take myself up to bed at 8pm when it feels like the middle of the day! Sometimes I think “ I wonder what their life is like” as I look at the smiley happy pictures people post up of their trips away or weekends chilling out. It is no secret I miss my old life and I have been struggling to adjust to motherhood. Call me selfish but I don’t feel like being at home raising children is enough for me. Some may turn round and say “well you should have never had a child”. Don’t get me wrong I love Robin and we have great times. But it is hard, it is really hard and I’m the first to admit that sometimes I think I am too selfish to have a child.
The number one rule of social media is only post the good stuff.
We have to remember that social media is NOT a true reflection of anyone’s life and we need to sometimes remind ourselves this, especially when we feel shitty. Take my feeds of late, I’ve turned into one of those people who keep posting up pics of their baby that everyone hates seeing. Or a nice smiley pic of the family. But in reality that picture you see was probably the 20th take with filters added to it. It represents a snap moment in time, or does it?! I recently put up a pic on Instagram of us as a family at the beach, smiles and all. Yes, it was nice to get out but actually most of the trip was stressful. Taking a baby to the beach with a picnic required so much organisation that when Robin was grumpy the whole time and kept crying it made me feel shit. Surely I am not alone here. No one hardly posts up the shit moments where they are hungover and look like crap, or have only had a few hours sleep tending to their newborn or are feeling low.
I guess that’s one of the reasons I decided to write my motherhood blog. Obviously I am sharing happy pictures but I also wanted to address the real life first time mum experience for me. It isn’t all happy with bells on, sometimes it is shit. Sometimes you think you are getting somewhere and then something happens and you go back to square one. That’s life. If you ask me how being a mum is I won’t give you the glossy crap lots of people do. It’s not me.
So remember next time you click on to Instagram or Facebook and someone is sharing the good stuff in their life (and why shouldn’t they?!) that it doesn’t tell the whole story. EVERYONE has something going on you may not know about whether it is personal, professional or whatever. Their social feeds don’t tell the whole story so stop comparing your life to theirs. Have you ever stopped to consider that perhaps someone is doing the same to your feed?
Just because one new mum may be able to take her new born baby into public as soon as they are home doesn’t mean because it took you a couple of months to do this there is anything wrong! Or perhaps someone has lost all their baby weight really quickly. Really, who cares? Being a new mum is hard enough without you putting extra pressures on yourself from a perceived world. So step back and think. You are doing great! We all are.