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Friday, 15 April 2016

Picture perfect parenting: My real life vs the stock photos

Picture perfect parenting: My real life vs the stock photos

I'm afraid this week has been a little dull.


With two children suffering from a mystery illness (could be a cold, but that doesn't seem to be severe enough to portray the suffering. And by suffering, I mean mine) we haven't really done a great deal. S'not fun. A quick walk to the postbox here, a trip to the park there, and a lot of watching grown women pretending to be Disney Princesses on Youtube. For shame.

Possibly, the most exciting thing that has happened was the dog deciding to vault over the Lindam baby gate whilst it was open, impressively snapping the handle clean off. As anyone who's ever had a small child will know, these are invaluable babyproofing tools and an immediate replacement was required so off we went to Argos on the industrial estate to get one. There was traffic and a lot of whining. It was rubbish. I wish something funnier had happened, but it didn't. However, possibly as a result of being particularly hard up, I did giggle when I saw the unlikely stock photo on the box.

It is uncanny how similar it looks to my living room after the kids have been awake for ten minutes, I'm sure you'll agree!

Spot the difference
When it comes to parenting, stock photos are brilliant at capturing a lifestyle that we all aspire to... if what we all aspire to is primarily a stark household bedecked in white furnishings with an awful lot of cleaning to do.

Of course, I was inspired to see how my life compared.


Not great, as it turns out.

I love them with all my heart (and even more than that when they're sleeping) but I have to admit, my children are the grubbiest little beings I've ever met.

They bathe almost daily and yet within minutes are generally coated in a residue of unidentifiable, usually sticky, substances. A single banana shared between them can lead to brown smears in every room of the house and on every single item of furniture and clothing within minutes. Seconds, even.

Clearly, white furniture for us would be huge no-no.


In fact, I don't actually know anyone, with or without children, who has a white sofa, although it's entirely possible that these people exist and, for good reason, don't invite us round for tea and bananas.

Either way, in StockLand they are everywhere;

Sibling love, done the StockLand way
Sibling love, in real life.
Noticeably without a white sofa.
Obviously no grubby children, reflux babies or poonamis in Stockland.

It is also a very bad move to allow small children to play with your laptop, in case you were hoping to recreate this heart-warming scene.


Yea. Uh oh. Fortunately (for me) this is not my laptop.


With the exception of people playing sports, in hospitals, aboard boats and perhaps KKK members, I don't think I've ever seen people dressed entirely in white.


In StockLand however, it's mandatory. Especially when weaning which is, as anyone will tell you, the absolute best time to make sure you and your offspring are dressed from head to toe in white and pastels.


There is absolutely no chance in StockLand that your child will end up looking like this...
My firstborn still has exquisite manners to this day

This last one is slightly more realistic but only in the fact that the mum has let her roots go to shit. I've no idea what the trio of peaches are for - hopefully not for dessert as nasty things will come out of that child if he or she eats them all - but they do love a bit of random fruit in StockLand...

...Which brings me on to breastfeeding. 

It was hard to pick my favourites from all the exciting images out there but 'Woman smiling while breastfeeding and holding an apple', I feel, captures the essence of breastfeeding perfectly.

What's that, you say? It doesn't? The mother is far too well groomed, you say? Where are the tiny grabby hair-pulling, boob-pinching Wolverine like claws? The milky raspberries being blown, regurgitating precious milk back over her suspiciously stain-free newly ironed shirt?

How is she doing that one handed and sitting up at such an angle? Where are the snacks and where is she hiding the TV remote? I'm afraid don't know the answer to any of these questions
This is brilliant, as ridiculous stock photos go. I have nothing against breastfeeding al fresco, needs must and all that. If baby is hungry, baby should be fed. However perched on a rock in a fast flowing river looks a bit dangerous if I'm honest.

I think she'd probably be better off finding the closest John Lewis and having a sit down with a cup of tea and a bit of carrot cake.
This is more like it! I always climb into bed naked with my hair done and my earrings on to feed the baby, although I do hope that he or she is wearing a nappy under that duvet. Yeurgh.

Of course, after staring lovingly at my infant as they nurse, we will both fall into a deep, blissful sleep because this is exactly what co-sleeping looks like!



Beautiful. Except as you all know, in my experience co-sleeping goes more like this... And no one has come forward with a magical solution yet.


I think I should probably stop here, for fear that this post could run on indefinitely. 


