The Motherhood “Challenge”

Much has been written on mum-blogs and by Insta-mums (does anyone else hate that word? We are people, who are on Instagram, who happen to be mums) and there has even been coverage in The National Media of the Facebook Motherhood Challenge. (Interestingly, since the furure started, the ebb and flow of these appearing on my FB feed seems to have died down somewhat – anyone else?) No one seems to know where it originated but it has certainly caused some controversy.

The first thing that people seem to object to is the name – the idea that posting some pictures of yourself with the fruit of your loins is a challenge is, of course, total fuckwittery. The challenge is in the actual motherhood part. But maybe whoever started this, meant that? i.e motherhood is a challenge, let’s get people to post some pics that get them to remember the good bits (and I don’t know about you, but along with lots of shitty bits, there just are many, many lovely things about being a mum). But besides that lots of people have said lots of other things that you’re capable of finding and reading for yourselves if you like stabbing yourself in the eyeballs with pins.

The most high-profile one who has most accurately captured my mood on the subject is @mother_pukka so, having had my opinion handily packaged by a far better blogger and dresser than I am I’m not going to rehash what she said. Instead I’m going to dissect my own reaction as an “interesting” piece of anthropological “research” into the psyche of the modern woman…ahem…

  1.  Motherhood challenge? What is this I wonder? Let me read more and learn… urgh. Criiiinge. Jesus, I hope no one tags me…
  2. I wonder if anyone will tag me? Doesn’t anyone think I’m a great mother..? (I would like to self-consciously point out that this reaction lasted one second. Precisely. And didn’t come back. Honest).
  3. Well I suppose each to their own…although this does leave me feeling a little uncomfortable… what about people who don’t/can’t have/want children? What if this hurts their feelings?
  4. Oh for god’s sake where is the line going to be drawn with such politically correct bull-faeces? If people’s feelings are hurt so easily they need to walk away from the social media…
  5. That’s funny. But, oh, hang on a minute that makes me feel crappy. I want some sleep. Don’t mock me for not having sleep. I haven’t had any sleep. I can’t take the mocking…
  6. Get. A. Grip.
  7. Yes! That’s it. The Bastards are trying to bring us down. Again!
  8. Which Bastards? Who is it? I’m annoyed now. Who am I annoyed at?
  9. Oh bugger. It’s us.

And it is, you know. Us women. We love to categorise, to label, to separate ourselves into camps that we’ve pitched our tent in, tripping through the mud, happy in the knowledge that everyone around us is on the same slightly grimy page, versus camps that we wouldn’t touch with an Ebola-worthy sterile bubble. We love to create cliques and belong to a tribe, and if it were to stop at the point where everyone is feeling happily at home, secure and comfortable in the gang they identify with, things would be tickety-boo. But too often we allow outside influences to send us to war.

The Facebook Motherhood Challenge only became a story “worthy” of national attention because we let it slide into the nooks and crannies of our insecurities as mums and people. And we let other people exploit those insecurities to divide us and reinforce the idea that mums and women in general are basic bitches.

Well, first of all the stirrers and provocateurs need to sod off. But we, the perpetrators also need to loosen our judgey-pants so they fall down around our ankles and can be kicked off as we skip down the street hand in hand with our fellow women. Afterall, the need to judge comes only from the need to make ourselves feel better about our own choices that we are not quite so sure about as we pretend to be. It’s easy to feel threatened when someone makes a different decision (parenting or otherwise) to yours because we are eternally anxious that we are doing it “wrong” and if you are a mum you’re paranoid that you are going to eff up the small people. And no one wants to eff up the small people. So when someone posts The Motherhood Challenge on Facebook, and people do join in, and people don’t join in, and other people can’t join in, we start to sling insults and feel hurt. We descend to the level of a bunch of 13 year old girls who have played Chinese whispers and have now decided that LaSonta has texted Brigette’s boyfriend, who WhatsApped Duncan, who said that Kayley was fat, and so everyone hates Jasmin.

Seriously. Who gives a shit. Why can’t we all play nicely?

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