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 else’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.

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

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

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

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Playdate for ten at my house.

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Cakes we made.

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

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

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

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

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… Or not, as the case may be.

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

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…. Oh bloody hell!!

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

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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!

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