I'm approaching my second year as a parent. It's been a period of tears and laughter but ultimately a time of massive change. No longer are we free to plan an impromptu night out or an impulsive stroll in the evenings down to the local pub past 7pm. At 36 however, I'm more than happy to stay in and relax on the sofa with a cuppa and add items to my online shopping bag that I'll probably never purchase.
Every so often though we will be invited to a party or wedding and after roping in the babysitter and figuring out the logistics of getting there and back, so we can both get sufficiently merry, we plan and look forward to the event.
This past weekend was such an event. A good friend's wedding and we had my partner's sister taking our daughter out from 12pm. This meant from 12 pm I could shower, actually dry my hair, apply a mask and relax on my bed for 20 minutes before a long relaxed application of makeup, using both hands and not having a toddler on my lap embossing each of my eye shadows with her very cute fingers.
It's a total luxury to have this time to get ready and leave the house thinking I actually feel like I look half decent.
After arriving at the wedding, photos were taken and for once, my partner and I had our photograph taken together, something, which rarely happens these days because one of us is usually taking it. Adam also wasn't covered in chocolate fingerprints and was obviously feeling super proud of his crisp white shirt as the taken photograph was promptly uploaded to Facebook and even made the grade to be his new profile picture, I know, special hey!
As I was tagged in the photograph I was also receiving notifications of comments on this photograph of us beaming and relaxed at our friend's celebration. Most comments were complimentary and kind but after I had a notification from one of Adam's colleagues whom I have never met, my confidence was shattered in one click.
"Your misses looks like she's on crack."
That was the comment that a total stranger to me decided would be a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to say.
Instantly my eyes welled up and I felt like I wanted to head home and get my normal 8pm attire on. Why bother going to all this effort if in fact I look like a drug addict who has attempted to scrub up for a night out.
If you follow my main blog you may have read my weight loss post where I had been following Slimming World and had lost two stone. This was mainly baby weight but I had continued to lose a little more and the feelings of being super proud of myself now made me question if I had lost too much and was now looking ill?
Should I give up maintaining this weight loss and just eat as I have before?
Was it the loose-fitting dress that I had selected after not really knowing what a normal person wears on a night out anymore?
Was it the tone of eye shadow I had selected and lovingly blended for 10 minutes, for only the third time this year, making my eyes appear more shadowed than normal?
In the five seconds it took for me to read this, all these questions ran through my mind. No longer did I feel like the happy, confident woman who was out with her lovely partner who had also felt proud and wanted to share this rare snap of how we may have appeared two years ago when we managed to get eight hours of sleep a night!
I felt like I'd tried too hard, thought too highly of myself and should stick to my look of greasy roots and a quick coat of mascara.
Three days later and I feel a little different about it. Adam had swiftly removed the comment and reassured me as he always does and I realise it says more about this man than it does about me. That he must be so insecure about himself that he felt the need to bash me, a total stranger to him, down. That he probably has a completely disjointed view of woman in general and that he feels it totally acceptable to comment on my appearance. I wasn't posing, I didn't have an exposing dress on that would attract attention (not that showing a little cleavage would make his remark acceptable), I was doing nothing other than feeling happy, and I guess that must have been the trigger for him.
Maybe I need thicker skin, maybe I need to lighten up and take it as a joke, and if it had come from a friend as a bit of banter then I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Sometimes I may see something online that I think is funny or even something that I am shocked by but what I choose to do is scroll on by. The people behind the photograph are real people and even a throwaway joke comment can really hurt and cause that person to replay the comments over in their head for days to come.
We should never have to second-guess the images of ourselves we put out there but we should always second guess our comments before we hit send.
You can read more from me on my blog at www.beautyandtheminibeasts.com