On my wall at home is this beautiful photo of my lovely happy family on a gorgeous summer’s day. An image of my perfect life that I posted on Instagram, adding to a feed of perfect images.
Except this isn't real. The boys were tired and moaning and I was bribing them with fistfuls of sweets to cooperate. Jude was crying for a carry and I had nettle stings up my legs. Afterwards I had tears from the whole endeavour and vowed never to do a family shoot again. We stopped off at MacDonalds on the way home.
Nowadays it’s easy to believe that everyone is doing a much better job at life than us, and has it all sorted. Everyone posts their best bits on social media, we don’t mention the bad.
I don’t share that I find parenthood exhausting and relentless, and I often have nothing left to give by evening. That some days it takes a monumental effort to chat and laugh with my boys and my smiles are all used up by bedtime. That I battle with my mental health, and some days I'm on top of my depression and other days it's on top of me - when it takes all my strength to get up in the morning and face the school run.
None of us have perfect lives, even those whom look like we do. We’re all fighting our own battles and anyone can suffer from mental health issues. We must be more open about it and share our own experiences so people aren't afraid to ask for help.
And let's stop putting pressure on ourselves to have the perfect life, comparing ourselves to others. I'm giving myself a little grace - I'm doing the best I can. And maybe I'll start sharing a few of my less perfect photos on Instagram too.
Photo credit: rubielovephotography
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13-19 May 2019. The theme this year is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies. mentalhealth.org.uk #BeBodyKind #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek