What is happiness? Is it an emotion, a state of mind, a lifestyle choice? I mean, what is it exactly? And why is there so much pressure on everyone to be happy?
I read a lot of blogs and I do spend a fair bit of time on the internet, particularly on sites such as pinterest and facebook. It seems to me that there is a LOT of pressure on everyone to portray a life which is full of never ending happiness. Especially when you have children. Many of the facebook status's I read are always positive when it's about their children:
R has had a sickness bug for 3 days now. Poor thing hasn't slept or eaten a thing. I hope he feels better soon xx Mummy loves you xx
I read status's like the one above often, and yes it's true. It's awful when your children are ill. Heartbreaking. And I have written similar status's myself. But sometimes, I want to write something more like:
A has been sick for 3 day. 3 days!! I haven't slept, showered, eaten... my house is a mess. I'm exhausted and I want to cry all day. Why did no one tell me this parenting thing was so haaaard?!
But I don't. Just the same as I don't write bad things about my family in my blog posts. I sort of... edit it a bit. Ok, sometimes a lot. So much so that my whole day sounds like something out of Stepford Wives. Picnics and ice creams by the river, Easter arts and crafts, exciting trips to the park together. It's all an edited version of life. A version which is constantly happy, constantly going right and never for a single second dull.
It's not hard to do this. It really doesn't take much time. It's a very simple matter of choosing the photos in which everyone's eyes are open and they are smiling, adding a few captions about what we did and describing the day in a positive way. I have never really seen any harm in this. It's not really in my nature to be negative. If Dave and I have an argument, my immediate thought is not to go and plaster it all over facebook. And if a day out ended up in a major tantrum in which Alice threw an ice cream in my face, I would probably prefer to remember the bit before when she was chasing the ducks. Because we all know what kids are like and we know they aren't perfect and smiling and happy all the time...
But what if people don't just "know" that stuff. I assume when people read about our weekends, they sort of know it didn't all go perfectly. That Dave and I argued about who forgot to pack the wipes, or that Alice threw the odd tantrum, that I was tired and shattered by the end of the day because looking after a toddler and being pregnant is hard work. But I guess, it's hard to think about that stuff when all you are being fed is images of the perfect family, with their perfect weekends. And to those who have yet to have children, I am sure they definitely don't think about what really goes on behind closed laptops...
Perhaps I am adding to the pressure to be happy all the time? Perhaps by leaving those things out, I am not setting a good example. I'm not allowing people in to see what real family life is like with a toddler living in London. I hate the idea of someone reading my blog and feeling inadequate about their own life, or thinking that everything in mine is perfect. Because it's not.
I'm simply striving for happiness, like everyone else is. The only difference is, I don't do it in private. I put all my efforts up online for the world to see, and to judge, and to interpret as they please. I don't like to be too personal because I don't want to cause arguments. I once wrote a comment along the lines of: I hate hospitals because of the smell. I wish there weren't so many midwife appointments. This simple comment created an absolute storm of hatred towards me. I got emails from people saying how I was selfish for even thinking that, or that I was being unfair towards my unborn child and should be grateful we have an NHS... So I do tend to keep my posts a little more PC these days.
I guess what I am saying is... don't read this blog and think it's all real life. Having children is HARD. Being a parent is HARD. Being married is HARD. But these are the things in my life that do make me truly happy. And my blog is my way of documenting all the happiness in my life so that when things do get hard, I have somewhere to escape to and remember how good I really have it.
You probably wont find happiness in someone elses blog, or facebook page, or pinterest board. But you will find it in your own life. And if you want to document it in a little blog of your own, I'm sure I will be one of those reading all about it!