Now, I don’t want this to come across as arrogant or like I’m stuck up my own arse, because honestly, I am the LEAST stuck up person you will probably ever meet. But, I just wanted to do a post about how doing this blog and my instagram (@diaryofahullmum) affects me, mentally and personally, and how it makes me feel.
When I started out the blog, I had instgram and I rarely used it. I think it was around 2011-2012 when I installed the app, and I never used to post, maybe the odd “inspirational quote” or a ridiculous photo from a night out that I didn’t want people on Facebook seeing. (actual LOLS that last comment hahaha). I started following bigger accounts around the time I was getting married (2013), and would see that they had SUCH big followings, and shared lots of different aspects of their lives. I did start sharing more, granted nowhere near as much as I do now, but the odd thing here and there. It wasn’t until I fell pregnant with William, that I really started to enjoy Instagram. There were a few of the “big accounts” who were pregnant around the same time as me, and I enjoyed secretly stalking them, seeing if they were going through the same things I was in pregnancies/married life, and I found myself starting to read blogs, written by some of the bigger accounts I followed. When I had William, I would lay awake in the middle of the night while he was crying, or doing bottles at 3.13am and find myself reading these blogs. Sure, lots of them were great and I enjoyed reading them, mainly the topics were food (because why wouldn’t it be – have you seen me? I like to eat) and babies, something which was relevant to my new lifestyle as a first time mother. But the more I read, the more I found myself thinking – ” my god, I am NOT going through the same things as these people, they all have husbands who work 9-5, and I don’t, as you all know mine works away a lot of the time within the week, so I do solo parent quite a lot. I didn’t have anyone to “take the pressure off” me, well not until a Friday evening or a Saturday morning, whenever it was that he finished work. And everything on these other blogs looked so lovely, the photographs I was seeing were of immaculate tidy homes, with things bought from Barker and Stonehouse or Laura Ashley, freshly cut flowers and babies dressed in all pristine white “The White Company” or “Jojo Maman Bebe” baby grows with not an ounce of sick or bright yellow shit on them. Was I doing something wrong? My house resembled an Aldi Special Buy Aisle after black Friday, and my baby was in mis-matched leggings and vest from Primark and George at Asda, or was given to us by friends so wasn’t white anymore. Where were all the NORMAL people??? So, I decided to write my own blog, mainly to show people (if anyone was going to be interested, I didn’t think so at that point) that it was OKAY to have washing from 7 days ago still on the kitchen table, and your baby to have sick on their baby grow, wilted flowers in the vase, and to be surviving on super noodle sandwiches (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it – bacon super noodles and beans in white bread. With cheese. Thank me later. Unless you’re Vegan. In which case I have nothing for you – sorry about that.) I wanted to show people that this was OKAY, and THIS was actually normal, not the bullshit you would see on everyone’s heavily edited feeds.
Its the same with Facebook, like when people check in at the hospital and then when people comment to say “oh no – whats wrong hun?” they reply with “inbox me bbe xo”. People only share what they WANT to share or what they know will get the most attention. Well, I for one am fed up of it. I wanted to see the warts and all, realistic side of parenting. Hell, if I had, it might have prepared me better for what the hell was about to happen after I had pushed this little bright red little baby out of my vagina, instead of expecting this made up reality about how everything is a walk in the park, and everyone is always so happy after the birth of a child, and everything and everyone is followed by singing cherubs and flowers grow everywhere you have stepped foot, and unicorns dance around your kitchen sterilising bottles and cleaning up for you. It’s all a load of bollocks. Why wasn’t this being shared?
So I started posting to Instagram more, uploading stories when that became available, and writing my blog on the things that I feel I want to speak about, the things I wanted to share and tell MY side of it, rather than looking at everything else which looked like an advert for John Lewis. I must admit, I was SO nervous about posting my blog posts, because I am and always have been a very open book, and I sometimes overshare, im sure if you all follow me on Instgram then you will probably have already gathered this, and I was worried about what people would say. Would they think it was a load of shite? Would anyone even read it? Is my writing really bad? Does it make sense, or am I just babbling a load of codswallop and people are going to be sat there rolling their eyes at their screens? But then I thought to myself, No, Come on, if I myself wanted to read a true and realistic approach to parenting, then surely someone else in this big wide world would want to as well? SO I just thought sod it, and here I am.
