You say too much online

You say too much! You post too much! You’re inviting trolls! Nobody cares!

All comments I’ve received in the previous month or so some from friends and family, from a place of love I’m sure, and some from friends of friends, strangers and random ‘trolls’.

The problem I have with these comments is they’re incorrect. I do post a lot of my feelings online, and there are many reasons for this. The first and most important one is, it helps me! I feel better when I’ve projected my thoughts rather than kept them in my head. The second is I guess…. validation. Validation from other mums I’m not alone when my kid is behaving like the devil spawn, from other chronic illness sufferers when I feel useless or people with similar ‘problems.’ Not everything I post is problematic though. I try and post the good too, if you only look at my feed and see attention seeking, negativity then you aren’t seeing me at all.

I do post a lot, but I also don’t post a lot. For example:

I haven’t posted what I ate for dinner this evening.

I haven’t posted that I have serious FOMO from Glastonbury and that the reason I’ve never been is because I’m so desperately anxious in huge crowds, and I’m worried my drink will get spiked or my stuff nicked.

I haven’t posted that Shaun and I had a row Saturday night and have spoken only very forced words to each other since. I haven’t told you who’s fault it was or why and that’s not because it’s another fuck up from me (FYI) it’s just not something I feel is necessary to share.

I haven’t posted that I got a new job and after countless failed interviews and childcare dramas, I’m ecstatic, but too scared to share with the world in case my new employer makes a last minute change of decision.

I haven’t posted that my insecurities are worse than they’ve ever been. That my self doubt gets so bad that some days if I text a friend and they don’t reply I can’t sleep for worrying about what I might of done to upset them, and spend all night listing all the reasons why they probably don’t want to be friends with me. Or that if I’m not invited somewhere I feel like it’s because people don’t like me rather than it being a genuine oversight.

I haven’t posted that I’m trying yet again to go on another diet because I’m still so desperately unhappy with my weight but also desperately love chips. That every time I look in the mirror lately I can’t see a face, just 3 chins. That I’m paranoid to stand at the school gates next to more attractive mums or that I’m constantly comparing myself to how I think I should look. That I’m mourning the confidence I used to possess.

I haven’t posted that Ciara wet the bed last night and I was up cradling her, whilst Shaun, (who I’m still not speaking to) changed the bed.

I haven’t posted my opinion on Love Island and yes I do have one, I am addicted to it, even though I think it gives an unrealistic representation of love and body image. Contradictory I’m aware, and I should probably boycott it, but I won’t.

Yes I am aware there’s a huge irony to me telling you all of this whilst saying I don’t post everything, but it was more for the purpose of proving my point, rather than for a reaction to the above points made.

It may come as a shock to you that I post selfies when I say I don’t like what I look like, but that’s because when I do like it, I want to share it. Maybe that’s for the validation, or maybe it’s just because I like it and we all share pics of things we like. Maybe it’s both. Who knows. More importantly who cares? According to the trolls, nobody, so no bother.

And the reason I don’t comment my opinion about Love Island online, is because I absolutely don’t feel remotely within any right to comment on a strangers behaviour publicly when I am not in their situation. Some people who know me may think that’s rich, coming from someone who’s never been able to keep her opinion to herself, but guess what? I’ve changed.

I no longer feel the need to impose my views on everyone. I no longer feel the need to put others down to prove a point or to make myself feel better (appalled to admit I used to have this mentality) but the message is the same.

We learn as we get older, and I’ve learned that it’s a much nicer feeling being remembered for being kind than it is for being the girl who has too much to say. That said, I do still have an opinion and I will always be a person who stands by my beliefs. But I want to be a person who’s also able to see things from different angles. That’s hard for someone with severe anxiety. We tend to have a one track mind and we see everything as a threat to our happiness, our safety, our loved ones and or our possessions. That’s where the comparison comes from, that’s why we spend our lives wanting what other people have, because we’re sure we’ll feel better when we get it. It’s why we try so hard to fit in with certain cliques but never really do. It’s why we’re hard to love, because we don’t admit aloud that we feel this way and people have no fucking idea why we’re acting so ‘weird’ or ‘neurotic’.

Of course I have a theory where my own anxiety stems from, but it’s not just one place. It’s a combination of factors that are unchangeable, and therefore irrelevant. All I can do now is try and rationalise better, try and be honest, even when it gets me labelled an attention seeker or a crazy bitch.

I’m posting this because I want you to understand, but if you don’t, that’s ok too. We can’t understand things we don’t seek to learn about or haven’t been through. Some people will never understand why addicts turn to their drug of choice. We will never fully understand why people act the way they do sometimes, but the reason I post so much about it is because, whilst I’m still learning, I might be helping someone else make sense of themselves. Maybe not, maybe I’m just spouting bollocks, but that’s your perception of what I post, not my intent. Whether I justify my actions won’t necessarily change your opinion, but it helps me understand myself better and that’s what this blog and my social platforms are about, ME.

Mum guilt and chocolate teapots

Mum guilt, if you’re a mum, you’ve had mum guilt at some point. You may even have it regularly – let’s be real about this, it’s a thing that has blown up in recent years because we (I, in any case) spend far too much time comparing ourselves to other mum’s on social media, at the school gates, during a PTA, at soft play or on someone’s follow Friday post.

A friend of mine called me earlier this week to say she’d been called into school about her child’s behaviour. They were acting out and she felt tremendously guilty. She felt like she’d failed as a mother. Let me be clear here, she is a bloody fantastic mother, but seriously, she tore herself a new one over this. I went away and thought about the times I’ve been criticised or not even criticised as such, but spoken to about Ciara’s tantrums and or her lack of sharing and I’ve felt like the worst person on the planet. I’ve gone on social media to make myself feel better and been faced with everyone gushing about their perfect kids or at least that’s what I’ve taken from it and ended up feeling worse. I’ve been penalised for being ‘real’ for admitting when my child acts like a knob. People have said ‘no wonder if you call your child a knob, they’ll act like one.’ FYI I don’t sit there calling my three year old a knob to her face, but sometimes people, she acts like a spawn of Satan, so she gets the finger when she’s not looking, and sometimes….. she’s cute and shit. If you complain about your child’s behaviour or chastise them, you are branded an awful mother, and if you don’t, you are still an awful mother as you must not even notice or worse, don’t care!

It’s funny because when I thought about this in more depth I thought about our mothers and grandmothers. There weren’t parenting books and baby led weaning, or the Ferber Method. There also weren’t tens of thousands of mums on social media talking about being one. (I’m aware I’m that person too) What I’m getting at is, they had nothing to compare it to accept real life experiences from friends and family. There was hardly even any reality TV when I was a kid. None of this teen mum stuff or one born every minute (which I love by the way) but we all sit there and have a little ‘ooh I wouldn’t of done it like that’ moment when watching. Don’t get me wrong, there are just as many mums taking a stand against mum shaming on social media as there are ‘perfect’ parents, but where does this end.

If your kid acts up these days it’s because they have something wrong with them, or there’s something wrong with you, or you’re neglecting them, smothering them, missing something, and so on!

This is a time when if you kiss your child on the lips and photograph it, you’re branded a paedophile. Has the world gone absolutely bat shit?

My mum always gave me a big smacker before bed, she wasn’t/isn’t a paedophile. The only difference is, back then she didn’t photograph it and post it on social media. We seldom take pictures of our babies cute little bums or let them waltz around starkers because let’s face it, there are some sick people in the world and we’re quite rightly protecting our kids, I wouldn’t ever condone anything that put them at risk, but come the fuck on people, can you not give your child a kiss or a cuddle in public anymore? Loving your child and showing affection in a positive way does not make you a monster.

My daughter doesn’t eat any veg, or fruit, accept in the form of juice. We have tried EVERYTHING! Her eating has gotten worse the older she’s got and it’s a real fight in our house some nights to get her to eat pizza and chips, let alone home made vegetable ragu. I can assure you, it’s not for lack of effort on our part as parents, whether you believe my assurances is another matter.

When Ciara’s tired and in an ‘I want Daddy only’ mood – I wonder to myself if this is because I’m a terrible mother. Does she hate me? What am I doing wrong?

When she forgets to use her ‘kind hands’ at preschool I wonder why it’s my child that plays up, what did I do?

I know I’ll go away after this post feeling liberated for all of five minutes for the rant I’ve allowed myself, and then I’ll get back to wondering why I can’t do better or be better. Why nobody looks at me as an idol, why I’m not up on a pedestal of perfect parenting.

BUT when I look at my daughter each day and see her happy and healthy little face, when she randomly comes and plants a kiss on my cheek or puts her little hand in mine, I’m going to try and see myself from her perspective. I’m going to try and love myself a little more how she loves me, and I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for every day we finish a meal, every time I refrain from referring to her as a little knob, and every time she’s kind. Fuck it I may even get myself a reward chart because I am a good mum. Deep down I know this because my perfect girl is so loved, and guilt, guilt is an emotion I render as useless as a chocolate teapot.

