When I was invited to the WaterWipes event with Psychotherapist, Anna Mathur and Bafta nominated director, Lucy Cohen speaking I was really intrigued to know more. I was told it was a bid to globally encourage more parents to be honest about their experience instilling confidence in others that they are doing a good job. Mental health in parenthood is something that I am really passionate about since becoming a mum. Mainly because I found motherhood (still find motherhood) such a challenge, and as someone who didn’t think she would be lucky enough to have children, I never thought I’d be anything other than ‘eternally grateful’. Turns out it’s a lot harder than I ever anticipated.
What I loved about this campaign was how it was highlighting ‘parenting’ rather than just ‘motherhood’. I think we’ve taken great leaps in terms of speaking out for mums but really, the dads don’t seem to get the same look in.
I went along to what was on the face of it, a lovely breakfast with Instagrammable corners wherever I turned, but actually, I was surrounded by a lot of new people I’d never met (some were influencers, some were not) and spent the morning watching an incredible short documentary created as part of the #thisisparenthood campaign alongside discussing mental health with both Anna and Lucy leading. We also discussed social media and whether it is dangerous in the way it portrays parenting. I think it’s an important topic to discuss and I for one am very open about my life on stories and upfront and somewhat ‘tongue in cheek’ when a shots been taken for a purpose. I think for me it’s important we take back control ourselves ensuring we don’t give images the power over our reality. These platform are essentially ‘creative photography’ spaces like they first began to be and in no way should we allow this to make us think real life is the same. I find it helps to put down my phone and make an effort to go out my front door when I feel this way. It was absolutely one of the most inspiring brands to have worked alongside. Traditionally brands tend to set themselves alongside the glossy side of parenting, as it’s appealing I guess, so to see a brand take the brave step into the reality of it; highs AND lows, was something I was totally behind.
I learned some shocking statistics. Over half of parents worldwide see themselves as ‘failing’ in the first year of parenthood with the UK almost coming out on top with a whopping 62% feeling this way- and I have to say, I am guilty of saying this to myself TOO MANY TIMES! Are you part of this 62%? The statistics went on to show how far too many of us don’t feel we can share the truth for fear of judgement along with many of us putting on a brave face more times that we’d like too.
I’ve linked the documentary here for you and believe every parent/parent to be should watch this. It’s about 15 minutes long so after reading this, pop the kettle on and enjoy it if you have time. It left me quite emotional (in a relieved way) and I imagine most of us can relate to someone in the story. For me, it was Hannah. Seeing her holding her babies hand whilst trying to cut hair took me back to the days and nights I’d be wrapping journals whilst trying to entertain, feed and keep Freddie happy, stretching myself beyond my means because I just wanted to be a good example to him in doing something worthwhile and provide a good life.
WaterWipes, thank you for having me along, I felt inspired, educated and valued to be part of a campaign where a brand is selling it’s message as much as it’s product.
I’ll leave you with my #thisisparenthood moment. At 6 weeks old I took Freddie to the doctors for an appointment and thought it would be a lovely idea to walk (fresh air, bird song, new baby and all that). Half way there I realised it was approximately 3580 degrees and the sunshade on the buggy was not covering him entirely. He was screaming, hot, and I was sweating in places I didn’t know could sweat. I didn’t know whether to strip him off, bare skinned but in the sun, or keep him dressed, boiling but not burnt. I sacked off the doctors and turned back to head home, running with the pram as fast as I could (of course, needing a wee within about 3 seconds). Baby screaming and me running like Phoebe in Friends, passers by must have thought I had lost it but all I knew was I had to get home. 15 minutes later, in a world of pain and with a baby hyperventilating from screaming so loudly I got to front door, scrambled in, stripped him off and led him on our bed with the ceiling fan on and the windows open (still screaming). It was at this point as I started to stroke him to calm him down, I realised I’d wet myself. Marvellous moment. Stripping off and lying next to my screaming overheated baby I wept with him feeling like a total and utter failure. How on earth did I make such a poor judgement and let him down like that? Turns out this was the first of many occasions I’d miss the mark in getting things right, and I now know it’s just called ‘parenthood’! We are all just doing our best and winging it right? I’d love to hear your stories (for my own peace of mind as much as to lighten the load for others)
Here’s a few pictures of our reality of the first year of parenthood (the one’s that didn’t make ‘the gram’).
This blog was part of a paid ad campaign with Water Wipes