Celebrating the warts and all parents who tell it like it really is
- Credit: Ruth Davies
When I began blogging a decade ago the trend for 'sharenting' mothers (there were few blogging dads on the scene back then) was very much to show only the shiny side of parenting – you know, where everything goes right accompanied by perfectly well behaved children who were never a bother to their parents.
The very parents who had all the time in the world to create lavishly-themed packed lunches and continue to work full time, pick the kids up from school, wear size 10 dresses shown off for pictures on beautifully pastel coloured front doorsteps, husbands with high powered jobs who still managed to be present at all family activities, never showing an ounce of an argument and basically living the perfect, creative, crafty, wonderful life.
Some of them also home schooled (out of choice – can you imagine?!) on top and I used to look at them through my not-quite-the-right-side-of-clean fringe and think how?!
I had a small baby, was leaking any ounce of creativity I had through night feeds and I felt frumpy, old, lonely and like I was failing.
Looking at these beacons of parenting perfection didn’t help, it made it all worse.
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Then, after I began my own blog and met some of the bloggerati, I realised… it’s because it was simply all a smoke and mirrors portrayal of only the good bits.
- 1 Man taken to hospital after cardiac arrest at beach
- 2 Risk of flooding in parts of region as storms slowly move in
- 3 Trains cancelled due to flooding - and more heavy rain expected
- 4 Incredible aerial photos show scale of Latitude Festival
- 5 Never mind the limo - aspiring farmer rides tractor to prom night
- 6 Joy and relief as Latitude passes off successfully
- 7 More storms ahead as flood warnings remain in place
- 8 Norwich Bus Station building closed due to Covid ping
- 9 Former hunting lodge for sale for £1.695m with huge lake
- 10 Eagle-eyed plane spotter saves pilot's life
Rose-tinted postings of parenting was never for me and I decided early on to document the meltdowns, freezer-foraged beige suppers, not getting anywhere near a size 10 and my front door complete with ruddy great dent (scooter damage) in a more honest approach to blogging.
I have days where it all comes good and show them too but for me, the tantrums and tears (just my own at times) felt more important to share because if we can’t be real then how can anyone take any solace and feel akin?
Over the years my approach, which I wouldn’t say always served me well in the beginning – not quite shiny enough wasn’t necessarily de-rigueur, has become far more popular and I’d say though we still do have the yummy mummy brigade who look like models, live lives of the rich and famous and always look (at least) like everything is brilliant, we do have some absolutely fab influencers, bloggers and celebrities who have embraced the slummy mummy sharenting just as much as the golden hours.
These are the parents I love to follow, those with cherries on top as well as poo under the fingernails. They’re the people who get me through leaky night feeds, long days and especially, right now, the isolation of lockdown. I thought you might like to check out some of my fave online parenter/sharenters who tell it like it really is!
Lorna AKA @MrsHayward – Glams it up for a party and on the other side of the coin she saves washing sick out of her hair after a night time vom-bomb of fun (parents, you’ll know) for a “treat” later on in a day time bath, hates exercise (forces herself) and as she makes cleansing smoothies with all the good intentions every Monday morning, you know by Friday evening she’ll be enjoying a pale rose - She never fails to lift my spirits!
Rich and Lew of the @TwoDadsInLondon – If you don’t follow this pair you must! Daily dances, adoption truths, living as a same sex parenting couple, all the banter, love and reality of family life with a good measure of working for the NHS, Disney obsessions and dog walking to escape. They’ll feel like best friends within seconds of following them!
Lil from @Lilandlife – My “go to” for family recipe inspiration making it not just look simple but showing how you can cheat your way to making it an easy life. She welcomes you into her mid renovated home amid the chaos, laughter and life three girls and a dog bring. Following Lily is more than great food, she’s solidarity in a cuppa!
Rosie is @Rosemarinoramsay and she cracks me up with marital banter, lockdown woes, floor cleaning and crumpet slippers. She’s just had a new baby and husband Chris, whose idea of getting kids ready for school is to wait for them by the door, broke his foot a few days later. Poor Rosie, she delivers the one liners with a raise of the eyebrow that tells me she’s one of us!
Olga of @Big_Fat_Greekmother is a skit writing, character performing, teacher, mother, fashionista (from an 80s charity shop – with aplomb) and all round good egg. She shares tears, fears and compassion in a way only usually seen from a best friend in real life. Warm to the max and somehow gives her followers a beautiful hug from inside her phone. Wonderous!
Giovanna Fletcher – If you haven’t heard of @MrsGiFletcher where have you been? Queen of the Welsh jungle and married to Tom from McFly, she should be shiny on all levels right?! Wrong! Gi shares motherhood truths showing that just like the rest of us she goes red when exercising, cries when she misses her kids and needs a giggle with her mates. I’ve met Gi through work a few times and she really looks at you when you talk, really cares and what comes across on her socials is anything but a celeb of shining perfection. She’s real!
Other parents I love to follow are @CookieCrumblesUK, @TheFatFunnyOne, @HeySareta, @MyleneKlass and TobyAndRoo – all for the same reason, they keep it real baby!
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk