The Guilt

Oh, how I love Steff.  She’s dealt with THE JUDGEMENTAL INTERNET and THE MOTHERHOOD GUILT TRAIN in one superb, ranty, eloquent post and knocked them both out of the park.  It will come as no surprise that I agree with Steff’s points (hello, day 5 of working and being a mother) – not all of you will agree like I do, but I bet you emerge from this post wanting to poke the Internet in its judgey-face eye.

And who could ask for more than that on a Wednesday?

Over to you, Steff:

This has been building for a while, I’ve been mulling it over quietly for a long time, not so quietly in the last few months and I’ve finally reached my tipping point.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge lover of technology.  I love social media for all the wonderful ways in which it has made the world a much smaller place.  It means I can keep up with the goings on of all my friends who are out globetrotting and they, in turn, can bore themselves witless looking at endless photos of The Peas should they so desire.  It does things like reunite lost dogs and teddy bears with their owners (Max and Cheesy Leo thank you, internet!), raise awareness of brilliant campaigns that seem to spawn from nowhere (no makeup selfie anyone?) and bring together communities of like-minded people previously geographically separated (oh hi lovely AOW ladies of Twitter!).  It does all these brilliant things and so much more but because the content is largely ungoverned and community generated it opens gates for all manner of unsavoury topics to pass in front of your eyes.

When my own mum became a mother and, indeed, when my older sisters became mothers social media wasn’t around to lecture them about how to parent their children properly, they had their elders for that.  I’m not so fortunate, sure I have my elders but I also have this faceless, nameless, preachy monkey on my back constantly telling me I’m doing the wrong thing, I’m not crafty enough, I spend too much time cleaning (HAH! As if!).

Somehow, somewhere I lost control of what I was seeing on social media (Facebook in particular).  I no longer have the ability to not watch a video that my friend has shared of a woman beating a baby with a pillow because the Facebook app automatically plays videos that you scroll to.  I see what my ‘friends’ have ‘liked’ but not the content of the page that I have ‘liked’.  I see things that the girl I went to high school with posts but not the things my mother in law posts.  So in the past you may have told me to just stop following the people who post these guild inducing posts but now my only option is to opt out altogether.

Before I became a mother myself I would see these particular posts floating around my timeline and vaguely ponder the nice words and the pretty pictures.  That has changed since The Peas arrived.  Perhaps I’m over sensitive.  Perhaps my own insecurities are what I’m fighting against but I know one thing is for sure, if I’m feeling it then someone else out there is too and I’ve had enough of it.  Whether well meaning, innocent or downright laden with agenda, the guilt has to stop.

Posts which preach how important it is to spend time with your children, that they’re only young for a short time, that the washing can wait, that you can surely spend a few years as a stay at home mum rather than working, that it only takes seconds to give your child a hug.  I know all of these things, I do.  I feel bad enough about the fact that I spend 3 days working and not with my girls.  It’s taken me over a year to be able to feel happy about returning to rugby and indulging in a little “me” time on a regular basis.  I don’t need to be bombarded with these passive aggressive poems making me feel just a little bit more shit about myself each time I see them.

If I don’t work my children won’t eat, pure and simple.  They won’t have a nice warm house to play in or toys to play with.  If I don’t put them in the travel cot for 15 minutes with some toys to entertain them they won’t have any clothes to wear or clean dishes to eat from or clean floors to play on.

 

Do you know what though?  Here’s the REALLY controversial bit… I WANT to work.  I know, terrible right?!  I want my girls to feel confident without me around, to know that they have each other for support, they have an extended family for support, they have nursery teachers and friends for support.  It’s important to me that they know how to interact with other people and learn respect and sharing and acceptance of differences and, in my opinion, my returning to work and their being cared for by other, trusted, adults will only nurture this.

Life is hard and I passionately don’t want that to come as a shock to The Peas because they’ve been wrapped in cotton wool their whole lives.  I want to raise 2 independent little girls who understand that it isn’t all peaches and cream.  That you have to work for a living, you have to strive to get what you want and not everything is handed to you on a plate.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way judging anybody and their circumstances.  I understand that I’m very fortunate to be able to return to work thanks to 2 very generous grandmothers and that for some returning to work just isn’t financially viable.  I just want the internet, and people in general, to stop being so damn judgemental and preachey.

Get off your soap box internet.  Let parents be parents, they’re doing their best the only way they know how.  Stop being a dick and just support them.  Build them up, don’t knock them down.  Let’s embrace the differences and just get along shall we?

 

Categories: Becoming a Mother
23 interesting thoughts on this

23 Comments

  1. Posted July 9, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Oh facebook has a lot to answer for! I have no experience of the whole being a mother thing but it’s clear when i am one ill have to go back to work. These posts and conversations with friends (also not mothers) who will have the luxury of choice gives me a glimpse of how emotive this whole thing is and its pretty scary.

