I’ve been thinking about this for a while. It seems how the uproar about whether certain magazines can promote low self esteem in teenagers has moved on.
Now blogs can promote low self-esteem in everybody.
No one escapes. You have fashion bloggers wearing amazing clothes every day. Beauty bloggers looking amazing all the time. Parent bloggers getting it right at every leap and milestone.
Bloggers live in perfect, Instagram ready houses. If their children play with toys, they are of the monochrome variety. No plastic tat. Everything gets tidied away immediately and food is presented in fun shapes at every meal time.
Obviously none of this is real.
Or is it?
As a blogger, it is our job, if you are that way inclined, to have Instagram photos that inspire. I follow a blogger called The House That Made Me whose house is so perfect on screen that at times when I can’t be bothered to tidy up, I think of her Instagram feed and it spurs me on.
Blogs and social media have made us the new magazines. Our feeds have to look magazine ready in order to blend in with other bloggers and their perfect lives.
The thing is, none of us are perfect. None of our lives are perfect. Just like Facebook timelines, we edit out the bad and the ugly (unless you’re the Unmumsy Mum or similar who make this their niche) for your viewing pleasure.
I don’t have a feed that many people would be envious. Every so often I try to take a pretty photo for Instagram but my enthusiasm wanes and that solitary perfect pic is lost in a sea of goats, mud and real life.
I am not immune from people aspiring to my ‘perfect life’ though. I had an email from another farmer’s wife who said she felt inadequate when she read one blog post because she had a baby and a toddler and her life was nothing like mine.
This made me feel so sad. I set out wanting my blog to be a place where people could follow our crazy parenting journey and see what life is like on a farm. Not to feel inadequate.
The thing is though, I too am guilty of editing out the bad.
Just like you would feel surprised to see a less than perfect person modelling clothes in a magazine, no one really wants to see the bad side of life-especially farming.
I had to think carefully about publishing a photo of a raw leg of lamb. I did publish in the end but I worried because people want to see the cute fluffy lambs when we bottle feed. Not so much the end result and the reason why we raise them.
I have former friends who never ring me any more because they think they find everything out they need to on the blog.
I don’t share everything with you. That small square on Instagram with the perfect flat-lay food? There is a mountain of washing up behind and the baby threw all of his on the floor.
I am appealing for people to enjoy blogs responsibly. Don’t think we love perfect lives. We don’t. Many blogs are a place of beauty and attainment but everyone looks rough sometimes and can’t be bothered tidying up.
Open up a blog post like you would open up a glossy magazine. With wonder and awe but with the notion that surely they can’t live like that.
The main catalyst for writing this post was because I read one by Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks about her feeling like she is treading water.
In the comments, I told her to come and look at my Instagram feed if she ever feels bad and I apply that to you all.
No one should make you feel inadequate or less of a person or less of a parent. We all do whatever we have to do to get through.