Small Children and Social Media

I no longer share lots of recognisable pictures of my children on social media and in this blog I explain how I feel about the subject.

I am going to dive straight in here and say I would love to show them off, they are beautiful and smart and I am so proud of these two little humans that my husband and I created, but is it right to make take the choice away from them and post pictures of them anyway?

It is the internet and once its out there, its out there. I did for a while post picture of my eldest child but then one day I was thinking about how he would feel about my decision to share with people he doesn’t and may never know. I didn’t have his permission.

That’s it, I didn’t have his consent to publicly share images of him. While I know he is only a child and completely at this point unaware, it doesn’t, in my mind make it OK. I would not do that to an adult. An adult who can chose to remove or un-tag the photo so why is it OK to do that to my children. In my mind it didn’t sit right with me.

Here’s the thing, I adore seeing pictures and videos of other peoples children, because kids are amazing and adorable and it’s often reassuring to see other children behave in the same manner that your own do. So I get it, I completely understand why people do share publicly their adorable little humans.

I am sure my children right now don’t care because they have no concept of the internet let alone social media, but one day they will. One day they will be more competent than me and will most likely live their lives in the public eye as pretty much everyone these days does. That will be their choice and they will have control over it.

What if I post something they don’t like? What if I embarrass them? What if they decide to change in a way that they don’t want to recognise themselves in a past state of being? What if they actually decide they don’t want to show themselves publicly on the internet at all?

Having said that these days everyone is growing up online and what if they feel left out, or different from their peers who have grown up on line. I mean almost everyone else shares pictures of their children online. Does that make it OK? I am not sure. Parenting is hard.

My husband and I have discussed this more than once and we both agree, that as we don’t have their consent then we won’t publicly post recognisable pictures of the children, with the exception of a special occasion, or private closed groups with family members.

When the kids are old enough to fully understand and make the choice for themselves then it will be up to them. It does make me sad at times because I am so proud of them and would love to show the world how amazing they are. I think in time I may relax a bit more and share the odd special moment like first day of school or one off events. I think this is a subject that I will toil over until the children are old enough to decide for themselves.

Always reminding my self that it’s not up to me, its up to them.

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Slog

It has been one of those weeks where nothing in particular has gone wrong, no traumatic experiences or bad news, it’s just been a hard slog.

My little boy had his first tummy bug he is two and a half poor little sprout didn’t know what was happening. He seems to have recovered now thank goodness and so far the rest of us seem to have gotten away with it. I don’t think it’s necessarily food related at he has the same food as us and we are all fine.

Before that I went food shopping on my own with the two of them. First the new pound coin would not work in the trolley despite the shop assistant insisting it would, then the 2 year old decided he was going in the shop, and would not move when I was trying to get him back outside to get a trolley. Lucky a lovely couple older than me come over and offered help, they were so lovely, the gentleman went and got me a trolley while the lady held the baby as I sorted out the toddler. The social anxiety in me goes over and over how I could have managed it better and how much of a crappy parent I must have seemed. My logic reminds me its was just a tricky 5 minutes that’s over and done with. I have since purchased a trolley token that’s supposed to work in all trolleys. so hopefully will avoid that situation again.

My 3 month old little girl is currently in leap 4 and getting closer to the storm cloud of doom. What I am talk about here is  The Wonder Weeks. We discovered the wonder weeks when my son went through the dreaded leap 4. He went from being the most chilled out little baby to the most angry, screaming and grumpy baby. I knew he wasn’t unwell but I knew he wasn’t right. So I did what I always do with pretty much everything, I consulted professor Google. After trawling through some results I came across a forum discussion about the wonder weeks and the mums were saying it helped massively, as they now understood what was happening with their child. Most of them recommending downloading the app, which is exactly what I did.

