SHARING’S NOT ALWAYS CARING!

Spotted any of these beauties on social media recently? I have.

You know the type I mean. Those shared posts that preach a sense of parenting superiority.

Those posts that scoff at how exhausted you might be feeling. 

Those posts that assume parents always have a choice when it comes to working or not working. Who needs money, right?

Those posts that underestimate a parent’s passion and happiness in their own career. I mean, what kind of mother would possibly pick work over a child?

Yes, I’m talking about all those posts that draw a definitive line in the sand between working parents and stay-at-home parents in some kind of crazy ‘divide and rule’ tactic – because heaven forbid the two groups should ever find any common ground between them.

Working parents vs SAH parents – how is that still even a thing?!

For the past three years, I’ve been a frazzled working mum. Right now, I am a frazzled SAHM of two, six months in.

Having spent time on both sides of the fence, I know that:

  • both are bloody exhausting in their own challenging way
  • both require copious amounts of caffeine and wine
  • both have made me cry
  • both come with their own unique brand of mummy guilt and insecurities
  • both sides very often think they have it worse than the other

It’s those last two points though isn’t it? Those are the ones that often make some people feel the need to share these competitive ‘I’m a better / busier mum than you’ posts across social media.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint. I can see the temptation in sharing them. In the past, I’ve had plenty of crappy snappy mornings with the kids, followed by a crappy day in the office, where I felt like a worthless mother, barely treading water. One quick glance at Facebook to see a stream of smiley ‘day out’ pics, or a fun filled craft morning from a SAH parent, and I would be bursting to post something that validated my ‘working mum’ choice. Something that celebrated me trying to juggle it all. Something that disguised my own crippling insecurities.

Would it make me feel better? No, not really.

Would it potentially upset, undervalue or irritate other SAH parents that see it? YES, of course it would.

Since quitting my job, I look at my working mum friends on social media and envy their cool campaigns, office clothes, hot coffees and Pret a Manger lunches. I’ll be eating Jaffa Cakes for lunch again. Someone posted this the other day (typo and all) and I felt a fresh new surge of mummy guilt from the other side:

working-mothers-.jpg

As I glanced down at my stereotyped baggy yoga pants and crumpled t-shirt, I panicked: what kind of role model was I  like this? Do I sometimes get the urge to post a pro-SAH image to justify my career change?  One of those ‘I’ve got the most important job in the world…..raising my kids’ post? You bet I do, I’m only human.

Of course it’s ok to feel all these things. Both sides of parenting are fighting their own demons. It’s just not OK to fire cheap public shots to the other side using social media.  So let’s STOP SHARING THESE POSTS!

Because deep down, we’re all on the same side!  Working parent or stay at home one, we are all in the same camp – camp exhaustion! We might have different roles in that camp, but as parents we are all united in trying to do the best for our kids whichever way we can. And equally as important, we should all be united in making OURSELVES happy. Happy parents, be it ones in the office or home, make the best parents.

I might go back to work this year. I might not. Whatever I pick, I‘ll no doubt continue to have guilt fueled ups and downs, and ‘grass is greener’ moments. But I won’t be using social media to air these feelings. Sharing just isn’t caring in this instance

Some people , even brands, who share these kind of posts might not realise how they can be interpreted or how they can make the other parenting side feel. It might genuinely come from a place of pride – pride in your hardworking lifestyle choice. Or it might stem from insecurities and the need to make yourself feel better about your choice. But either way, do we need to really share these kind of posts at all? Do we really want to draw that line in the sand between workers and stay at homers any further?

I think it’s every parents job to just show a little empathy and understanding for the other side. Remember, it’s not always a choice for some. Remember, that someone on the other side feels like they are drowning too. Why make them feel any worse.

The truth is, for each side, it’s the same hardworking story, just a different script. Choose your words on social media carefully parents – for some, they can be haunting.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “SHARING’S NOT ALWAYS CARING!

  1. I have to admit I rarely pause to look at these types of posts. I don’t think they’re necessarily popular because they imply one type of parenting is better than the other, I think they’re popular because whichever ‘side’ they’re supporting, those parents find reassurance in them. Aren’t we all looking for a little bit of reassurance that we’re doing a good job and the right thing, whichever way we have it?

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    1. Defo. We all need support through reassurance – parenting makes me insecure on a daily basis. I’m just not sure social media is the healthiest place to look for reassurance as competitive parenting is so rife across it. I think these posts just further split the camps in to two and fuel insecurities- as of course parents will love the ones that speak to their lifestyle. I just keep seeing some that are more self righteous than reassurance. More mummy mud slinging that we don’t need!

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  2. I don’t choose to be a working mom I have to be, and I still struggle to make ends meet. All valid points but when life is about choice some, some of us don’t choose the side were on and I have all the responsibilities of a home and raising a child that a SAH mom does but also a job. Don’t think I am someone who will ever see them as equal, grass is always greener on the other side and if your job is being just a mom, yes its a tough job but count your blessings you get do to a job some of us can only dream of.

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    1. Oh I completely understand. I spent the last 2 years not only disliking my career intensely, but also stuck in it for financial reasons as I HAD to work to keep the family afloat. I had the bigger salary and even then I never saw any of it as it went to childcare and London rent. Exhausting! I completely agree, we don’t always have a choice. And these posts are insensitive of that as well as judgmental of those that have chosen. I feel very lucky now that I finally has the opportunity to chose to opt out. I used to think that SAHM’s had it easy as I had to still do bath, story and bed time when I got in after a full days work…but I am now eating my words as its a different kind of pressure and exhaustion plus all the household and child admin jobs all day inbetween. The only thing I feel is a clear advantage for SAHM’s is that they can avoid an exhausting commute-that used to be a killer! Plus you can do it all in PJ’s if needs be-‘but that can also come with self loathing 😟

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