The Perfect Mirage

I am pleased to say that once again the black clouds have lifted. Reading back through some of my recent posts, I feel like a different person. I can’t say whether that’s down to increased medication or my CBT but I don’t suppose that really matters.

One of the questions my therapist asked me to consider is what I feel makes me “good enough”. Even though I wrote a blog post on this topic a couple of weeks ago, I still can’t put my finger on what, specifically, makes me “good enough”. But at the same time, I can’t think of anything that makes me not good enough, either. Perhaps being good enough is not something we can quantify. Like the meaning of life. It’s different to everyone and it may even change on a daily basis.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about the tenth point of my Mummy Kindness Manifesto:

“I will not compare my insides with everyone elseโ€™s outsides.”

The simple fact is that pictures we all post on social media are the carefully edited highlights of our daily lives. Of course they are. Not many of us will happily share photos of our children mid-meltdown and ourselves au-naturel with frizzy hair and no make-up. Yet most of us use these images as a benchmark for the so-called perfection that we feel we need to achieve. I said in my last post that I feel perfection is a bit of a myth, and a dangerous one at that. We can blame our lack of perfection as the reason we may “come-up-short” against the goals we set ourselves. If only we were cleverer/prettier/thinner/wealthier everything would be so much better.

Nobody’s life is perfect.

Even the mother who seems to have it all will be comparing herself to someone and aspiring to be better. Imagine a world where we stopped comparing and remembered that social media pictures are really just a mirage. Where we remind ourselves that perfectly-put-together mum who sometimes makes you feel like a dishevelled frump has her own issues going on. Imagine if we genuinely started to remember that we don’t need to compete with each other, and we’re all doing our best.

No-one’s life is perfect, and not every moment is photo-worthy. But if we can find a few moments a day where things are good, I genuinely think we’re winning. No-one sails through life (and especially not motherhood) without a succession of tantrums, tears, snot and stress. Stopping every so often and realising that the kids aren’t fighting and for once there aren’t crumbs under the sofa is a mini victory, some days.

Of course there are many beautiful, amazing moments but they can easily get lost in the madness and the busy if we’re not careful. I’ve been making a conscious effort to stop and take in some of the lovely moments as they happen, and to try to remember them last thing at night. This has really helped me. Rather than thinking of what I haven’t got done today or running myself down for the things that went wrong, I’m trying to give myself credit for what I did get done. I might not be giving deep, joyful sighs at the wonderful day we’ve all had, but overall, there is usually something to smile about.

So I’m going to share some pictures that I’ve taken during the Easter holidays. Lots of them have been shared on my personal Facebook page as they’re full of smiling, joyful kids and happy me. Some of them haven’t… I wonder if you can tell which are which?

Madam and Me. All made-up and profile picture-worthy.

20130414-122640.jpg

Madam and me. Make-up free and mid-meltdown.

20130414-122812.jpg

Yours, truly. Fully made-up complete with falsh lashes and pout. On my way to a wedding.

20130414-123042.jpg

Yours, truly. At home this morning. Keeping it real (am I SERIOUSLY sharing this picture?! Have I LOST MY MIND!?)

20130414-123136.jpg

Playdate for ten at my house.

20130414-123326.jpg

Cakes we made.

20130414-123419.jpg

However, Madam spent much of the baking time (in fact, too much time in general) doing this….

20130414-123515.jpg

Look, world. See all the fun, crafty things we do?

20130414-123610.jpg

My children are perfect, you know. Always so well behaved…

20130414-123757.jpg

Look at my perfectly adorable, smiling child. See how happy she is, all of the time?….

20130414-123922.jpg

… Or not, as the case may be.

20130414-121156.jpg

Oh look! How adorable, she painted her own toe-nails!!

20130414-121609.jpg

…. Oh bloody hell!!

20130414-121659.jpg

And did you notice my lovely, tidy house in the pictures? I didn’t include this, on Facebook though, did I?

20130414-121934.jpg

So here’s a snapshot of my life. Warts, spectacles, tantrums and all. And you’ll notice that I’ve still Instagramed all of the imperfect pictures. I’m not that brave!

So next time you’re comparing your life with someone else’s, even mine, remember that we’re all the same, deep down. We’re all fighting our own battles and projecting our own little mirage to the outside world. Cut yourself some slack, I’ll do the same, and let’s remember that good enough is enough, thank you very much.

PS, as always, I’d really appreciate your help sharing the Mummy Kindness via my Facebook Page, so please do like it here

What are your views on real-life versus social media perceptions? I’d love you thoughts so please do leave a comment. Thanks!

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “The Perfect Mirage

  1. That is so true! It’s so easy to compare other people’s lives now, especially with all the social media around, and generally, people only post the good aspects of their lives, holiday photos, special events, romantic dinners, etc. and it leaves you sitting at home wishing you were doing what they were doing, But, we just have to remember that our lives are pretty good too, and all we’re seeing is a snapshot into someone else’s.
    Thanks for an honest post, I think everyone needs reminding from time to time.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Excellent post, once again! I’m certainly quite picky about which photos I share on FB. I do like to project an image of a well put-together, easy going mum. Not like the truth today, which is a frazzled, exhausted and greasy-haired mum ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Brilliant post Rachel, I love your pictures, especially the last one as this is my biggest battle!
    FB photos and comments remind me of good old fashioned postcards I can remember sending out from holidays when I was younger that weren’t that great at all but we always had to send the ‘postcard version’ (indeed perfect mirage!) of what we were doing. I get particularly stressed out during the school holidays with the constant updates about all the stimulating and interesting activities etc mums are doing and how much they love school holidays? Sometimes i do question why I torture myself just looking at it all sometimes as I find it hard not to compare and feel inadequate. Thank you Rachel, from now on I am going to imagine these perfect mummies in their pyjamas, glasses and no make up!
    Wonderful news to hear you are feeling so much better – that’s excellent! xx

  4. Pingback: Life advice #12: Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Awakey.com | Awakey.com - Words escape from my head and end up here

  5. Rach, this has to be your best blog yet!! Fantastically written and sooooooo true! Love all the pics and you really did put everything into perspective!! Keep smiling girl xxxxxx

  6. This is so true and I really enjoyed reading it.

    I made a decision not to share pictures on social media anymore as I don’t think it right. I’d only be posting the ‘good ones’ (people would not appreciate seeing me sans make up…) and that’s not an honest reflection of my life – it’s certainly not all good! Ditto updates about fabulous places I’ve visited/things i’ve done – just as often I’m getting hit by my toddler at the supermarket (not so fabulous). Please see here…ha! http://www.anothermumblog.co.uk/post/40871780974/mummy-meltdown

    Life has peaks and troughs – sometimes very, very high peaks, but sometimes crashing lows too. We need pain though as without it the sweet doesn’t feel as fantastic. Great post, keep ’em coming!

  7. Wonderful, thank you!! My madam has exactly the same meltdown face, and we’re seeing quite a lot of it at the moment. Needless to say, facebook isn’t. I particularly appreciate your crafy/baking/tablet photos – that was something I felt bad about for the LONGEST time – not doing enough ‘quality’ stuff with the kids. Nowadays? feck it, once they’re happy, I’m happy! Or at least that’s what I’m aiming for.
    I too have a lovely therapist who challenged me on good enough – it’s a work in progress.
    BTW, love your girl’s hair ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Pingback: Life advice #12: Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. | Awakey.com Life advice #12: Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. | [insert your personal qu

I'd love your thoughts! Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s