The conclusion I have drawn from this exercise is that, to the shock and surprise of precisely no one, there are absolutely no similarities between sticky, stroppy, actual real-life children and the creepy white clothed, clean StockLand children who don't make a mess on their parent's cream carpets or tantrum in the middle of Sainsburys.
I don't tend to take pictures of my kids screaming
in Sainsburys... so here is a 'leaving the park' tantrum
in full swing. You're welcome.

Wouldn't want it any other way, though, right?

I simply must have the kale, mother!
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64 comments:

  1. Brilliant! Yep, stockphoto-land and Pinterest have a lot to answer for! We never tried co-sleeping. In fact we rarely even let the boys into our bed for a Sunday morning snuggle as inevitably they'll start using our bed (or my head) as a trampoline. Or they'll invent a game of 'lets see who can burrow under the duvet to the end of the bed the quickest' taking all the duvet with them. so relaxing!
    #bigpinklink

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    1. Thanks :) Yea I don't reckon the people in or staging those photos have ever even met a child... that or they're having a huge laugh!

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  2. Ha ha, this is hilarious! Can we organise a day trip to stock land? I want to go there and cause havoc with my two crazy children. That'd stir up a shit storm for those perfect parents ;-)
    #bigpinklink

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    1. Oh absolutely! I hear it's quite close to Sussex.

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  3. flowers grow in the dirt :) #bigpinklink

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    1. Aaaah that's exactly what I'm going to tell my husband next time he comes home and you can't see the living room floor!

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  4. What's even the appeal with white sofas anyway? Like I would get that dirty let alone kids! And the breastfeeding ones...I would be in comfy, baggy clothes, pillows stacked all around me and my hair looking disgusting. More real life pics please! #bigpinklink

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    1. I don't know. I'm intrigued to know if anyone actually buys them apart from for photo shoots... I'm going with no.

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  5. So true! No one's life looks like Stockphoto-Land!

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    1. And if they do, they must keep their children in a cupboard. Actually, that's not a terrible idea.

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  6. Brilliant! StockLand looks far too bland and boring for me anyway - give me mess and genuine smiles any day of the week. Although thinking about it, my sister has a cream sofa, and a reflux and cows milk allergy baby - I suspect she regrets her choice now! #bigpinklink

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  7. Haha! Brilliant post idea! I'd love to compare images in healthcare info pamphlets with reality. Like the pics of women in the labour suite or birthing pool, chilling, smiling, partners delicately mopping their brows, surrounded by scented candles....vs reality. I might go do this! #bigpinklink @DrMummykins

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    1. I look forward to reading that! The hospital I had my sections at has a private wing, and the pamphlets make it look like going through labour is akin to a spa weekend. As I've never experienced it, I reckon it must be true.

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  8. Ha ha brilliant! Love the highchair pictures. #bigpinklink Lifeinthemumslane

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    1. Ahahahaha brilliant!! I love this post. You are spot on. My main wonder on that breastfeeding pic was 'where are the pringles?' because that's all I ate for ooooh, three years! ;) Thanks for linking up with us! #bigpinklink

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  9. This is so true. And I think I'd trust baby products more if they had the reality pictures rather than the glistening white ones. Woman breastfeeding with apple is my fave too - does it have some kind of Eve subtext?! #chucklemums

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    1. Perhaps. Or maybe she just really fancied an apple...

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  10. So funny and yes I agree, why would anyone have a white sofa when they have kids?? To be honest, with my love of fake tan, a white sofa was never gonna be the one! Fab post #chucklemums

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    1. Hahahaha! There are so MANY reasons they're a bad idea.

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  11. Im dying this is so funny! The breastfeeding photos.... oh as if it's like that! The apple... I can't, it's too funny! Brilliant post! xxx #chucklemums

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    1. Thank you :) I wish I had the talent to recreate them in reality... someone else can do that post!

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  12. I can see the beginning of an avalanche...so many BS photos out there depicting parenting; you have captured the true essence perfectly!! But; just FYI - I had a white couch...bought before children. I say 'had', meaning we still have it, but it is no longer white. #chucklemums

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    1. I could have run on forever. Maybe there will be a part two...

      Ouch!

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  13. bloody brilliant! made me chuckle for sure :) The photo on box is so funny, they should show toddlers attempting to climb the gate, more realistic. thanks for sharing, and i don't know anyone with kids and white sofa's its a urban myth :) #chuckelmums

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    1. Apparently not! See the comment above...

