I have read some interesting online comments about parenting blogs this week. When I say 'interesting' I mean they have ranged from the bizarre to the mildly offensive. A general theme seems to be a dislike for 'honest parenting' and an agreement that some things should remain unsaid. As if moaning about life with children is not the Done Thing. Sweary warts and all accounts of motherhood and fatherhood are not welcome, in certain circles. Perhaps they just make everybody feel a tad awkward. Sorry about that...
As somebody who has always vowed to give my honest take on this here parenting lark, I'm actually not surprised that there has been a bit of a backlash. There has to be a reason why the glossier parenting blogs have flooded the market. They are popular because people enjoy looking at nice houses and nicely turned out children (and husbands) with catalogue smiles. I'm fairly certain even those parents have their 'off' days and mutter for fuck's sake under their breath from time to time, perhaps when their three year old throws a 200 piece puzzle on the floor at the same time the baby is sick on the cat. But they choose to blog almost solely about the good bits. Which is great, if you like that kind of thing.
In equal measure, even us 'honest bloggers' have stuff we choose not to blog about. Not because we are filtering our lives for the worse but because an account of our day out when everything was just tickety-boo is just not always that interesting. When I blogged 'It's okay to lose your shit' (after a particularly testing day) I hoped it could really do something. And I think it did - the number of messages of support from mums with PND was staggering. Thanks for making us feel normal, they said. My pleasure.
Had I blogged 'Our wonderful family day out on Dartmoor' I doubt it would have had any impact at all. But just because something is not the best fit for the blog doesn't mean it didn't happen. It is foolish to assume that so-called 'honest parents' don't enjoy the balance, that between the muttered swearing and hatred of Bubble Guppies we too don't whisper 'love you to the moon and back' each night whilst tucking our little buggers into bed. We really do. We probably just dash downstairs for a glass of wine and breathe a 'thank fuck for that' sigh a bit quicker than most.
It is also quite harsh to suggest that writers and followers of blogs like mine are ungrateful for the blessings that are our children. When you are having a rough day, when everything seems just a little bit shit, the last thing you need to hear is 'you don't know how lucky you are.' I think we are all agreed on how lucky we are, thank you. We are just also agreed on how sodding difficult being a parent is [well maybe not everybody: "It's not even that hard" read one comment - good for you love]. For most of us, hearing from other parents at the end of their tethers can be reassuring. In fact last week I received two messages from mums who had conceived through IVF, telling me the guilt they carry for not enjoying every second is WORSE because they are constantly reminded by others how much they longed for that child. Jesus. Can we not cut each other some slack?
I don't know what the point of this post was really, other than to say I hope there is room for all sorts of parenting blogs to co-exist. I was inspired by Brummy Mummy of 2's post which is along the same lines *virtual high five.* So I'm afraid I won't be uploading face painting tips, or '10 Things to do in half term' anytime soon. I will leave those blogs to the experts. I am much more likely to detail the trauma of a trip to B&Q, or the things that have driven me crazy before breakfast. And all the while I'll be saving the other photos and memories for the private family album...yes even I have one of those.
The Unmumsy Mum