Most of us will have seen by now The Motherhood Challenge on Facebook, in which some will have taken part, others will have chosen not to. I like seeing my friends’ pictures, but I’m the latter; I write about motherhood plenty as it is. I’m so self-conscious about trying not to be too in anyone’s face with it, that I didn’t feel the need to add more photos into the mix. I’m a copywriter, I love to write – when I went on maternity leave and stopped writing every day, it drove me nuts, so I began blogging as a way to get it all down and keep a record for Zach. So many of us write about motherhood as a way to offload, share and remember we’re all in the same boat.
But we’re not, are we? Most of us will have also seen by now, comedian Ellie Taylor’s Non-Motherhood Challenge photos, which went viral. It’s her napping and with a bottle of red wine in one shot for a pillow. I saw it and laughed aloud, and thought if that had been me, I’d have thrown a bottle of gin, a cinema schedule and a giant cup of hot steaming tea in there too. Later on, when it popped up in my FB feed more and more, I saw some of the comments, and sighed.
In amongst the hundreds of people applauding her and finding it funny were those commenting on how upsetting it might be for non-mothers to see. Then there were those blasting so-called smug mums. As someone commented in response, there always has to be one, doesn’t there? But as someone else replied, no matter what you write or do, someone, somewhere will take offence.
It seemed to quickly turn into a Mothers vs Non-Mothers challenge, with comments abounding about smug mums who can only talk about their wonderful kids, non-mums talking about how refreshing it is to see a non-mum posting about enjoying life without kids, mums who found it hilarious and recalling their own days as non-mums, and mums and non-mums who were upset on behalf of non-mums because it’s insensitive to those who would love to be mums.
Bloody hell, it’s exhausting isn’t it? When did it become such a minefield, to talk about your life and to share your experiences, ideas and thoughts? What happened to being kind, sensitive and supportive of other women and supporting each other’s lifestyles and opinions? They say you should write about what you know. I write about motherhood in its various guises, because otherwise I’d find myself wandering about and talking to myself, as I continued a constant conversation aloud about lack of sleep or toddler tantrums or potty training, and I assume other mum bloggers do the same. I guess the difference between blogging and this challenge is it’s a choice as to whether or not you read the posts. What’s also divisive about the challenge is it’s not your choice to be nominated; then there’s the question of to take part or not?
Speaking of minefields, when it comes to writing about motherhood, it’s quite hard to put stuff out there, in the hope people may identify with it, empathise, maybe laugh and hopefully enjoy it. Thinking constantly about how it may upset one person but make another laugh, and how you may be judged is exhausting too. It gives me the horrors to think I may seem smug, or worse, as one commenter put it, smug and self-congratulatory. To that person I would say please choose never to read my blog, if that’s what you think this is all about.
When it comes down to it, we’re all adults, doing the best we can, and it shouldn’t be a competition, should it? Alternatively, you could just say sod it to the whole thing and not give a toss what anyone thinks, but I reckon that’s easier said than done. At least for this mum.