I’ve made my feelings on social media lives very clear. It’s not real life. It’s one dimensional. And that dimension is generally made up of a groaning lack of honesty and perspective.
Today, I woke up feeling rubbish. By breakfast, my mind had decided this was going to be a Bad and Hard Day. I wasn’t so far into the funk that I couldn’t work out healthy ways to try to keep us on track. Didn’t mean I didn’t leave Monster Minor to fall off his chair in a shit-for-brains rage at me. Also didn’t mean I didn’t grumpily and unnecessarily refuse to help Monster Major put on a Gruffalo costume. But it did mean I didn’t let the guilt of those things pull me under and I had enough rationale to realise we needed an activity to keep us on track. Though all I wanted to do was lie on the playroom sofa and drink coffee, I’m thankful that, today, I could muster enough rationalisation to see that that would only result in me getting cross with inevitably becoming a Monster climbing-frame. And I’m thankful that I could claw together just enough motivation to get out the play-doh. But there must have been a small element of mental-capacity loss, because I am fully aware I’m not capable of play-doh-patience.
Whilst the children bashed, rolled and generally explored, I was able to absorb myself in some modelling and we all just enjoyed not having to try to enjoy each other’s company. Then, slowly, Monster Minor got bored. But I wasn’t finished with modelling my elf, so I got cross. So he got more unreasonable. So I washed his hands and grumbled at him for not occupying himself. Then Monster Major’s efforts (or lack of) became more noticeable, and I began to nag him. Which put him off. Which made me crosser, which made him more reluctant. And we finished play-doh with a slightly sour taste. I was Grumpy, Pushy, Unfair, Non-Fun Mum and they were Unattentive Monster and LackofEffort Monster.
But I looked at the photos I’d taken during the session, and for a fuckhead fleeting moment thought ‘Ooh, these’d look good with an Instagram filter’. ‘Play-doh with my faves! ❤ ❤ #rainydays #playdoh #lovethem #creativityiskey’ Ok, so I wouldn’t have gone that far. But I was shocked that the thought of publishing the photo on social media even came into my mind.
Publishing that photo would show a parenting win. But not the parenting win it really was. It would give the impression that I’m a motivated parent who loves to do messy play with her children, who is patient, caring and child-centred and who has a handle on life. But that wouldn’t be true. It wouldn’t show the parenting win that I actually got out of bed today. That I fed the children AND myself. That I didn’t cry when the Monsters lost their shit. That I tried to keep them occupied so that we wouldn’t all melt down. That I text Husband Dearest to say I was feeling shit because of me, and didn’t try to fabricate some excuse. That I didn’t berate myself for not homecooking our meals, and just getting something out of the freezer. That I allowed myself the space to accept today was a weepy, rubbish, not-feeling-it day, and not let it bother me for tomorrow. That is my parenting win today. But this photo wouldn’t show that. It’d make others having the day from hell feel a little more hellish, those who had snapped today feel a little snappier, and those who felt like shit, feel shittier and shittier. That’s a lot of pressure on a crap little play-doh unicorn’s shoulders. (Do unicorns even have shoulders?)
I’m not being a total twat here. I do use social media. I burst with pride, laugh my pelvic floor loose and combust with love sometimes, and I just want to celebrate that with the world. And really, that still won’t help those feeling hellish, snappy or shit. But I vow not to polish my turds and perfectly package them using the Reyes filter, for my own reassurance. And I urge others to stop it too. Call a spade, a spade… sometimes life is hard. If you’re having a crap day today, know that somewhere in the world, I’m here, failing at life, taking my hopelessness out on poor, innocent play-doh apparitions.