We’re pleased to share this thoughtful guest post today from Charlotte, an adoptive mum of two…
I had an interesting conversation in the playground this morning which got me thinking…
Mum K: XXX has been really difficult recently. She’s a good girl, they play nicely, but when I leave the room she bickers with her sister.
Me: Oh my two are like that too. The entire summer was just the two of them bickering constantly.
Mum M: Really? I thought your two were really good. They seem so polite and kind and when I look at your Facebook all I see is lovely photos of you all looking happy and smiling.
Me: Oh no. K really hates T. The only reason I only share the good bits is because I don’t want to fill my timeline with negative stuff and I have other Facebook groups where I share the difficult stuff.
Mum K: I’m so glad I’m not the only one. When I look at Facebook all I see are lovely photos of families and happy children, but then I actually talk to other mums and find out that all children are like it, or at least, aren’t the angels that we perceive them to be.
And so the conversation continued. We realised that our 5 year old daughters were all behaving similarly, and commiserated over the frustrations involved. We concluded that it’s good to talk and not just rely on the projected or perceived images.
That was a conversation between me and two mums of birth children. They both know my ‘status’ as an adoptive mum. What I found particularly interesting is that they’re right of course!
On Facebook, and online generally I share my good days to the world, and my bad days within my adoptive parents groups, and seemingly, most of my adoptive parent contacts do that too.
In some of my adoptive parent groups, you often see a status preceded by ‘I couldn’t share this on my own wall but…’ or ‘You saw the positive pics on my wall, but in reality….’.
On forums and on Twitter I tend to share the shittier days because I know I’m surrounded by people that get it and can give me support. And that’s what I tend to see too. I wouldn’t want to share the good days too often in those places because it might seem like bragging to those who are really struggling.
But from my conversation today, it’s clear that others – birth parents – have struggles with their children too. Of course they do. All children can be challenging at times.
I’ve always felt a little concerned about sharing the difficult days on my normal Facebook page.
– Will I come across as ungrateful, after all I have 2 beautiful children?
– Will I be judged?
– Will I look negative all the time?
– Do people really care about my struggles?
– Aren’t everyone else’s children perfect? Won’t mine look awful in comparison?
– Will it bring it home that I’m crap at being a mum?
– Is it fair on my kids to tell the world they’re being little toe-rags?
But actually, after today, I think all it’s done for me is isolate me from some people who could be understanding and supportive. And it’s isolated them by making them feel that it’s only their children that have problems sometimes.
In addition, it explains their reactions in the past to comments I’ve made about particular challenges and behaviours. I’ve presented such a good picture of my family that on those odd occasions where I’ve talked about the bad days they’ve been seen as recoverable minor one-offs rather than the pretty major, violent difficulties that they are.
So what now? Well, I’ll continue to post about the great days, and I’ll continue to seek support from my adopter-only groups, but perhaps I won’t feel quite so bad about sharing the disastrous days occasionally.
What about you? Do you manage to share a balanced view of your life? Do you keep it all in or are you open?