I wonder why we believe the hype? Why sensible people like you and I, who know that magazines airbrush every bump and blemish off a pair of celebrity pins, fall for the perfect picture despite what we know? Why do we look at shapely hips and perfectly smooth thighs, boobs that don’t tuck into waist bands and arms that look more like my 4 year old’s than mine – and believe the lie?? Deep down, we know they aren’t that perfect but we look at the airbrushed version and compare anyway. Why, oh why???? It seems that somewhere deep inside every person is a tiny gremlin who steals our logic and replaces it with envy instead. That tiny little gremlin who convinces me that my natural comparison is the smooth porcelain version of the real, slightly lumpier, human being I see before me.
To be honest, I would gladly look like the non touched-up version of any of these celebs because their boobs are generally higher and their legs are definitely less bumpy than mine even before they were airbrushed!!
My issue more is the ‘airbrushed Mummy’ picture that is presented to me wherever I seem to turn.
The shinier porcelain Mummy. The one with a bit more time for her children, more organic food, home made cupcakes and no raised voices. She’s the nicer, kinder, happier, more contented Mummy with a cleaner floor and no cobwebs on the ceilings. She is my nemesis.
She is the magazine picture I see and the one my gremlin tells me is real. She is the one I picture in my mind’s eye when I’ve spoken a bit too harshly or watched TV when I could have been building lego. She is the airbrushed counterpart that shows up my lumps and bumps and wrinkles and saggy bits.
She is the reason that I feel the pressure to airbrush myself to the outside world. To brush over the blemishes and thin down the silhouette. She causes me to present the bits of me I like and cover over the bits I don’t. I look to her, in all her unreality, and try to change the photo that others see of me. Every time the gremlin wins.
So to you – fake, airbrushed, non-real, magazine cover Mummy – I am on a journey of quashing the gremlin who tells me to compare myself to you. In fact I am on a mission to quash all the gremlins who tell me to compare myself to anyone.
I bet if you were real you too would get cross if your children painted your walls, you too would give them spaghetti hoops every now and again. You may look perfect from a distance but I’m guessing you have a cupboard where you shove stuff when people come round and times when you dream someone else would watch your kids so you could have a break. Surely you must get tired and exasperated and grumpy and at your wits end. Because here’s my guilty truth. I do.
ALL. THE. TIME.
If you really are as perfect as my gremlin whispers in my bleak dark moments, the truth is I don’t think I like you very much after all. I can’t cope with the weight of your perfection. I need to be able to breathe with Mummies who are like me. Faulted. A bit broken. Not so very perfect and porcelain.
Airbrushed Mummy, I need you to stop lying to all us non-airbrushed Mummies. I need you to stop telling us to be perfect all the time. It causes our souls to grieve. Instead, I need you to show us the real you – with all your imperfections. This is what helps us to be the best Mummies we can. Not perfect, that’s not the aim. But the best we can be.
When we’ve got to the end of ‘one of those days’, please tell us it’s OK and that tomorrow is a new day. When we spend 5 minutes longer in the loo just to get time to ourselves, don’t frown down on us – smile with us and remind us that those 5 minutes weren’t wasted. And when we do something well, cheer us on with whoops of delight that we were the best we could be at that time.
When you do that, the voice of the gremlin seems that little bit weaker, somewhat less powerful.
When you are less than perfect, it gives me permission to be less than perfect too.
About the Author: My name is Helen. I love words. I love to speak them and write them and speak them some more. I figured blogging was a great way of giving my husband a break from all the words coming at him all the time. I write about the things I am passionate about – my family, my friends, my faith and the decision to make a difference in this world.I believe all people are born extraordinary but that many believe the lie that they are nothing special.I am choosing to use the words I have and the experiences I've been through to be that little bit less ordinary and maybe encourage someone else to do the same in the process. You can find me on the web at http://www.helencottee.com