I am generally not one for parenting manuals we much prefer and try to promote instinct parenting, a gentle and appropriate approach tailored the each individual child where possible (although a little research can go a long way). But I needed to do something because this just wasn’t right. So as I say I downloaded the app, put in his due date, it told me he was in leap 4 and as I read through, bells started going off, this is it!! It was so accurate it’s like they knew my child better than I did. At that point they possibly did! It explains when your child goes through a big developmental leap and the signs and symptoms of their brains doing all this extra hard work. It changed the way we parent to a degree because it gave us a much better understanding of our children and what they are going through. Although it can be very stressful it is good to know that its a leap and that it wont last forever and it reminds me that it is a difficult time for them as well and they need comfort and support more than ever during this time.

I had no idea where I was going with this blog post when I sat down to write it, I figured I would just see where my thoughts took me. I do recommend The wonder Week however more than that I recommend knowing your child and trusting your instincts, parenting is hard especially with all the conflicting information and influences.

What I started talking about is how this week has been a hard slog, some weeks just are. I have barely had a second to pee let alone relax because the children understandably have been very clingy. It just takes it out of you, my husband finally has a day off and I find myself feeling so rubbish because of the relentless week of illness, leaps, housework, and lot and lots of cuddles with the children, Which is lovely and I always have time for them, but you do get to a point where you just want to sit in a room alone for 5 minutes with no one touching you, climbing on you, feeding from you, squeezing you, sitting and jumping on you, but because we are mothers, we put this aside and carry on. I sometimes forget that I need to take time for myself as well and this is when I start to feel rubbish and bogged down and unwell. I need to remind myself that I am important too, and I need to make time for me to be a better me for my family. I guess that I am all to aware of the fact that the children will grow up so quickly and I don’t want to miss a moment, because before I know it they will have left home and have families of their own. It’s a struggle that I am sure most parents deal with every day, I would love to know your thoughts.

We have ended the week on a high with some of the family coming over to celebrate my nieces 9th birthday we took a picnic to the park at the end of our road and all had a lovely time. Just being around family and relaxing and having fun can make the hardest of weeks disappear in a puff of smoke and wipe the slate clean for the week ahead.

I hope where ever you are, whatever you are doing, and whatever kind of week you have had that you are happy and healthy and have love in your life. When you have a bad day just write it off and start a fresh the next day. x

Social Anxiety and Me

I have social and anxiety and avoidance.

This is something only close family know about me, but with more and more positive coverage on mental health I feel its something worth writing about.

There are many many ways social anxiety affects people who have it, some people can live relatively normal lives, something which I have been lucky enough to be able to do. Others can find it very debilitating and life limiting and in all honesty I have been through phases where I have been practically house bound as a result of the condition.

All I can do is talk about how it has effected and effects me personally and what I do to over come some of the more challenging aspects and hope that someone else may find comfort in the fact they are not alone and you can in fact lead a happy and content life despite the difficulties social anxiety imposes.

Social anxiety is something I have had since I can remember. How its affects me everyday is the constant replaying of situations or  what I might say in my head. Take for example this very post. From the minute I decided to write it I have gone over what I might write about repeatedly. It’s like when you get a song stuck in your head that you can’t shift and it drives you bonkers. This is my every day. Anything where I have to interact in a way where I, in my head, may not be perceived in the way I hope (which lets face it is everything) will play over and over and over in my head countless times continuously. It drives me mad, but you simply can’t make it stop.

Socially I am absolutely fine with people I know well. People I don’t know well or strangers its a very different story.

When my son was born I was living in Scotland, 400 miles away from my family, no one close by for support other than my partner who worked 6 days a week. I did have friends but they all had their jobs and own families. The very thought of arranging something with them makes me feel embarrassed, like a burden or inconvenience to them even though I know logically this isn’t the case. Anyway I decided to push myself for the sake of my son and I went to a mother and toddler group. Something for most people would be a bit nerve wracking at first but not particularly difficult. Once I decided to go I played the route there, and walking in over and over and over for a week continuously. When I got there I sat outside for 10 minutes trying to pluck up the courage to walk in, when one of the other mums going in said ‘hi, are you coming in?’ at that point I had to. So in I went. With social anxiety I CAN NOT start a conversion with anyone I don’t know. I just cant. I sit there looking around trying not to make eye contact but smiling if I accidentally do. In my head I am screaming at myself to say hello to the lady sitting next to me, to ask her how old her baby is, in my head I am desperate to start that conversation, to look normal, to look confident. I physically can not make the words come out. On the odd occasion I can get the words out I am so quiet that no one hears me and my attempt goes unnoticed and I feel like a total idiot.

