Why I wouldn’t mind being an 80’s mum…

 

Hey 2016 mums, hold on to your almond milk lattes and cacao protein balls…this will really freak you out.

Here is a picture of my 80’s mum.  It was taken with an actual camera. To see this photo she had to first finish the film, take it to the shops to be developed, wait up to a week and then go back to see that 20 of the 24 pictures had a dirty finger blocking the lens and that her children weren’t even looking at the camera.

PHOTO

You also won’t believe it but she didn’t take this photo of herself. Long, long ago mums didn’t need to take photos of themselves being mums and doing mum things. Apparently it was very possible to look after your kids and not tell every Sue, Sharon and Tracy about it. Kind visitors would offer to take pictures for you if they believed what you were doing was worthy of taking a photo. Unbelievable…..I know. How did she know she was doing a good job as a mum if there was no one there to ‘like’ and comment on her post workout photo? Taken whilst balancing her kids on her size 6 hip and removing gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly, sugar free, organic substitute muffins from the oven? How did she keep going without reading ego stroking comments like ‘wow…you really are a supermom!’ or ‘You look amazing’.

And OMG what is mum wearing? Where is her ‘active wear’? No Lorna Jane here. Good mums don’t sit down during the day to play with their own kids? They go to the gym. Good mums also drop the older kids off at school, then take the remaining children to as many activities as they can in 5 hours. Apparently children very much enjoy going to places where other adults play with your kids for you. No, don’t be fooled – the 2 year old’s you see being dragged into Kindygym and gymnastics kicking and screaming actually really love it and they’ll be photos on Instagram later to prove it.

Hang on….Is that a disposable nappy I can see peaking over the top of my non-branded kids clothing? Why aren’t I wearing a 100% hemp/bamboo blend recyclable and reusable nappy? This must be the reason I have issues as an adult. And check out the daggy surrounds. Where is the abstract art? Designer rug? And on trend colour palette?

You get my point right. This week I could literally vomit at what I have seen and heard coming from the mouths and social media accounts of 2016 mums. Admittedly I can log off. I know being on social media has inadvertently overexposed me to a whole group of what can only be described as ‘asshole mums, but let’s face it they are everywhere. I guess I’ve just been trying hard to hide from them since 2010.

Don’t get me wrong – I have also had my crack at making  ‘clean muffins’ and I also take my kids to activities and post on social media, but please stop me when I begin think that I am the most amazing mum in the world because of it. Truth be told- some days I take my kids to activities because I can’t cope at home all day. I make muffins because I know it will waste an hour of the day and keep the boys from hitting each other over the head. I don’t do things for ‘likes’. This morning I got caught at school drop off dragging my screaming son from our car and allowing him to fall on to the grass in a heap to teach him a lesson. Yep….great mum! Will I be posting photos of myself and screaming son on Instagram with captions such as ‘love of my life’ while we gaze into each other’s eyes today? No, no and more no! Of course he is the love of my life, but today he was a little poo.

This week one of my ‘mum activities’ after school drop off was taking our broken laptop in for repairs in with 3 year old in tow. I handed the crumpled, used Aldi bag containing my laptop over the counter proudly exclaiming ‘all the cords are in there’ (secretly thinking how organized I was). After spending a second looking through the bag the repair guy replies ‘yeah I think there’s even some underwear in there too’. Shock, horror – sitting in the bag peering up at me were a pair of my dirty knickers that must have fallen inside in the weeks that the bag has been sitting in my wardrobe. Yep great mum……

Life is not perfect despite some people’s attempts to fool everyone on Facebook.

I guess my angry little point is, when did we become so needy and reliant on gaining other peoples approval in order to measure and compare our worth as a mum? Why are some going to absolute extremes to portray a ‘perfect mum’ profile? Or casting the net further – why do some people make up completely false online lives for themselves, and then you’re face to face and don’t recognize them?  The sane amongst us are not buying it…we should be reading between the lines. Get real. It is often those who spend the most time talking about how great life is….who are trying hardest to convince themselves.

Mums have been raising kids for thousands of years. You are not a super mum, superwoman or mum because you made your child hand rolled sushi for lunch and took a photo of them eating a coconut today. Nothing at all wrong with doing any of the above, but the ‘mummy –bragging’ has to stop. Stop speaking ‘out loud’ or ‘online’ about things that we don’t need to hear about. Keep it to yourself. Be humble, be helpful. Be real and be a friend to other mums who are also dealing with ‘little poos’ today. Take and post photos because you love them not because you need to be validated by strangers…because people who really know you, know that it’s all bullshit.

