“Honest parent blogging” – is it always useful and helpful to read? Or is it just a cheap shot at our offsprings expense dressed up as brilliant writing?
This is the question I’ve just been pondering in the shower.
Let me explain …
For years now, I have been following some pretty amazing parent bloggers. Bloggers who have an amazing literary ability to highlight all aspects of parenting; the great times, the funny bits (a few rude bits thrown in for good measure) and a sprinkling of the darker times too. It’s those bloggers who, whilst immersing themselves in the beauty of free speech, are helping other newer, perhaps younger mums and dads feel safe in the knowledge that we breeders are all in the same boat. And it’s that sense of unity, of not feeling alone, that is so truly priceless about some parenting blogs. Its those blogs which strike just the right balance, but some do not. Proving that not everybody can blog well.
But does there come a point I wonder, where all this so-called Honest and real parent blogging (often done in the name of humour) could potentially cross a line? stepping over a line which is no longer useful or beneficial to its reader, much less inspiring.
Personally, I think that line regularly gets crossed these days on the internet, all in the name of so-called humour or maybe its labelled ‘a refreshing approach’ to parenthood. The thing is, its not that refreshing anymore, is it. For Its everywhere!
And that’s what I’m talking about here – specifically : Gratuitous documenting of our children which is not funny. Personally, I think there is now way too much negativity labelled up beautifully as ‘warts and all’ type stuff to be found on the net, and it’s starting to grate on me a little. There. I’ve said it!
My question is – Is the sharing of so much negativity and drudgery really that helpful to new parents who may be trawling the net for real help and advice? And more specifically to my own gender – is it really that helpful to Women as a whole even?
I’ve lost count of the many times that I have read, seemingly brutal and honest reports of ‘How shit’ parenthood is. Or how ‘Fucking awful’ the night was. The ‘Kid’ did this and ‘twatting’ that.
Just this morning, I read a status which coupled the word Bastard with baby in the same sentence whilst describing a night feed. Of course – Everyone on the feed loved it; they deemed it as genius. Everyone thought it was hilarious and wrote offers of virtual ‘high-fives’. So while the whole world seems to lap this stuff up, to like it then share it, I can’t help but admit that for me, it sometimes leaves a slightly bad taste in my mouth.
It seems kind of un-fair. Its not like the baby or child can respond to their parents statuses with a ‘well f*** you too Mummy, you’re no picnic yourself’ remark!
For example – Is it funny to refer to a toddler as being a tosser? (as I saw on Twitter the other day)Is it really to be commended and applauded as refreshing writing? Or is it in some cases, just plain gratuitous and un-warranted?
Okay, it is possible that some writers can totally get away with it, because they are funny (and you can really sense the underlying care for their child in their tone) But I just feel that that style is now so, SO replicated, that swearing about your child is now pretty much trending. To me, this is not dignified, intelligent, nice, graceful or honest. Often, its just plain mean. Or that’s how it reads to me, anyway.
(And by the way, I have a toddler. My fourth toddler in fact. I KNOW full well what they are like!)
But tosser. Really? And that’s cool with everyone, is it?
Am I the only one who feels the need to speak up for said tosser and say ‘hey, you- Your a tosser for saying that! He or she is only 2!’ (What do you want – A two year old with the mental age of an adult?)
Should we be openly mocking our offspring who yes, need us in the night, who haven’t yet learned how best to behave, who love us unconditionally and occasionally drive us mad. And who would, I imagine, feel really rather hurt if they really knew that their every mistake/toilet mishap/mealtime disaster/puke/poo/wee/tantrum was having the arse ripped out of it on social media in the name of sensationalist blogging humour and Facebook likes?
It’s not that I’m not a realist, I totally am. And it’s not that I find swearing offensive. Because I really, really don’t (my friends tell me that I have an outrageous potty mouth – especially after wine. I’m awful after wine and regularly couple truly despicable words together during chit-chat)
But you know what? Not everybody is crying and swearing their way through parenthood, and even if we are at times – Should writers be documenting it to thousands upon thousands of followers? I don’t really think it helps anyone. Least of all the writer themselves if they are doing it for their own therapeutic reasons.
Perhaps a little more balance is what’s needed now, that’s all I’m saying.
Parenting IS tiring. There will be times where it truly sucks. But the exact same thing can be said for most things in life.
(I should own up here – I have been guilty of following the negative blogging line a little myself. I have written a post on the Huffington post listing my 20 most annoying things about living with Teenagers. Why did I write that? Because I forgot myself for a moment, that’s why. And because I wrote what it was that I thought people wanted to read, rather than the positive stuff I prefer to spread. I jumped on the bandwagon. And now I realise that I needn’t have gone on the record with that stuff actually, The world doesn’t need more of it from me! *slaps own wrist* )
For me, more than any other part of life – Parenting has been the one area of life where I have regularly looked and sought advice from other mums. Often, this has been from women further down the Mummy line than me, And in particular – from the ones who seem to have their shit together. Women whom I’ve gone to asked “Oh my god, HOW DO YOU DO THIS?!” and it is those women that have helped me when I’ve needed it -with their positivity, practical advice and ability to shine a light on the light at the end of every single tunnel.
And THAT’S what we mums and dads truly need in moments of parental despair when we scroll the internet for answers. We need inspirational people to remind us that hey Mrs, this is life. You’re not the first to go through it and you won’t be the last. So get on with it and stop wasting time!
UPDATE – since pondering on the comments this post has received, I’ve followed up with this little musing. It might help back up my reasoning for why I wrote this. Anna x
(Oh and by the way – Please, please don’t miss-understand this post. I am in no way referring to parents documenting their genuine difficulties. Simply the humour placed on ranting, slating and documenting of the tricky stuff. That’s all. This is merely a musing of mine, not meant to offend anyone)
photo credit: Dollar Photo Club