The Facebook Motherhood Challenge

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.

On the one hand it is a brilliant way of keeping in touch with people, especially those who live overseas. Our ‘friends in our phones’ have been an invaluable support through difficult times – through Facebook Martin and I shared our time with Hugo, and we have got to know people we might not otherwise have met in real life.

My beautiful Hugo.

My beautiful Hugo.

On the other hand: Facebook can drive me up the wall. I’ve written about how racist, bigoted, xenophobic memes are shared seemingly without considering the implication for spreading hatred.

The latest trend is, at least, full of love. The Motherhood Challenge has been doing the rounds on Facebook during the past week or so: a mum will nominate x (the number seems to vary) of her mum friends to post photos that make them happy to be a mother.

Now, I know it isn’t to be taken seriously. It’s just a bit of fun and another excuse for folk to share pictures of their gorgeous little ones.

Ultimately the Motherhood Challenge is not any different to regular Facebook posts. Whenever we post on social media or blog there is always a slight inherent narcissm present – whether it’s “Read what I wrote!” “Look at my photos!” “Look at me!” “Look at my house!” “Look at my awesome holiday!” “Look at my kids!” “Look what I’ve got!”

You get the idea.

Yes stuff on social media can just be ignored if you don’t like it. Scroll on.

Over the past couple of days I have been debating with myself whether I should write this post: am I overthinking it? Just being an embittered bereaved mother?

Overthinking? Yes, guilty as charged. Evidence for the prosecution includes me pondering on why it is called a ‘challenge’?

A challenge can mean an invitation to take part, which is what the tags are about. Respond to the tags and post your own photos if you want, don’t if you don’t.

However, like many words in our beautiful language, ‘challenge’ has many definitions. Challenge can also mean testing someone’s abilities, or a call to prove or justify something. It can mean dispute. And, of course, an invitation to take part implies competition.

We women talk so much about not competing with one another, but instead supporting each other. We talk about recognising that we women – whether or not we are mothers (of living children or not, whether we are trying to conceive or have made a decision to not have children) can have a challenging lot in life due to society’s expectations [insert your own gripes here].

For me, Facebook (and all social media) can sometimes feel like returning to the school playground – and in a negative way. All that competition! The sense that you need to prove yourself and your abilities. Who is friends with whom? How many friends have you got? How many tags/likes did you get?

The Motherhood Challenge also has me pondering these questions:

  • If you haven’t been tagged, does it make you a bad mum (no of course not)
  • If you are a woman but aren’t a mum (whether by choice or by circumstance) does that make you less important because you can’t join in? (no of course not)
  • If you are a mum who has lost a baby or child, do your friends not tag you for fear of upsetting you? (no one has tagged me, I am an awesome mum, and I am always really chuffed, as a mother of no living children when people remember I am a mum)
  • By tagging x amount of your friends, are you saying mum friends you haven’t tagged aren’t good mums? (I should hope not)

I know no one intends to be insensitive. I know it is just another reminder that life can be really unfair. I know it is just life, life can be a minefield, and people are being people.

I know that we are all fighting our own battles and everyone has things they are sensitive about.

I know the world goes on. I’m not trying to make anyone who has participated feel bad, it’s just my contemplations. I also know from friends’ status updates that I am not alone in feeling discomfort about this palaver (and not all have experienced a loss).

I think the concept of this ‘challenge’ came from a desire to celebrate the beauty of motherhood. And that is wonderful. Motherhood is wonderful. I am so proud to be Hugo’s mummy and happy to be his mummy.

But all the photos I have of and with Hugo – treasured as they are – feature the massive amount of equipment that sustained his life. I’m grateful for that equipment because it gave us that precious time together. It’s that I struggle, still, with the concept of being ‘happy’ about everything because of the circumstances of his very premature birth. I probably always shall.

Me and Hugo

Me and Hugo

A cuddle with Hugo amongst all the equipment.

A cuddle with Hugo amongst all the equipment.

And that, for me is the crux. I am a bereaved mother, but an embittered one? No, I don’t think so.

Being a mother, whether bereaved or not, does not make me any better or worse than anyone.

We are all special (yep, you men too) in our own way, we all have value, we all have something to give to the world.

We are all trying our best.

Trying our best at this challenge called life.