Stop saying sorry.

Given that this blog is for the most part, sweary rants about life as a mum, as well as being about a fiancé whose snoring makes me consider our future, and whether I can fit a bed for him in the shed, you’ll probably find it hard to believe that I spend a lot of my time apologising. But the fact remains, I do.

To my daughter:

Sorry for shouting earlier darling, Mummy is very stressed today.

Sorry you ate fish fingers for tea 4 days straight because I couldn’t deal with the fall out of offering you something else.

Sorry I give you the iPad to shut you up sometimes.

To my fiancé:

Sorry I don’t have a job and therefore am not bringing much by way of fruition to the table babe.

Sorry my anxiety means sometimes I’m irrational and worry too much.

Sorry I have a chronic illness and it affects 99% of the plans I make with you and our friends.

Sorry I talk too much about said illness.

Sorry I’ve come off my antidepressants and you are having to deal with non SNRI infused, Steph.

Sorry I’m not skinnier.

Sorry I swear too much in front of the in laws.

To my followers and friends:

Sorry I bore you with toddler spam on your news feed and in our real life conversations.

Sorry my opinion isn’t favoured always by the masses.

Sorry I speak openly about mental health even though it makes people uncomfortable.

Sorry I didn’t enjoy being pregnant and I share my horror story with you.

Sorry I keep sharing boring blogs on the same old topics because they’re important to me.

Sorry I moan about being fat then eat McDonald’s twice in a row.

Can you see now? That’s a lot of ‘sorry’s’

When I apologise, I do it with sincerity, I mean it. But sometimes I wonder if I should be saying sorry at all. I seem to spend my life apologising for my very existence. Then I have a mental breakdown and apologise for not being normal enough. Is it a wonder mental health problems have hit an all time high.

The facts are these:

I’m not sorry I have anxiety, fibromyalgia and mental health issues, because these all bore from situations that have shaped me and made me a strong woman, and despite my insecurities, I am a strong woman.

I’m also not sorry I’ve stopped taking medication so I can decide whether or not even I like the ‘Real Steph.’

I’m not sorry for getting upset and being honest about why I am upset, because all ‘we‘ do is tell people to open up more, and then we shy away from listening, or criticise them for being ‘too honest‘ or for ‘airing their dirty linen.’ People commit suicide everyday because nobody listened. So when I’m airing my shit, I’m healing. Not sorry for that.

I’m not sorry I shouted at my toddler who threw her 3lb plastic dinosaur at my head because I wouldn’t let her have her third chocolate biscuit. Or that I gave in and let her have an hour on the iPad and a fish finger tea on the sofa because I needed a break.

I’m not really even sorry I don’t have a job, because I do have A job. I’m a mum, I’m managing an illness, I’m trying to study & follow a passion too. I’m not making any money at the moment, but I’m making a whole load of memories, and laying down foundations, ones that my daughter will hopefully later remember too. When and if we struggle financially, I will go and clean precinct toilets to put food on the table. So spare me the ‘get a job’ speech I only resigned last month.

I’m definitely not sorry I swear too much, because I actually Fucking. Love. Swearing. I find it such a useful tool to express myself. Fudge nugget in replace of Wanky Fucktard just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. It’s 2019 don’t tell me it’s not ladylike, or I’ll remind you that according to the Stone Age you seem to be from, nor is women going to work, or being able to vote.

If like me, you find you too are constantly apologising for being who you are, it’s time we stopped. We are not sorry, we’re brilliant and eccentric and in our own way, bring loads to the fucking table, shit, I lay the fucking table.

Can you make a pact with me that we agree to say sorry less, accept when it’s genuinely necessary.

That we agree to feel shit about ourselves less, and to focus on our strong points more. So much more!

Well can you? It’s not as easy as one would think to love yourself more. I have spent a lifetime loathing so many parts of me, that I now feel a bit cringe when I try and ‘sell myself’ I instead, wait for someone else to provide me with positive endorsements, as if it means more when someone else says it. But it doesn’t. Not really.

When you can say it yourself and mean it, when you can tell yourself you’re brilliant, that’s when it means the very most.

I’m not anywhere near that place yet, but I encourage us as a collective, to get there!! We can do this.

Share with your friends, let’s start an epidemic of #Not Sorry Divas 💝🙌🏻

Also published on SelfishMother Blogazine.