Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: Behind The Scenes

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Behind The Scenes


 Sometimes I get sick of certain aspects of blogging.

Of editing photos to show them in their best light, of making sure I only snap in front of well lit windows in the best natural light possible.

Of editing out clutter on the floor and making sure the boys are dressed nicely before I reach for the camera.

Don't get me wrong...I love that I've ended up with hundreds of treasured photographs of my boys throughout their lives that I probably would never have taken if it weren't for blogging, my walls are fast running out of space for displaying all of the shots that I love so much.

Equally I sometimes get sick of getting on my soapbox and writing posts that give any illusion that I might somehow have my shit together any more than anybody else does or that I might know some of the illusive answers to the parenting problems that perplex us all from time to time.

Often I write posts that I fear make it sound as though as I'm giving tips or inside information on how to tackle the trickier parts of mummy life, when in reality I don't have any more knowledge or authority than anybody else on ANY of the subjects I write about.

I love that my blog allows to me to do 3 things  - record my families journey for us all to look back on, reach out to and learn from other parents or anxiety sufferers on their own journeys, and flex my writing muscle.

But because of the kind of blogging I fell into (and I do question whether it was the right type for me...) I worry that I gloss over the reality of my life too often - not that there's a right way or wrong way to record your life, but I worry that perhaps I don't always do it in the right way for ME...

It would be very easy for anybody taking a quick peek at my Instagram account to assume that I'm one of  those people whose home is always clean, whose kids are always immaculately turned out, whose life is all sunshine and rainbows...I try to remedy this with my words when I have the chance, but from glancing at the photos alone it would be easy to make the assumption that our days are carefree, full of sunshine and sponsored by Joules.

And many bloggers say that they're fine with mostly focusing on the amazing parts of their lives because they only want to remember those highlights and would rather forget the "bad days" as soon as possible....and that's great for them, every blogger should do things how they want to....but I honestly don't feel that I'd rather not remember the less-perfect times.

I am of the opinion that a Picture Perfect Life with nothing but happiness, smiles, cuddles and kisses, wonderful date nights, happy families and a worry-free existence is really only half a life live and that you could never fully appreciate the wonderful aspects of life if you have never experienced any of the darker moments...because what frame of reference would you have? How can you truly appreciate lifes highs for their full worth without experiencing its lows?

And so, when I'm sitting in my rocking chair at 80 years old and I'm looking back on this story of our lives together, reminiscing about it all - will I want to remember only the fantastic days out, the wonderful holidays, the moments when the children were the best of friends and all of the sweet things that they said and did?

Of course I WILL want to remember all of those lovely things - but won't I also want to remember the more mundane parts? the day to day reality of how our lives REALLY looked? The kids in their vests with clothes abandoned, the bare bottomed potty training days, the messy faces after dinner....The normal, everyday us?

I think I will.

And so, for that future me in the rocking chair, let's talk about the real everyday.





I talk often about how life with 3 children under 3 hasn't been as hard as I feared, and how we manage well most days  but inevitably there are things that you have to let slide when this is your life.

And for me...that thing has been my house.

Most days I feel extremely stressed out about the mess that's building up all around me.

Every single day when I look around at all of the clutter I think "I'm just going to hire a skip and throw everything away. We're just going to go back to basics and live simply...I just need a day! Just one whole day with no children to sort everything out and get everything gone" - of course it never happens. And I doubt it ever will.

Every time I go into the bathroom and I see the water stains on the taps, and the bin overflowing with  toilet roll inners, and the bath toys overflowing from the basket that was supposed to contain them but didn't quite manage it...I feel a sense of fear, as though Kim & Aggie might knock on my door for a random inspection any moment now and I'll be forever shamed and exposed for the sloth that I've become since Baby 3 came along and ate up every spare second of my time.

Everytime I step into the "Play room" and see that not only is it over run with toys climbing the walls, but its now also full of bloody cardboard boxes turned into makeshift fire engines, pirate dens and rocket ships because I had the marvellous idea of introducing the kids to the concept of making boxes into stuff and didn't account for the fact that they will then NEVER PART WITH THEM and I would therefore have to live with them forever - I get a panicky claustrophobic feeling in my chest and wonder how much cardboard you can have in your home before it gets taken over by rats.

Most days the kids start off dressed and looking cute - like those images of them you see over on Instagram - but you can guarantee that those photos were always taken first thing in the morning. During the half an hour of the day that they looked clean and presentable.... once lunch time rolls around, I usually strip them down to a vest or a t shirt because I'm sick of mystery stains ruining their clothes forever - and then it's just too much hassle to bother re-dressing them again because, well, we're not going anywhere and it's dinnertime soon so whats the point?! So they'll spend the rest of the day in that vest or t shirt and underpants...

And while we're on the subject of clothing, let's just say that unless I am leaving the house that day then you will NEVER find me dressed...My pyjamas are my everyday uniform now and I LIKE IT THAT WAY. Clothes only end up covered in stains or baby sick anyway and the more clothes you wear...the more you need to wash, right?!

What I'm basically trying to say is...life behind the scenes is far from glamorous. I do not have my shit together right now... not in an way.