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34 Comments on The Facebook Motherhood Challenge

  1. Hayley - Downs Side Up
    February 8, 2016 at 12:35 pm (2 years ago)

    As others have mentioned I didn’t feel I wanted to take part in this, and immediately thought of you and others,because all our motherhood journeys are so different and unique. Yes we must celebrate them but we must be sensitive to one another too.
    Hayley – Downs Side Up recently posted…Using Special iApps to Toilet Train Without Going PottyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm (2 years ago)

      So true thank you lovely Hayley xx

      Reply
  2. Hannah Horne
    February 7, 2016 at 11:01 pm (2 years ago)

    Life is indeed a challenge and you are handling the challenge with grace and dignity x

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm (2 years ago)

      That’s really kind, thank you x

      Reply
  3. Stephs Two Girls
    February 6, 2016 at 11:04 am (2 years ago)

    Such a brilliant, balanced post. You don’t sound bitter at all, you sound thoughtful. I did post pictures, as I love all photos so just used it as an excuse to look back, but I didn’t tag anyone as I don’t like that side of it. Your thoughts on Facebook are actually spot on and probably why I’ve stopped using it so much over the last year. Hugo is gorgeous and you are a fabulous mum xx
    Stephs Two Girls recently posted…Disney inspires our Healthily Ever After moments with Frozen and Inside OutMy Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 7, 2016 at 11:45 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Steph šŸ™‚ xx

      Reply
  4. Sarah Bacchus
    February 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Such a thoughtfully written post, I have similar feelings and hope that others can understand how something which I on the outside seems positive may have a different impact on others who’s life experiences have been different (muself included), thank you for writing this x

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 7, 2016 at 11:44 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks for your kind comment, Sarah xx

      Reply
  5. Tara
    February 4, 2016 at 11:02 am (2 years ago)

    A thoughtful and wise post, Leigh. I haven’t taken part for many of the reasons you mentioned. I don’t think you sound embittered at all, far from it.

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 7, 2016 at 11:43 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Tara x

      Reply
  6. Antonia
    February 3, 2016 at 9:01 pm (2 years ago)

    What a brilliant post and what a wonderful woman you are for writing it. X

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 7, 2016 at 11:43 am (2 years ago)

      That’s really kind, Antonia, thank you x

      Reply
  7. Michelle
    February 3, 2016 at 10:44 am (2 years ago)

    I wrote about the Motherhood Challenge on my blog, but you said it much better than I ever could!

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 3, 2016 at 11:02 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Michelle! xx

      Reply
  8. Erin Chamberlain
    February 2, 2016 at 10:37 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m with you on this. A friend posted hers and tagged 17 other “amazing mums” and didn’t tag me. I texted her in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way to ask if she didn’t think I was a good mother since she didn’t tag me. Turned out she had felt pressured into doing it by a well meaning friend. Things on Facebook are rarely what they seem!

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 3, 2016 at 11:04 am (2 years ago)

      Oh bless you – the trouble is we can read theories in to things isn’t it? Thanks for commenting xx

      Reply
  9. Single Mother Ahoy
    February 2, 2016 at 6:37 pm (2 years ago)

    Brilliant post Leigh.
    I was tagged, but I didn’t take part. Every photo I post (and I post a LOT!) makes me proud to be a mother. Also I would have struggled to tag x number of mothers to join in. I always do with that sort of thing but with something like that I would feel like I needed to tag every single woman on my friends list who is a mother – because if I didn’t then I would feel like I was excluding them, saying they were a bad mother. Perhaps I think about these things too much!
    I completely understand your point though; it’s not an inclusive meme is it!

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 3, 2016 at 11:09 am (2 years ago)

      I don’t think we’re thinking about these things too much Vicky – better to think a bit IMHO than follow the herd mentality. There are far worse things in the world of course but it excludes folk, which is my biggest problem with this challenge on ‘social’ media. Thanks for commenting xxx

      Reply
  10. Kate / Pouting In Heels
    February 2, 2016 at 2:08 pm (2 years ago)

    A brilliant post Leigh and so, so true. I’ve been invited numerous times to take part and haven’t, because of everything that you say. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I’m so glad you decided to go ahead and write this. As always lovely, you hit the nail on the head. šŸ™‚ X
    Kate / Pouting In Heels recently posted…MEET OUR NEW ADDITION!My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 3, 2016 at 11:07 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you lovely Katie xx