Now, I’m not going to lie, my Instagram has gone up by followers a LOT in the last few months, (This is the bit where I don’t want to sound like a tosser and I apologise if it do – I don’t mean it to). I’m currently at nearly 10k (what even is that – oh my goodness me), and I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t feel good, because of course it does. But not for selfish reasons. I do my Instagram and my stories (that’s generally my preferred method of social media posting – I’m crap at uploading arty-farty cute photos if I’m honest. My photos only got better recently because I got a new phone because the one I had been from when the Pharaoh’s were still around – no joke) because I ENJOY it. I have met so many wonderful people through instagram, some of them I am even lucky enough to call my REAL LIFE friends. I also get to talk to so many other people from different backgrounds from all over the world! Where else can you do that? I LIKE being silly and stupid, ask any of my friends and they will always say “Oh Tara, yeah shes the one who is always cracking jokes, the class clown, etc etc”. It’s just what I DO. I don’t like awkward silences, or confrontation, and in these sort of situations, I laugh, or try make people laugh, and just generally act like a tit. Instagram is the same, I try to make light of things that may be rubbish at the time that are happening, by being silly. It takes my mind off things. It makes ME feel better, it makes me laugh, and therefore whatever stress or shit I may be going through at the time, soon washes away, because, as they say, laughter really is the best medicine. And let’s be honest, after you’ve had a child, all your dignity and self-respect are thrown out the window once a room full of strangers has seen your vagina and seen you poo yourself. (true story)
But aside from how it makes ME feel, more importantly are the messages I receive after I’ve done a stupid video, or done a post/video about how I am struggling with something, usually William-related. The messages of support I receive are unbelievable. I get so so many messages offering a virtual hug, or amazing advice I’d not even thought to try before. It honestly is an amazing community that I am proud to be part of. But not only that, the messages I receive when I’ve posted a story of myself doing some wacko dance in my kitchen, in one of my many dressing gowns, the response is amazing. People message me saying that they are having a particularly tough time, for one reason or another, and they message me to say that they feel better for watching my stories, or that I made them smile after a particularly rough day. THATS what I want to do this for. Because even if I just make ONE person smile, or ONE person feel less isolated, then that is good enough for me. Because I know that I myself could have done with that at one point, and fi I can make someone feel a little more themselves, then that makes me happy. Because, contrary to popular belief, I’m not actually that much of a stone hearted bitch with a resting bitch face. Well, I do have a resting bitch face but what can ya do.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t worry about putting myself out there. recently, I had an article written about me and another Hull Blogger, and I was worried to absolute sickness about how it would be taken, should I of put myself out there, what happens if I get trolled, etc etc. Why am I even worrying about these sorts of things? Why am I worrying about what other people, who I don’t even KNOW, are thinking about me? Why am I worrying if they are going to write something mean about me somewhere? Why can’t I just be my stupid, bad dancing, ugly Monday, frizzy haired self without wondering if things are going to be “perceived” in a certain way? Online trolling, abuse and bullying is becoming more and more apparent in society now, and it is affecting people from all ages and backgrounds, and it shouldn’t even be a THING for people to be worried about. How sad is it that I have to over think what I am going to say, in case I offend someone, or in case someone thinks I can’t parent, or in case someone thinks I should lose weight. Why should we have to worry about what other people think? I sure as hell don’t walk around the streets covered from head to toe ans whispering in case I offend anyone with my outfit/conversation/way I parent, so why should I do it on my own social media account? I have only been trolled the once, and I’m not going to lie it was absolutely fucking awful. I received a message telling me that I was a disgrace as a mother, that my language in front of my child was inappropriate, I should be ashamed of myself, and that my child would be the one child at school everyone talks about because of me, and nobody would want their kids hanging round with William and it was all because of me. She then went on to say that my Instagram was laughable, and there were places people went to talk about me and slag me off, and that my blog was shit and who the hell did I think I was? I’m not going to lie, it knocked me sick. I cried. I felt like a piece of crap. Was I really a bad mother? Do I swear too much? Does everyone hate me and William? Do people really go online and write nasty things about ME? A working mum from Hull? But then, the moment passed, I realised she was just a troll, and blocked her account and carried on with the rest of my day. But the words she said still stung me, and if I wasn’t comfortable within myself, then the repercussions of that thoughtless message could have been so very different. Why do people think that these sorts of messages are okay to send to someone? It’s utterly disgusting and I am thankful that for now, that was my only experience of such vile actions. At the end of the day, when you choose to send a message like that, you aren’t seeing the bigger picture. I am, under all this, still a wife, a mother, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s granddaughter.
And yes, maybe it “comes with the territory”. But come on. When is it ever okay to send such things, such hurtful things from behind a computer/phone. I wouldn’t go up to Shannon in Tescos and tell her that her hair was awful, her trousers looked shit, she shouldn’t speak to her kids like that, etc etc. So why is it acceptable for us to do this online? Anyway, I have digressed.
So, that’s how I got here. And I’m thankful for all of you guys, friends old and new for keeping me going along the way, and enjoying what im posting and engaging with me! I’m glad I make some of you laugh, and I hope to continue doing so, for as long as you’ll have me.