Last night the wife and I got talking about why we decided to switch off the privacy settings on our social media accounts and begin sharing our lives with the big wide world. Before doing so we kept all that was happening sealed off, accessible only to a select few who could see and know what we were doing.
So here is the reason I switched off the security setting and let you all in.
Florence was about 3 months old. She had barely slept the whole 3 months because colic had reared its brutal ugly head. Having only recently changed careers, I had started a brand new job 2 weeks before she was born. I felt like I was treading water. Occasionally it all got to much and my head would go under. I didn’t really talk about how I was feeling at the time as I didn’t really have much opportunity to talk to people, let alone anyone who I felt would understand or was in the same situation. I was feeling properly bleeding stressed out.
Then one day after work I walked through front door and the in-laws were having cuddles with Florence. Honestly I couldn’t be arsed talking just wanted to get a drink, them to go home before the nightmare of bedtime kicked off. However I am a fecking gentleman so I asked if anyone would like a drink. As everyone does when you really cannot be arsed to make drinks, they all churped up that they wanted one. So I trudged off to the kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised that when I got there the father-in-law had got up and followed me. The conversation started off with the usual ‘ How’s it going?’ generally chit chat before he said something that knocked my socks off.
‘Felt like you want to throw her out the window yet’?
I was blown away and it wasn’t because I was horrified at what he had said. It was because I had thought that exact same thing numerous times at 3am when I hadn’t slept, and instead I had been rocking, singing and dancing like a dick head for hours. In that moment I knew I was not the only one who had felt and thought like this. And it’s not that I would have thrown her out the window, but having these thoughts and feeling so stressed was making me feel horrendous. I felt like a proper shit daddy for feeling how I did. Now I was not feeling this way all the time. Generally I was loving being a parent but when it was bad it felt fucking awful.
Anyways after this little eye opener I decided that when people asked how it was going, how I was finding parenting I would give them the whole story. Not just the Disney version but the good, the bad and the ugly. I found people found it really helpful, I even had expectant parents in work telling other expectant parents to talk to me.
Then I joined Instagram. All I saw was people talking about their perfect child, perfectly sat listening or playing perfectly with their perfect parents who had captured the perfect picture at the perfect time. Everything was perfect. Every picture, every description; perfect. Looking at all these pictures created the idea that 100% of the time these parents and their children were perfect. They were all happy. And that’s great. I love seeing those profiles. They make me happy reading them and hearing about the wonderful things they are getting up to. I understand why people want to only post and talk about all the nice things about parenting.
However for me that is not my reality of parenting. It’s not perfect and it isn’t always happy. I wanted to give the full picture of how me and my family experience life as we fumble along. The aim being simple. If what I talk about helps someone like my father-in-law helped me then I feel I have given something back, helped another parent who might have been struggling like I was.
So I talk and will talk about all the positive things about parenting. I will talk about how proud I am of my children. How much I love them. How I am happier now since they came into this world than I have ever been. All the positive emotions these two little ladies fill me with, the joy, the admiration, the love, will be plastered across my social media.
However I am not going to limit it to that. You will also hear all the hard things about parenting. You will hear the negative side of things. How emotionally at times I feel more anxious, sad, helpless, frustrated and angry than I did before I had kids.
I will share the emotional rollercoaster because I don’t want to just show happy times. Happiness to me is only part of the picture, a great part, but still only a snippet. The main picture is how meaningful it all is. I hope that by doing this people will read my stuff, enjoy it, laugh, maybe cry, but most of all know that they are not alone, that we as parents are in it together.