      Reply
  11. Katy
    February 2, 2016 at 10:45 am (2 years ago)

    I must live in a bubble as I’ve not seen it haha. I wouldn’t have joined in anyway as I just don’t get on with Facebook anymore. Completely understand your points here hun and you have expressed them beautifully. Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks! xx

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 2, 2016 at 12:06 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks lovely Katy – and likewise! xxx

      Reply
  12. Honest Mum
    February 2, 2016 at 9:16 am (2 years ago)

    Oh Leigh, I am so touched by this, I immediately didn’t want to take part despite understanding others are celebrating motherhood etc- I thought of my dear friends like you and also others I know feeling guilty about parts of motherhood they are working through, or those suffering from post natal depression who are yet to feel the celebratory part of motherhood. Sending you love. You are so wise, never ever fear writing what you are feeling, through your truth others are reached, touched and feel less alone, Vxxx
    Honest Mum recently posted…Sesame Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Pan-Roasted Garlic and Chilli, Served with Noodles & Fresh CorianderMy Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm (2 years ago)

      Bless you lovely Vicki thank you. From the response I’ve received, I’m so glad I’ve written it – I can almost hear a collective sigh of relief! Thank you darling xxx

      Reply
  13. Kelly | To Become Mum
    February 1, 2016 at 9:39 pm (2 years ago)

    A really honest and heartfelt post. You’re right in that no-one really thinks about these things that much or they really don’t mean it to come across any bring other than something fun and silly to pass the time. But that doesn’t chabge how you feel. Just know it’s ok to feel that way. And just scroll on next time.

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 2, 2016 at 8:50 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks, Kelly xx

      Reply
  14. Kayleigh
    February 1, 2016 at 9:25 pm (2 years ago)

    Life is a challenge in itself, you are right. I understand your perspective on this and I was reluctant to take part but I did.

    As mothers, as women, well actually as human beings I think we all need to stop comparing each other. We all have struggles and celebrations which are important and significant to us and I like that I have the ability to share that – mostly through my blog.

    But I still compare myself to other mums, and I wish I wouldn’t.

    This is a lovely write up.

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 2, 2016 at 8:49 am (2 years ago)

      Absolutely, we are all special and unique – it’s tough not comparing ourselves to others but we all do it. I think the key is remembering and recognising our unique qualities, and that there is no one like us! Xx

      Reply
  15. Emma
    February 1, 2016 at 9:05 pm (2 years ago)

    This challenge makes me a feel a bit uncomfortable which is why I haven’t taken part when I was tagged. Mainly because I have friends struggling to conceive and I know how hard I found seeing this kind of thing when I was dealing with infertility and miscarriage. I’m glad you’ve written this post.

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 2, 2016 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting xxx

      Reply
  16. Angela at Daysinbed
    February 1, 2016 at 8:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Okay so I was thinking the exact same thing. I remember how hard it was when I was not a mother wanting to be one! Also, what about a mother who has miscarried or lost a child? As you say above. These have all been in mind mind too. I think being a “health/awareness/parent” blogger I now look at things with more perspective and see ho yes it could affect people in a negative way! Good point!

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 2, 2016 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

      So true Angela. Thanks for your lovely comment xx

      Reply
  17. Lizzie Roles
    February 1, 2016 at 8:38 pm (2 years ago)

    Leigh I think you know from my status today what I think about the ‘challenge’. As a mum of two children I could easily become part of the masses that are taking part, and like you I don’t mind if they do or not. Like you said, it’s a choice. And I choose not to take part. Because of women (and men) like you, and like my friend who is step mum and has no children of her ‘own’. I also thought of a friend who had to put her career on hold to look after her own sick mum. So no, I won’t be taking part. Anything that puts anyone on the outside looking in doesn’t float my boat in the slightest. Well done for voicing this in a much better way than I could have. xo Lizzie xo
    Lizzie Roles recently posted…City Country LifeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      February 2, 2016 at 8:46 am (2 years ago)

      Hi lovely Lizzie – yes your beautiful status was one of those that helped persuade me I’m not just being embittered. Thank you for your beautiful comment xxx

      Reply

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