    I Think your doing a great job and the peas don’t look to be missing out on anything xox

    • Posted July 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you love. It’s such a divisive topic and, much like the breast v bottle feeding debate, it really doesn’t need to be. People do different things and that’s just the way it is. xx

  2. Posted July 9, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I hate the way people use Facebook these days. Those poster thingies are stupid. I sometimes pin “inspirational” quotes but pinterest is full of images and they’re easier to take on there. Facebook is where I wasn’t to catch up with family members. It’s where I want to see pictures of my nephew and neice and my friends’ children/weddings etc. I don’t get the pictures with text on AT ALL. It’s not just saying how to parent either, it’s saying how to live and it is nonsense. So I have no ideacifcI agree with the stuff about how to parent a child in this post or those Facebook posters but I agree they have to stop (apart from the TYCI ones but I promise I’ll try and only “like” those on instagram from now on).

    • Posted July 9, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Exactly this!! I really don’t like the fact that the things that I ‘like’ appear for other people. It just adds another narky voice in the back of my head telling me not to like things for fear of pissing other people off. It’s never ending. G and I debate this at length quite regularly (yep, we’re that rock and roll!) and I think it all comes down to FB losing the focus and trying to hard to monetise itself. It’s sad. x

  3. Fee
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Steff, I am standing up clapping! There is nothing that gets my goat more than these things. The there seems to be ‘Here is an ‘inspirational’ quote that make me feel good at the expense of others’. I’m sure people post them without considering the subtext but MAN ALIVE CONSIDER THE SUBTEXT.

    There was one a while ago that said something along the lines of ‘There comes a time in life when fun no longer means late nights out and thinking of yourself, it means family dinners and only thinking of your child’. Now, when IS this time in life? Some people don’t want children or sadly can’t have them. I have a child and I still love nights out and often think about myself. I’m breaking the rules of ‘inspirational quote’ parenting!

    • Posted July 9, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I really effing hate this one. Really hate it. It’s started to pop up on my facebook and I want to tell people to eff off and stop being so effing sanctimonious. And stop trying to make themselves feel better about how effing dull their life is at my expense, because they are regretting or envious of certain elements of our different lifestyles.

      Ahem. I don’t even have or particularly want to have kids and these really annoy me.

      • Posted July 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t seen that particular one, thankfully. I think I’ve blocked the worst offenders. I love me a night out. LOVE it. Doesn’t mean I love my kids any less… they’ll be in their bed anyway!!

        I’m sure people do mean it innocently but I have a habit of reading too much into things, they get my brain whirring and there’s no turning back. xx

      • Posted July 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        YES this one!!! Does my bleeding nut in!!

        Px

  4. Rach
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    BRILLIANT. Hear, hear. x

  5. Sara
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Crawling out of the cobwebs to say ‘YES!’ and jump around in agreement! Steff, you have hit the nail on its stupid judgmental head!

    Thank you!!

  6. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    those poems just made a bit of sick come in my mouth and the stupid (made up) proverbs made me want to punch the internet.

    Eff them and anyone who peddles that shit.

    • Posted July 9, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      This is the best comment ever.

      • Posted July 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Agreed!

        • deltafoxtrotcharlie
          Posted July 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          Hahaha, thanks ladies. I think I must have been feeling particularly vociferous yesterday :)

  7. Liz
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The people who post this rubbish are largely the same people who used to send those ridiculous chain emails back in the day. (You know the ones you have to send to five people within 3 hours or something bad will happen, there were so many!).

    I just don’t get how people have time in their lives to even bother posting such rubbish.

    Oh, and I found out that there is a way to turn off the automatic videos in the setting section so you do not have to be subjected to them, it also stops using a lot of your phone/tablet’s memory space!

    • Posted July 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      You’re right. My own mother is a serial offender… sigh.

      You’re also my favourite person in the world for knowing about that setting!! Love x

  8. Zan
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Oh god the judgement. I don’t even have children and still every time I see one of these I feel judged in some stupid ‘looking into the future’ kind of way. These kind of posts are largely responsible for why I spend minimal time on Facebook these days. There’s nothing inspirational about them!

    Epic post Steff xx

    • Posted July 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks lovely. They’re so thoughtlessly damaging it enrages me quite a bit! x

  9. Katie
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Steff, I salute you. This is bloody brilliant. I especially love the line:

    I want to raise 2 independent little girls who understand that it isn’t all peaches and cream.

    You are marvellous!!

  10. Posted July 10, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Great post Steff. I don’t have kids but my mother went back to work when I was 6 weeks old. She loved me and wanted the best for me but work was a major part of her life too. Interestingly at that time (30+yrs ago) I’m not aware that anyone was really being judgmental over it. These days ALL THE INTERNET would have something to say about it. And by the way, I think I turned out pretty well and had a great relationship with my mum which I don’t think was damaged by her going to work!

  11. Cathy
    Posted July 10, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Great post! Although my two boys were born pre-facebook (and pre-internet!) I didn’t face quite the same thing…however I certainly was judged by so-called friends for returning to work when my son was 6 weeks old!I was a single Mom, so didn’t have much of a choice anyway,but with my second son I could have stayed home,but I wanted to work! I just ignored the critical opinions….I figured the only person who knew how I could be the best Mom ever was me! I was right! My sons are in their 30′s now and are wonderful,loving,intelligent,capable men. So I guess what I’m saying is don’t sweat it…be the best Mom you know you can be….love your kids……ignore the judgement out there.

  12. Sarah
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I LOVE this post. So true!! I have felt incredibly guilty about going back to work in the past thanks to all these kinds of posts on Facebook and the comments that come with them. It’s about time someone has called them up on it. Awesome post. Love to you & your girls.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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