There is a lot to thank social media for when it comes to the raising of children; the support, the information, the near constant photography.
I’ll freely admit it: I’m thankful for the advent of apps like Instagram: For a mama like me, it’s a total game changer when it comes to housework. When I was young, if we wanted to share the moment that our babies took their first faltering steps across the lounge floor, we had to stick our heads out of the front door and shout at Peggy across the road to stop hanging out her washing and come see.
Ever the dutiful neighbor, Peggy would hurry through the front door, down the hallway and into the lounge locked and loaded to coo at my offspring. A few minutes later, having run through the time honored script of confirming my child to be vastly talented, we'd move to the kitchen to sit down for a well earned cup of tea and a catch up on some neighborhood gossip.
Several cups later, Peggy would tell me to look at the time, make a trip to the toilet, and head back across the street to get dinner on.
Put simply, in order to share that one special toddling moment, I would have had to clean a total of four rooms.
Today, thanks to social media, I have to shove the mess clear of about 12 square feet.
If you don’t think that’s a big deal you are welcome to visit my house one evening. My children will happily demonstrate that the real definition of the word “mess” hovers somewhere between “it would be quicker to bulldoze the house and start again” and “total fucking Armageddon.”
If Peggy came over today wanting a cuppa and a catch-up, she wouldn’t want to use my toilet, because I can guarantee in the five minutes since I last cleaned the floor, one of the children will have created a puddle of pee. I would be forced to casually joke to Peggy that if there’s no visible puddle then it has probably already soaked into her sock; or explain away one of those "extra special" puddles that have been aimed at the back wall so that it pools unseen under the collection of potties and slowly stinks the house out until I go postal with a bottle of Dettol and rubber gloves.
After the trauma of her visit to the toilet, poor Peggy would probably need to have a lie down to recover. Good luck finding a bed Peggy, if you’re desperate, just head towards a pile of washing and start digging.
All of this is entirely hypothetical, of course, because Peggy would have taken one look at the utter massacre of my kitchen and politely declined any offer of a drink just in case her shots were out of date. In fact, Peggy would have walked through the door, turned on her heel and fled.
The next time I called for her, Peggy would have dived to the floor and commando crawled towards the back of the house so I wouldn’t be able to see her as I peered through the window.
And what would become of the baby? Pity the poor baby without an audience for her waddling.
All of those disasters have been averted because I can capture and remotely share the talents of my offspring. Peggy doesn't need to see the embarrassing reality of my bathroom, nor does she have to risk communicable disease from a mug. Best of all, Peggy is free to live her life thinking we are the sort of family who put their clothes away in the wardrobe.
All of those are wondrous things.
Just as long as we all remember nobody’s life looks as good as their Instagram account.
Mum, activist and parenting junkie. Passionate about empowering women and living a good life with my family. http://www.maybediaries.com/
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