I follow well over a thousand accounts on Instagram, and the overwhelming majority of them are people I don’t know in real life and have never met. If you’d have told me this before I had April and I actually had a life I wouldn’t have believed you. I didn’t have any social media accounts at that point, not even Facebook! It wasn’t that I was against it, I just wasn’t particularly interested in it.
Then april came along and my old life was stripped from me in an instant, suddenly I found myself sitting on the sofa or in bed for hours and hours on end while this little creature fed from my breast. One hand supporting her head, and the other one my only weapon against being bored shitless, reading a book is okay with one hand…until you need to turn the page…watching tv is okay I guess, until they fall asleep and you are desperate not to wake them so end up watching Made In Chelsea on mute…perhaps I could have developed a talent for one handed cross stitch…but alas, my phone was there for me when I needed it, and Instagram was the entertainment I needed to get me through.
What I liked about Instagram was that it was bite sized. You can just scroll through pictures without having to read much, (excellent for when you’ve not had much sleep and your eyes aren’t focussing properly) – it’s entertaining without any real commitment.
I started an account and started sharing pictures of april with a few mums I had followed, I didn’t even add any of my real friends to my account because I didn’t want to annoy them with baby spam, it soon became clear that Instagram was full to the brim with bored one handed mums like me, and it was comforting to know that we were all in the same boat…bored, tired, exasperated, occasionally on the verge of losing our minds, but ultimately so proud of the little people we were doing it all for. So my life was completely different to how it was before, but all of a sudden I had access to other people’s lives and I found so many mothers just like me, and just a quick glance at their grids showed me how normal I was. Yes it’s tiresome, yes it’s monotonous, yes it’s exasperating and annoying and exhausting…but look at this cute picture I managed to get of baby sucking her thumb…(underlying meaning – it’s all worth it…so so worth it). And that’s the message that shouts loud and clear from all the mummy feeds I follow…it’s hard…but worth it.
It sounds so creepy and weird, and I mean it in the least creepy way possible…but I feel emotionally invested in other people’s kids on Instagram, kids I don’t know, have never met, but whose pictures I see for a few minutes each day, their mums describing their triumphs and achievements and mishaps, showing off their new outfits or celebrating their milestones, a split second snapshot of their little lives. I don’t know these children but I love following their ups and downs, it only takes a couple of minutes while feeding the baby to catch up on what everyone has been up to, the time investment is so little and yet I feel a lot less alone in motherhood when I’ve scrolled down my feed for a few minutes.
Chances are, if I am following you on Instagram (@ever.after.with.kids) – I probably adore your little one and seeing them on my feed each day. I am a self confessed baby spam addict and your kids are feeding my habit. So thanks for sharing your pictures of Audrey throwing a tantrum, or Nancy’s poop explosion, or Penelope’s home made cupcakes…it makes my life feel a little more normal and it gives me something to smile at when the baby is asleep on me!