Social media’s brilliant, isn’t it? You can essentially find out what’s going on in everyone’s life (including all those people you knew 20 years ago who you haven’t seen since) and have a good nosey through their family photo albums without even leaving your couch and turning Corrie off.
I imagine most of us are guilty of the slightly-showy-offy updates, but there are 3 types of update in particular that will make you feel like an inadequate parent. Don’t worry, though, we also have the reality that might just make you feel a bit better.
1. The “7-days-post-partum and out for a 40 million mile run” update
You know the sort.
“Mrs Perfect logged a run with some random app. She ran 4o million miles in 7 and half minutes. Oh, and did you know she only gave birth a week ago?” Here’s a map with a blue line on it to show you just how far that is…
You read that while your 4 month old baby sleeps and you haven’t hit the treadmill once since you gave birth. That makes you feel pretty poor, right.
The Reality: Best case scenario, she’s the super fit type who’s been super fit forever and will recover super fitness super speedily. And she’s ready to do it now. Worst case – she’s unable to feel happy with a baby body she should actually be proud of. If you’re not ready to start stomping the streets while your baby sleeps, don’t sweat it. All in good time. You have enough to deal with right now. If you’re eating relatively healthily and keeping baby happy and healthy, then you’re doing pretty damn well. And that baby weight? Stop looking at your stomach and start looking at that amazing little thing you made.
2. The “my baby is already sleeping through,” update
This is the worst type of update to encounter when you’re suffering the effects of another night of just 2 hours of sleep. First, you think they’re the luckiest parents in the world. Then you start thinking their routine is great. And your routine is non-existent? Or maybe your routine is wrong? Maybe you are doing parenting all wrong and your child will never sleep because you are doing it wrong.
The Reality: You’re not doing it wrong. Routines vary from family to family. There’s not a single universally right routine – there’s just the routine that’s right for you. And even if you have a to-the-second routine your baby might not sleep through the night. Even if you teach them to settle themselves and you put them down at the same time every night, they might wake for a feed/cuddle/cry in the middle of the night.
That doesn’t make you a bad parent.
If your baby is happy and healthy, you’re doing a great job. The sleep will come (I’m assured!) in good time.
Besides, if your baby wakes up a couple of times in the night, that’s a couple of bonus night time cuddles the parents of early sleeper-throughers don’t get 😉
3. The “House all Clean, Baby Fed and Napping…” Update
You read this on your mobile with a baby sleeping in one arm and surrounded by toys. And more toys. And clothes you’ve taken baby out of cos he puked on them. And your kitchen is carnage because you haven’t cleaned it since dinner last night. If your friends can manage with babies of a similar age and they can get all the house work done and they can prepare a lovely dinner for their husbands, that makes you a terrible parent and wife, right?
The reality: You know what I do when he naps during the day? I watching him. I know it’s probably weird. But I spend the first few minutes just looking at him. I love to just look at him. And I’ll get to the house work, room by room, slowly over the course of a couple of days. My husband will help. As for the Mums who, the second their little one is asleep, as blitzing the house at lightning speed and preparing everything for the dinner, good for them. That’s brilliant. And it works for them. But what works for me a priority list. And the housework comes below him, of course, and then below things like making up his food in advance and making sure I am on top of my work. It all comes down to what works for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of respect for the Mums who can keep a child healthy and happy and manage to do a ridiculously long run each day, clean the house and have routines so pristine that nothing ever goes not-to-plan. But behind every Instagram Photo and every Facebook updates are the things they’re not getting quite perfect – and it’s those they won’t tell you about So don’t sweat the small stuff. Baby happy? Then you’re doing just fine…