herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Mum's the word: 'Why those feel-good mummy bloggers make me feel so bad'

The internet is full of annoyingly talented parents - and they make me want to cry

Martha Stewart with Bill Clinton
Martha Stewart with Bill Clinton

The internet may have made my life much easier but lately it's become the source of much angst. Everywhere I click I seem to be surrounded by mummy blogs written by some of the world's most annoyingly-perfect parents.

These colourful, creative blogs are meant to offer readers an intimate view into ordinary people's worlds but the reality is that most mummy bloggers' 'ordinary' lives look less like a scene from Fair City and more like a beautiful shoot from the latest Boden catalogue.

Mummy bloggers all have several irritating things in common: impossibly cute children, wonderfully supportive husbands, enviable lifestyles and homes that are hopelessly stylish. (The sun is always shining in their photos too. Always.)

Just fed the kids sausages and beans for the second night in a row while studiously stepping over that pile of toys on the living room floor? Then skip right past that "About Me" button. Nothing is guaranteed to give you more of an inferiority complex than the biography section of a mummy blog.

Click at your peril and you'll find yourself in a sea of cheery, self-deprecating modesty explaining how they've always loved to bake, cook or craft. Invariably they've abandoned a career they adored to focus on their children and started their blog as a way to relax and share their spare time hobby. (Yes - that's right - these are real parents with free time and hobbies!)

Desperate

Variations on: "I'm a cake loving, chocolate-obsessed mom with a desperate need to share my favourite recipes with the world" or "Food makes me happy; cooking makes my soul sing" make me want to curl up and cry.

Such soul-crushing declarations are usually followed by a brief family description: "I live in the Cotswolds with my brood of four kids and hard-working husband."

In case you've been left with any niggling doubt that this person is not, in fact, a Wonder Mum, they'll mention they're in training for their first half-marathon before signing off with, "I'm happiest making delicious food for the people I love."

I can't decide if baking or crafting mummy bloggers upset me more. Their creative output seems staggering, each of their posts more beautiful than the last, and their talents leave me in no doubt as to how lacking mine are.

(Did I mention these talented people are also a dab hand with the camera, each of their blog shots looking like they were styled by an editorial team for the latest Martha Stewart magazine. Somehow, in between the child rearing, recipe testing/pattern making, prop sourcing and writing, they've managed to effortlessly master another skill.)

First up are the bakers, who, week after week, turn out plates of perfectly-iced cookies, lovingly crafted novelty cakes and the best looking brownies you ever did see.

Throw in moodily lit photos of their little darlings in cutesy aprons with floury hands and you can't help but believe their food tastes better than anything you could ever make. (You can't help wonder how they find the time to keep that fabulous house as clean as they do either. Damn them, any way.)

Then there's the crafters who knock up cushions from vintage shop scraps or turn ordinary tea towels into fabulous bunting for their children's playroom. They hang out with their kids making dinosaurs out of egg boxes, monsters out of toilet rolls and rockets out of cereal boxes. Their finished products look good enough to sell and make me want to cry.

Are these actually real people? Surely one of them will reveal how on earth they manage to make child-rearing,home-making and creating beautiful objects and yummy food look so damn effortless and fun. (Everything seems fun in mummy blog-land.)

It's difficult not to be impressed by so many talented individuals and even though these ultra-talented parents make me question my performance and skills as a mum I can't help returning to their blogs for more. Somehow I'm labouring under the illusion that their good influences will simply rub off on me. Well, a girl can dream, can't she?

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