• Gareth Ellis

Anti-Social Media

Social media when you have children is both the best and the worst thing.

It’s the best because we can share little milestones that Ru is hitting with friends and family that otherwise wouldn’t see it. That is, without us relentlessly messaging them an endless stream of pictures and videos.

I love being able to share little snapshots of what we’re doing with Ru and memories we’re making, but within that statement comes my biggest criticism of social media.

For those with children, and even those without, you will know that social media is not always a true representation of life. You share those parts of your day that are amazing and rarely will you see EVERY part of what people are doing. It is in essence, a snapshot of your day.

For example, he could be having the grumpiest day ever, he could have not slept, he could be overtired, hungry and generally being a little wotsit, but in that one moment I can point a camera at him and he grins at me from ear to ear, and I’ll get a shot of it. That’s the moment people will see.

So before I carry on I should say this is something I’m definitely guilty of myself. I sometimes take dozens of pictures of Rupert and then will share just the ones that are deemed the nicest.

I see it all the time on social media and often at times when I know the truth of a situation. People will still put pictures on depicting something in a different way, a feeling or a moment, and I wonder why they didn’t put a more genuine picture on. (Again, a fairly hypocritical statement.)

But what people don’t realise is that what we’re creating is this society of perfection. Where we make out that life is perfect and that every part of parenting is easy, and our kids always smile, or laugh, or do something cute.

Well I can tell you all now, parenting is not easy. Sure, Jess and I do our best and we try hard (some days we try really hard) but the upshot is that it’s a tough job.

I’m not saying for a second it’s a bad job. The sleepless nights are definitely outweighed by the smile you get when you get him out of bed. All I’m saying is that if you looked at my social media you’d think he was the most smiley, kindest boy who never throws the food you lovingly prepared for him straight on to the floor. And definitely not the hungry, upset little so and so that he can be. For example, last weekend. What you saw was a happy, laughing little angel, being lovingly cuddled by his Nanna, Grandad and parents. What actually happened was, we arrived in Arundel, parked up to discover Rupert had pooed. So with nowhere to change him we had to change him in the boot of the car, only to realise we hadn’t restocked our nappies. So back in the pushchair, a wander into Arundel to find nappies and then a bum change outside of an estate agent. But you didn’t see that as we didn’t take any pictures surprisingly enough.

The other problem with social media is how relentless it can be. You are always ‘in competition’ with someone else to send out the best pictures and update your story/timeline. The amount of times I’ve heard ‘Well, you have to do something special to be like….’ Is staggering. Well guess what? Sometimes I even ‘miss’ taking a picture of something, and then walk away wishing I’d captured the moment but I’ll tell you what, I was busy living it. Or I took the picture and then didn’t upload it at the time because I was enjoying the time with Jess, Rupert and my family (or all of the above) too much.

I just think we should be worrying less about what people think about our parenting skills, (judged of course by how happy our baby looks in our Instagram pictures) and more about making sure that your baby is getting the actual attention that it needs/deserves.

I know this blog seems like I’ve been rough on Rupert and I’ll admit that he is usually fairly good but I only see him some days for three to four hours (unless he wakes up after we’ve put him down.) And this isn’t to say I don’t love him. I love him with all my heart and I always will. Just sometimes he can really push my buttons…until he smiles again of course. CLICK.

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