Then I get home and replay everything in my head over and over feeling like an idiot because I find it impossible to talk to people. It’s not all that bad as I can actually talk to people provided they approach me and start the conversation because at that point I can’t be rude and generally I am answering some sort of question. To be honest it’s often a relief at the time because they gave me the opportunity to not look like the weirdo sat in the corner not talking to anyone.

I don’t like unplanned visitors, I don’t like making phone calls to anyone I don’t know. I will never return and item even if it is faulty in case they don’t believe me, and I will never seek professional help because I feel stupid, what could they do anyway? They probably just think I am being silly and should just get on with it. I know that’s the SA talking but that’s what SA is, that’s how it makes you feel about everything.

After a particularly unpleasant experience almost a year ago, it got so bad that I stopped going to all groups, I didn’t leave the house unless I had an appointment or need to go to the shop. That’s the avoidance part, I avoided any situation that wasn’t absolutely necessary through fear. Fear of contact with people and looking like an idiot. This went on for 4 months, then we moved.

I have however been very lucky, I have been able to work and until I had children I worked full time generally in management. I have good friends that I made when I moved to Scotland (that’s a story for another time). I still don’t go to baby toddler groups and I am thankful that since I moved closer to my family I don’t have to because my children can socialise with their cousins. It takes away the guilt and relieves the pressure.

There are 3 things that help me in my every day:-

  1. Breathing. Simple enough yes, but I mean deep breathing a technique I learned from hypno-birthing (again a story for another day).
  2. Take the Risk.  Just saying this at key moments to push myself that little bit more and it nearly always pays off.
  3. Crochet. Doing something with my hands (I’m a fidget) and mind is a wonderful distraction and probably one of the only things that can quite my thoughts for any period of time (apart from my children that is, but they go to bed at 7). Anything creative that requires attention to detail I find very therapeutic.

For bigger occasions when I find it very difficult I find Rescue Remedy to be very helpful, it calms me and helps me process things easier.

I am not sure if this will help anyone, at the very least I hope it raises awareness and highlights the fact that just because you can see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

I hope it does and that’s why I wrote about it (another thing I do, over justify and explain everything I do repeatedly, feeling I am constantly being judged). It is a complicated condition that is different for every individual who has it. To those that know me well you may not even be aware its an issue, I am one of the lucky ones.

 

 

 

 

First blog post

My first ever blog post. So why start a blog? When there and millions of blogs covering everything that anyone could possibly think of. That is an interesting question and one I will try to answer.

I guess since becoming a full time stay at home mum two and a half years ago when my little boy was born I have been solely dedicated to him and also his 3 month old sister. I adore my husband and my children and am happy to take on the role of housewife, in fact I chose it, (here’s the but) but, I felt simply that I needed to DO SOMETHING. Looking at many options and outlets it was blogging that seemed to keep popping up.

From the age if 18 fresh out of college where I trained as a nursery nurse I have been full time employed and independent. I always knew that when I had children I would want to give up work and stay at home to raise them. I am lucky enough to have been able to do that and although it has been tough at times financially, it has been a huge learning curve in terms of my own personal growth.

Its a very complicated and bizarre thing when you go from being independent to be a dependent and in turn having a tiny human dependent on you.

At times you do lose a sense of self, but what I have come to miss is simply just doing something. Something for me, something productive and something that I can fit around my family.

I don’t expect massive success or financial gain, but it does feel good to sit and write and feel like I am making some sort of contribution, even if I am the only person that ever reads this. Its for me and I am excited about it.

In this blog I plan to write about everything and anything. This will include all aspects of my life and wheat I feel about them. From gentle parenting through to crochet, successes and failures.

This is all new and shiny and I am looking forward to the journey it will take me on.

“I am a leaf on the wind” – Wash, Firefly