Our 80’s mums did it……..and they did it well. Guess what, they didn’t even need the photos prove it.

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If you have anything to do with teens then read on………………..

This past month I have had a disturbing re-introduction to Social Networking, in particular, Askfm. If you have Tweenage (9-14yrs) or teenage children and are thinking this post is about a new radio station, then read on.

As a past year 7 teacher, I used to pride myself on ‘being in touch‘ with my students and being able to relate to what was happening in their worlds. Being in my early twenties when I graduated, it was not that long before that I too had been an insecure teen trying to iron out my identity in the back row of  a Business Maths lesson (yeah I know…Business Maths, I was never going to be an accountant with that under my belt).

Well it seems the generation gap has reared its ugly head, because I have crossed over from being a  hip, happening twenty something, into a daggy, thirty something teacher trying to keep up with a generation who are fast slipping away from us.Times have changed and it is now not what we do see happening that we should be worried about…it is what we are not seeing  that is the cause for concern.

Askfm is a relatively new social networking site that operates in an anonymous Q & A format. Users sign up for an account and are then open to receiving questions from anonymous users. The questions and answers are then publicly published on the page for all to see. After a chat with my 16 year old sister in law, I thought I’d go and have a look at what the hype was about.

After browsing through several ‘open’ accounts I had to get off. I was left with a sick feeling in my stomach. I felt sad, I felt angry and I felt helpless. Page after page of comments intentionally posted by so called  ‘friends’ who in the safety of anonymity were able to strip away at the insecurities of their most vulnerable school mates. The questions would begin quite innocently, What is your favourite food? Do you prefer coffee or tea? Dogs or cats? and then dip to take a seedy undertone, with personal attacks on sexual status, weight and appearance. The insults, the attacks, the bullying is published publicly for the world to see. I wanted to find the children, shake them for being so silly and then hug them. Why would they sign up and subject themselves to this? What was it that kept them answering these humiliating questions? Why didn’t they block these users? The answer lies deep within their impressionable teen minds.  I once asked a group of my Year Seven’s why they stayed on Facebook or MSN if they had been picked on. One group told me ‘If we aren’t on there, it’s like we don’t exist’. This broke my heart.

Earlier this year British teen Joshua Unsworth took his own life after becoming the centre of a bullying campaign played out publicly on the social networking site.This is not a new phenomenon. Facebook is now in its seventh public year and has also been blamed for inciting violence, hatred and facilitating bullies.

But Is social networking to blame for these deaths or for the relentless bullying? Or would these events have occurred without a computer? There are some that will say that bullying has always been a large part of our society, it is after all as old as the hills. Take our friend Jesus for example…I’m sure many more would have attended the Crucifixion if Pontius Pilate had been able to take advantage of the ‘Create an event’ feature on Facebook. Some suggest it is only now being taken seriously because we have the published manuscripts as proof of what is being played out in our playgrounds. Surely we as a society should be taking accountability for the huge slip in moral education that is making it ‘okay’ for us to pick others to pieces, to hound others until they crack.

When faced with cyber bullying, Many parents ask ‘What can I do?’ Firstly you’ve got to find a window into their worlds. This window is now open for all of the world to see…the internet. Get online and sign yourself up for every social networking site you can find. Despite many  having security features where profiles can be private,  they are still kids, which means you can bet they didn’t listen to the constant warnings about concealing their personal details.  Many pages are still ‘open’. You’d be surprised at what you can find out, if not from your own child’s pages, then at least those of their friends. The predators are having a field day!

Secondly, try to stay at least one step behind them. Lets face it, we will never get ahead of them when it comes to technology. Lets at least try to stay within reach, not fall ten steps behind. It is a parents responsibility to find out what’s going on. Snoop away! You’ll be hated for a while, but you’re not trying to make a friend. You are trying to keep your children safe. You may just find that piece of information that saves their life.

Don’t become ‘that’ parent who didn’t know what was happening.

Here is the Link to the Daily Mail Article, a real eye opener.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2308395/Ask-fm-This-week-15-year-old-boy-killed-hounded-No-wonder-mothers-want-banned.html

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