What it's really like being a mum
Being a mother isn't always tummy kisses and photogenic babies: it can sometimes be hard work, tiring, lonely and even boring. Yet, on social media, it seems hardly anyone talks about the challenging aspects of looking after a new baby. One UK study found that 64 percent of new mums felt unbelievable pressure to be achieve "perfection".
We recently caught up with some mums and asked them to share what it was honestly like for them being a mum, and how social media can sometimes give a highly edited and filtered version of parenthood.
It's hard work
Glancing through various yummy mummy blogs and Instagram accounts, it's easy to think that motherhood is one long day of playgrounds, coffee mornings and nap times. The reality is however that it can be more mundane than that.
"I thought it was going to be a walk in the park," admits one mum. "I was going to have a dream baby who slept when I wanted him to, who fed when I wanted him to. But it was the total opposite."
Considering newborns sleep for just a couple of hours at a time, only waking for a feed and nappy change, there's little wonder that mums are often too busy feeding, cleaning and soothing their baby to worry about blow drying their hair or perfecting the latest make up look. Yet, scroll through some yummy mummy's Instagram feed, and you'll be confronted with shiny-haired mums who not only look as though they've had a full night's sleep, but they've managed to lose the baby weight, style their hair, and apply highlighter and lip gloss. All whilst carrying their beautifully dressed, immaculate, sleeping newborn on their own fashionably clad shoulder.
"Often the perception is that we're sitting around, well made up, having just had a hot shower, with our baby, [and we're] coping," says another. "The house is tidy, dinner is cooking. The reality is that we're often sitting on the couch, with a child in one arm, in our pyjamas, maybe even with a tear in our eye trying to enjoy a cold cuppa."
At times it can be boring
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"I was going to quit my job, and stay at home to be a full-time mum," says another mum. "We were going to do craft and go to gymbaroo. The reality is that being a stay-at-home mum can be really boring. It can be really draining and the days run into each other. It can feel like Groundhog Day."
It's not surprising that we often think that our days as a mum will be filled with fun activities such as crafting, cooking, music and endless coffee dates with other friends. But the reality is most mums spend most of their time changing, feeding and trying to settle bub.
So it’s important to be realistic, and be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up if you don’t have time to check out the latest brunch place with your other mum friends or crafting pieces of wonder for your Pinterest account.
As a new mum you'll probably experience every emotion under the sun (and sometimes all at the same time), while trying to juggle a whole new experience, and member of the family! Remember that there's no "perfect" way to be a mother - the best thing you can do is love your baby and enjoy every wonderful unpredictable minute. Even if you haven't showered for days, there are no clean clothes, and your baby has dirtied yet another nappy and demanding yet another feed, you don't need social media to tell you that nothing can beat being a mum.