My home is a mess most of the time. I look a mess most of the time. My kids, despite my very best efforts, still manage to look like waifs and strays most of the time.

But this chaos is our every day life - and amid all of that mess and un-Instagram-worthiness lies so many moments that are just as perfect to me as any of those beautiful natural-light, perfectly dressed captures.

The moments when I'm chasing Noah to grab him before he tries to climb up the stairs for the 20th time that hour, and he turns around and gives me that cheeky "I nearly did it that time!" grin.



The moments when I'm laying on the sofa with Tyne & Noah climbing all over me, tickling me and screaming with laughter as they join forces to defeat me.

The moments when I spend 3 terrifying moments, after FINALLY treating myself to the wee I've needed for an hour, trying to find the kids and worrying that they've somehow managed to escape from the house...only to hear their mischievous giggles and find them hiding under the dining room table together...clearly in cahoots to drive me mad...



The moments when all 3 of them are crying all at once, and I feel as though I want to run from the house screaming and never look back...but then later that evening when its all over and they're all peaceful and angelic-looking in their beds I can look back on it and laugh about how crazy it was, and how soon those moments are in the past.

Our every day won't look like much to anybody else - it's not pretty and it's not stylish and a thousand flattering Insta-filters won't make it look any better - but its my life. And I love it just how it is.





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12 comments:

  1. This is a lovely post and a REAL insight into you as a parent. As you say, many of our instagram accounts are filled with our 'happy life' photos. We don't take photos of them when they're in time out or screaming at one another (although sometimes I am tempted haha). Like you, I blog to chronicle our lives as a family more than anything and as you point out at the end it's YOUR life regardless of how it may look outwardly to others...and that's all that matters in the end to you.
    Potty Adventures
    #BloggerClubUK

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  2. This is brilliant - I often get put off my Instagram accounts depicting a perfect life, it makes me look at how messy my house is! My blog is also a diary of our lives as a family as it happens and I couldn't agree more with the clothes being cute at the start of the day. The other day we went to the beach to take photos of E's outfit, then went for lunch where I gave her a smoothie pouch to distract her so I could eat my lunch. She then flipped it upside down and squeezed it all over herself - end of cute outfit!! I love how your blog shows parenting as it really is x #bloggerclubuk

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  3. Ah all of these are lovely, not mundane at all! I love these shots! You can so tell how cheeky Noah is, bless him! Also, I'm with you on the PJ's - literally most comfortable thing ever! I don't ever think you gloss over the reality, your very good at writing about and sharing your life as it is. xx

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  4. I want to remember it all, the highs, the frustrations all of it, it's real life and i want to live in real life. My kids are awesome, they are funny, and smart and also noisy and crazy too, I love it all, but I too post pretty pics on my Instagram feed. It is not because I am denying the mess and chaos and pretending my life is something it's not, it is just I like a pretty Instagram feed. I love photography and taking gorgeous pics and those are what I share, that is part of my real life too, no all moments are messy. I love your Instagram feed, your children are totally adorable. Really great post!!

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  5. Lovely post and a real insight into real life! #fortheloveofBLOG xx

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  6. Life isn't always perfect no matter what people think or say. And who'd want it to be perfect if it meant at the expense of the fun stuff. And those cheeky grins! Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo x

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  7. This is a fab and honest post about parenting and blogging. I feel the same as you, that my blog is taking over my life, and that I'm glossing over the bad parts, only the show the happy and good parts. When you have two kids life is home is hard, it's messy, I'm slowly learning to live with mess, and watermarks on the bathroom taps. As long as you are happy, and your children that's what matters, and the love you share. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  8. I totally agree with you hun. It is the mundane that I want to remember and the reason being - I don't remember my mundane days as a child. I remember this and that but all I have to look back on are photos of holidays that my mum took. And as much as they are lovely it doesn't give me an insight into our every days. That is why I love vlogging our weekends actually as it shows us buttering toast etc... Thank you for sharing in #HappyDaysLinky x

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  9. It would be so easy to self-edit out the mundane and ugly parts of parenting and live your memories through a filter....but that's not you, and your life. I love this post - sums it all up perfectly and bloody good on you for your PJ days! You take beautiful, natural photos by the way. Thank for you joining up with #effitfriday, your turn soon honey ;-)

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  10. I love this, I've always loved your honest approach to blogging in general and whenever people ask me which "parent" blogs I recommend yours is always top of the list, because it feels like grabbing a coffee with a friend. Sounds weird I know, but you're just so down to earth, honest and relatable, it's so refreshing! It made me laugh because I have all those same thoughts about decluttering - even down to saying "if I just had one day!" Haha! Thanks so much for linking up to #HappyDaysLinky x

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  11. Oh Hayley, I can relate to all of these. I think we all can. I get stressed out very easily with the two when I'm on my own and hubby is away working. It's not easy when you work full time on top of it and once collected the kids and get into making dinner but you have a 17 months old clinging on to you. But as you said these days won't last forever.

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  12. What a brilliant and honest post. I too have a messy house and my boys are at school all day! I often spend a lot of time in my PJ's, and "make-up" is unheard of! I love this post hun. Thanks so much for linking to #PoCoLo - so sorry it took me this long to comment! x

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