“Even if it was hard, I’d say it was easy – I like positive vibes, and I think people should be more positive about having kids.”
This parenting opinion, from dad Spencer Matthews, has started up quite the debate over on the MadeForMums Instagram.
30-year-old Made In Chelsea alum Spencer, whose son Theo is 5 months old, also told BUILD:
“I think people should stop frightening people by saying it’s the hardest thing in the world and they’re an absolute nightmare because that may be the case, but it’s a lovely thing to do.”
Is Spencer right? Should we be more ‘positive’ about parenting?
So, in our quest to share the honest truth about the day-in, day-out parenting struggles we all face, does it come off a little negative online – especially to those who are thinking about becoming / about to become, parents?
We have to say, we know that when you’re reading posts about how much of a struggle and how tiring kids can be on places like Instagram – day in day out – it can feel a little disheartening at times.
But isn’t that just an antidote to the myth that raising babies, toddlers and children is a picture-perfect dream: where kids go to sleep at 7pm sharp, eat their greens without argument, and never ever test the impressive heights of their vocal range during a wobbly in the middle of Tesco?
The same myth that makes us feel like we’ve failed somehow, if we haven’t been told it’s nothing but fiction?
You know us, we’re all for honesty, but we hope everything you read on MFM is balanced, reassuring and covers a host of different views ✌️
Speaking of: what did our mums on Instagram have to say?
It’s NOT negative to be honest…
“Imagine the shock when reality kicks in if everyone had told you it was easy 😳 I’d rather honesty any day! Still positive, because it is wonderful and a real blessing but easy it is not! 😆” says mum @alicia_bradders.
“No one says ‘I regret having children’ we just all say ‘I am tired and this is hard’, but it’s worth it,” replied @motherhustleruk.
“I suspect maybe it’s not that hard when you have a cook, cleaner, night nurse for the baby, and all sorts of other staff to help.”
(For fairness’ sake, we don’t actually know if Spencer and his family have ‘staff’)
@mumvsboys adds: “Are parents blessed to have children? YES! Does this mean that parenting can’t, won’t or shouldn’t be difficult?! NO!
“There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the difficult moments.
“Parents need support, they need to bolster each other up, they need to know they’re not alone in their hard moments.”
@soulfulsweat agrees that honesty comes first: “We see his point, but think it’s important to express feelings honestly…
“Otherwise in those “tough” parenting moments, we start to wonder if we’re crazy, or we start doubting ourselves thinking that we are terrible parents.
“It’s important to have people to relate to on an honest level – not necessarily just negative, but one that looks at and recognizes both sides as they are equally important experiences!!”
And @X_emmag is all about keeping it real, and thinks that can’t be negative.
“Obviously it’s amazing being a parent and we’re all very lucky at the same time. But it’s bloody hard work and I don’t think that’s being negative.
“I like to think of as being honest. Keep it real. I haven’t washed my hair in a week and not afraid to say that. I haven’t had a moment with a very active 9 month old.
“No negativity just honesty from me. Wine helps 😂🍷”
More positivity, please…
On the other hand, we’ve noticed a few mums and mums-to-be saying they feel they could do with a little more sunshine in their lives.
“Being a twin mom you get lots of comments mostly negatively charged about being exhausted, double trouble etc!” says twin mum @carhorsman.
“I don’t see it like that! Yes it’s my job to raise the best little humans and what a joy it is to be given that job! There are tough times but I think you have to be positive in all!!”
“Being positive about parenthood doesn’t mean withholding or being dishonest about the tough parts and I’ve always welcomed both, to be prepared,” adds mum-to-be @katelou_
“For me, I really struggled with listening to people talk about their children like they’re a burden while we were trying (for years) to conceive and then going through the process(es) of IVF.”
“I’m currently pregnant with my first and it does often seem to me like my social media is full of posts about being a parent being 95% awful,” shares @ nicolej21 – who admits she’s become a little scared of motherhood.
“For those going into it with rose-tinted glasses this might be helpful to lower their expectations a bit, but I’m the opposite!
“I have never thought it would be at all easy and I need a bit of positivity and reassuring that I’m not going to be miserable and resentful for the next 18+ years! 😬
“I get people need to vent and feel like they’re not alone in the rubbish times and until recently that was a bit taboo, but it certainly isn’t now – there’s so much negativity I’m scared!”
Nothing can prepare you for parenthood, positive OR negative
@babybloomers reckons it’s a tricky one – and that it’s important to make sure you’re seeing/hearing a balance of parenting opinions and stories.
“I do think that it can seem that there are a lot of negative comments about parenthood out there, but I think a lot of them are people just being very honest and wanting to share their experiences.
“But I do think there isn’t much balance – where is the positive stuff???
“Sometimes it can be seen that by posting something positive you might make people who are having a really crappy time feel worse which is the last thing any parent wants for another parent to feel.
“Hmmmmm, tricky tricky…”
“To be honest, nothing can prepare you for parenthood,” says @thegpmum, taking a very balanced view. “It’s wonderful but it’s also really tough.
“Everyone’s experiences are all different as well and I don’t think it’s up to anyone to judge whether saying it’s amazing or hard is the right thing.
“He [Spencer] is going to be targeted because he’s a man and he’s wealthy but he’s just as entitled to his opinion as the rest of us.
“We all have our own voice and there’s plenty of room for everyone to be heard. X”
Indeed, @thegpmum inadvertently leads us to another good point. If you’re finding a certain vibe on social media, or among your friend group IRL, difficult to deal with (either way) – only you can change what you’re seeing and reading.
Positive, negative and somewhere-in-between parenting views are all out there. We just need to find the ones that add to our lives.
Share your opinion
There are no right or wrong answers here. Some of us love seeing the ‘real side’ of parenting.
It makes us feel less alone, or perhaps a little less rose-tinted if we’re about to become parents for the first time…
On the other hand, some of us maybe feel we’re seeing it a little too much, and want a bit of reassurance that, despite the hardships and the lack of sleep, there’ll be happy times, easy times and lots of wonderful memories, too.
SO, we’d love to hear what YOU think about all this. Please let us know in the comments below – or join our Instagram community and share your thoughts there!
Images: Instagram/Vogue Williams