Often (actually, most issues of LittleONE) I get blamed by at least one or two people that I am perpetuating the myth of the ‘perfect’ life. No one dresses their kids like that. No one has rooms that look like that. No one lives like that. Well, some people come close, but I think that the complainers are somewhat missing the point. We are not trying to say that you ‘should’ do anything…because if you try to life your life by a single photograph, or a single day, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Here is an example of the reality not exactly living up to the ‘perfect image’…
See this book (‘home’ by Anita Kaushal)?
I bought it before I had kids. In a life where I splurged on gorgeous coffee table books quite regularly, this was a favourite. Beautiful images, wonderful and positive text, this was the family life that I aspired to. Let’s forget for a moment that the cover image shows a woman with a model-like figure and HEELS holding a teeny bubba (I was always too nervous to wear shoes with even a small heel when I had a baby that big for fear I would topple over in my sleep deprived state and smack us both on the floor). Both mama and bub are also in beautiful, vintage fabric that would stain like the be-geezus…but oh, what a gorgeous shot! What a timeless image! One of my favourite pages inside the book was this one on the right of the above image. Mama looks fresh (in white, and linen), cooking happily in her provincial-style kitchen. Bubba is also in white and oh, what a lovely age this is. When your baby wants you all the time…when you can still carry them…a time before they get long and gangly and opinionated. I used to look at this image and think, ‘Oh, I would love that.’ And, in a crazy state of memory loss, when I was pregnant with my second I looked at this and thought, ‘Oh, I can’t wait for this time again!’ I know. I KNOW!
So, if I wanted to be a glass is half empty kind of gal, I could dissect this page as follows:
- the bottom three images…the one where mama and bub look at each other with love? That’s probably mum trying to convince baby to stop crying, and smile for the camera, so she can put him down because even carrying a small baby at that age is hard after a bit. They don’t grip like a koala…they hang off you like a heavy little sack of spuds.
- mum can’t put baby down because stone floors would mess up white onesie and baby would no doubt smack bottle of red wine (to the left of frame) on to said stone floors creating wine/glass mess.
- forced to hold baby, mum now attempts to clean kitchen and cook whilst holding the baby. This, if you have tried it, is virtually impossible. You need two hands to do most kitchen/cooking related tasks.
You want to know how I know this is impossible? The reason that this image is so blurry is because I took it with my iPhone before I forgot (sleep deprivation 101) and I was juggling a 12kg 10 month old in my other arm. The reason I had the
bag of spuds baby in my arms is because he was having one of those days. You know the ones where they cry every time you put them down? Or look at them? Or clear your throat? It could be teething, it could be growing, it could be because he wants to watch the news and not In The Night Garden on ABC2, who knows? The point is, he wouldn’t stop whinging. And when you are doing dishes and cooking tea, you actually need both of your hands. You can’t peel or chop things, or get heavy dishes out of the oven with a baby in your arms. Or at least, I can’t. So, between cuddles, I would put him down on the floor, quickly peel the potatoes or turn the meat, and then pick him up again before the crying gave me too much of a migraine.
In between this juggling act, my three year old wants to know what the big, bouncy things are called (The Ha Hoo’s apparently) and I am praying for my husband to get home so that I can quickly pee before tea has to be served and a whole other act of juggling commences (bath and bed).
So, this is the reality. My very own linen-white-gorgeous-kitchened moment. My baby butting his head up against my legs like a little goat and crying (loudly)…and then…me holding him when I can whilst he sucks on a spoon covered in mustard in yet another failed attempt to keep him quiet. I am wearing my husbands jeans (that shouldn’t fit me, but do because I am 10kg over my pre-baby weight and can’t be bothered to start the Lose The Baby Weight program even though I have had it since Seb was born), a maternity singlet that I wore to bed last night (although looking at this, I clearly need to stop doing that asap), hair is ponytail (not done properly all week) and I only have broccoli and cauliflower on the menu because they are the ONLY vegetables that Seb will eat this week.
You have to remember a couple of things about beautiful, glossy pictures - it is ONE image. ONE. I am sure that if someone followed you around all day with a camera that they would capture a single image that was simply beautiful - any day of the week (in fact, possibly many). It might be a moment that you choose to sniff your baby’s soft little head. Or perhaps that second when your kids stop fighting with one another and start to giggle at the smallest, cutest thing. Or maybe, on a bad day, it might be late at night when your baby is fast asleep and his lips are pursed together making a random suck every now and then. There is a quote floating around Pinterest at the moment that pretty much sums it up:
When you read through LittleONE, READ it, try not to just look at the pretty pictures (although, they ARE very pretty). You might look at a gorgeous, smiling baby and a lovely, dressed nursery but if you read the words then you will know that mama, just like you, has her ups and downs. And just like me with that gorgeous HOME book, be inspired instead of intimidated. Relax and enjoy the beauty of your reality. But don’t, for one single moment, be fooled in to thinking that anyone’s life is better than yours. Because the truth it, you will never know. So just focus on what you’d like to do to make yours more beautiful. Me? I will perhaps cook tea a little earlier next time.