My name is Louise and I’m addicted to social media. When the kids are happy playing or sleeping soundly in bed, I can’t resist picking up my phone and scrawling through the latest updates.
One thing I have discovered through my hours of research is that I’m not the only Mum that enjoys a good browse. There are trillions of us logging on every hour of the day – from the middle-of-the-night feeds of newborns, to waiting by the kettle as it boils for the first coffee of the day, to the moment we slump on the sofa when they are finally in bed. And within this collection of social media mums, I have discovered that there are some very defined groups. Let me enlighten you…
The first group are the ones that talk to their kids online. They are the same kind of people that talk to their husbands through social media when they are sat on the sofa next to them (“I wish someone would bring me a slice of cake!” “Just heading into the kitchen, darling!”) Their status updates may read something like this: “Well done Beatrix! You won an award for jumping into a swimming pool this morning and you have made mummy very, very, very proud. I am the luckiest mummy alive!” Is it just me that wonders whether Beatrix is picking up her tablet and logging to find out what her mother thinks of her latest exploits? When she is only three and usually more partial to a rendition of The Gruffalo.
The second group are the ones that fill you in on every milestone in their child’s life. They especially like to do this if their child is showing early signs of genius – or, even better, taking to potty training at an alarming speed. You may find their status reading something like this: “First poo in the potty this morning and he’s only 12 months old!!!!!!!’ or ‘So proud of Henry for playing Beethoven’s concerto on his xylophone this morning. I must film it next time!!!!!!!!’ There are always about 18 exclamation marks after each of these status updates, just to really drill the point home that they have an exceptionally clever child.
Then we have the ones that are brutally honest; the ones use social media as their own personal counseling service. Their status update reads something like this: “Worst day ever today. Just can’t believe it happened.” To get a full run-down of the events, you need to click on the comments where several curious friends will have replied: “What’s up chick?” and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we didn’t need to ask before the whole story about a peanut, a nostril, and a trip to A&E comes spilling out.
The next group are the ones that overshare on the picture front. Not the ones that share the odd picture to keep us in the loop, you understand (after all, we all like to see the odd shot of little Cuthbert playing the part of a lobster in his latest school show), but the ones that get back from their latest holiday and we see an update reading: “Mernie Fredericks has posted 1105 photos of ‘Camping in Grandma’s Back Garden’”. If you do decide to flick through them, you’ll find several blurred shots, one of the grass, and another of a finger over the lens – along with several hundred of a late-night game of cricket on the lawn where neither child can be identified. We usually get to photo 10 and give up – and that’s if we can bear to click on the link at all.
This leads me into the final group (and I am definitely guilty of belonging here), as there’s a number of mothers who do exactly the opposite of the above. This group are the ones that very heavily edit anything that goes onto social media so that everyone thinks their children are model material, their house is worthy of a film set, and the activities they get up to with their children purely educational. There are no grubby faces, no toddler tantrums, and no outfits covered in spinach and broccoli puree (that the baby sneezed over their outfit with the first spoonful). If we could climb behind the computer screen to take a sneak peek at the reality of their world, we would probably find these mothers rocking on the sofa in their pyjamas, with the entire contents of a cereal box tipped out on the living room floor whilst several semi-dressed children eat the contents on their hands and knees. We wouldn’t see any of this, of course, as we have to wait until everything is tidied up and the kids are in bed, so she has time to upload photos of her perfect day (edited heavily with a filter, naturally).