THE BLOG

Why the Motherhood Challenge Is Unfair to Mothers

09/02/2016 14:54 GMT | Updated 08/02/2017 10:12 GMT

I am a mum. Most of my friends are mums. And, without exception, every single mum I know is an awesome mum. I believe deeply that making a fully formed adult from scratch is to be celebrated. But for some reason, this Facebook Motherhood Challenge hasn't roused the usual high fiving, fist pumping celebration with which I meet most efforts to recognise the sterling jobs mums do.

As I scrolled down my News Feed instinctively zooming past the generic collages of cute baby with food on his face and cute baby in funny hat being held by yummy mummy, I felt confused.

Since becoming a mum twice in the last three years I have been acutely aware of how lucky I am to do this job at a time when mumhood is getting a much needed rebrand. My mum, the most awesome mother to never be tagged on the Motherhood Challenge, dealt with the tribulations of parenthood in the stoic, understated way rarely seen in the internet age. A true warrior in the woefully unfair 'I'm just a mum' era.

On the other hand, I'm fortunate enough to be living at a time when mums are no longer invisible or underrated. I live at a time when mums are changing the face of social media for the better. There's a global sisterhood emerging.

We're everywhere.

The blogzine www.selfishmother.com is not only 'rebranding parenthood one post at a time', but their distinctive, comfortable and very cool Mother sweatshirts have helped raise over £30,000 for charity. www.dresslikeamum.com has simply taken the disparaging and utterly untrue view that mums' wardrobes are full of frumpy trousers, big pants and baby stained fleeces and defiantly stamped her animal print rogues all over the phrase. The brilliant Motherpukka.co.uk continues to unapologetically parent the shit out of a life with a brazen sense of humour previously banned in the Stepford Wife epoch.

So if I am all for celebrating mumlife, why was I so irked by this challenge? It is, after all, a bit of fun, an opportunity to reminisce and give an always welcome shout out to other mums.

The first hurdle I have to overcome before converting to a Motherhood Challenge fan is the very word 'challenge.' The pedantic English teacher in me is shrieking that this just really, quite simply, is not a challenge. It's the wrong word.

But really, what gets me the most is that these mums, with their utterly adorable pictures of their beautiful children are selling themselves short by accepting that this is in any way a challenge.

We've worked hard and come a long way in telling the world that this is a bloody hard job. We've shared articles, blogs and vlogs showing the real challenges of motherhood. We've exposed what really makes us proud to be a mum - the losses, the highs, the heartbreak, the despair, the sleeplessness, the changes, the acceptance.

The five pictures of a perfect smiling child on a sandy beach, I fear, may be undoing some of the hard work we've done to be honest with each other. In the often lonely world of motherhood, we need real, not the highlight reel.