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  14. Haha! This is amazing! I used to do a bit of modelling and always thought how ridiculous the scenarios were that depicted 'real life' (especially the maternity shoots - a pregnant woman would actually be sitting on the sofa, sudocrem on her spots, gorging a tub of ben and jerry's, wearing her husbands pyjamas, not running and laughing through a forest...) Great post. Thanks for hosting #chucklemums - Robina (babylists.co.uk)

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    1. Sounds exciting. I ran through the forest laughing ever day when I was pregnant. Hahaha.

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  15. Ahaha this is amazing! Seriously, who does own white furniture?? I love the breastfeeding ones, can you even imagine breastfeeding a naked baby? The mess!!! Why are those babies not pulling their mum's hair that she forgot to tie up again?
    This reminds me, have you ever seen the Tumblr; 'women laughing alone with salad'? It's hilarious! Thanks for hosting #chucklemums.

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    1. I have! I actually had it linked in the first draft but I had to make a lot of cuts. I do enjoy a shit stock photo.

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  16. Ha! I actually have white couches, but not by choice - I'm living in a furnished flat and they came with the place. They're covered in brown smears - some of which is my fault (chocolate), and some of which is the baby's fault (banana and rice cakes). Love the weaning pics too - how are those mums/babies not covered in some sort of orange mush? #chucklemums

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  17. aww this is too funny! looking at pinterest, Instagram and the like does nothing for one's confidence that they doing it right - I think we should set up a site which is purely for keeping it real- too entertaining - and all that white - what is that all about??? Such a fab post and I am so thrilled to find your linky #chucklemums

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    1. Thank you! Who knows, it's absurd. I haven't delved into Pinterest yet but one day..

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  18. Just brilliant!! Why is everything so white and perfect in Stockland?! The woman breastfeeding in the river is just genius! Thanks, this has just made me splutter out loud all over my sandwich! #Chucklemums

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    1. Ha thank you - Yes I don't know what they were going for. Maybe there is an artistic subtext I'm just not getting. I'm not very cultured, I like to breastfeed on a sofa eating doritos.

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  19. The.White.Couch --- I had one! Was I mad? Absolutely. The kids used it as a canvas. I was nodding along to what you are saying and snorting in indignation! What are the real pictures? Funny Post! Thanks for hosting #chucklemums.

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    1. So the urban legend is true, they do exist!

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  20. Ha amazing. I've always thought the whiter-than-white stock photos were hilarious. I have NOTHING white in my house (or wardrobe). Anything which was white once upon a time, is no longer. I've always been in awe of the mums who wear white skinny jeans - HOW?!
    #chucklemums

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    1. I don't think I've ever seen one in the wild. If I do, I'll ask.

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  22. Ha I love this! If I was a marketing director I would make EVERYTHING related to a realistic view of parenting - I think companies would sell so much more! Imagine the mum standing by the microwave waiting for her coffee to be warmed up for the sixth time or the dad standing by the air freshener as he changes the baby's nappy. So much more relatable :) Thanks for hosting #chucklemums again

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    1. Clearly it works. We all believe our houses will be clean and tidy if we buy a baby gate. Otherwise they wouldn't keeo doing it. Right?!!

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  23. The only white things I own are my work blouses and I put them on 2 seconds before I leave the house.We made the mistake of having a cream carpet once.Yeah,that lasted a long time obviously.Banana - how much of a git is that to get out?! #chucklemums

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    1. We had a cream carpet. When we replaced it (terrible fish tank accident) we replaced it with one which already had flecks of dirt in it. Canny.

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  24. Ha! So true!! If only my kids knew that they should sit still like the amazing stock photos then i would be happy, instead i have a phone full of blurred pictures!! sigh.... #chucklemums

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    1. They are odd indeed. Like, they must be real children... I don't know the answer to that one. Maybe they are glued into place.

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  25. Great post! Just kidding... this taps into one of my pet hates: playroom photos. Try to find one on Pinterest with actual toys in. It's impossible! I must confess though that I am a cream sofa owner but that's because I'm a mean mum & don't let the boys in our lounge, aka 'The Sanctuary'. Just add wine #Chucklemums

    Nicole (The Brightness Of These Days)

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    1. Ah I do dream of the sanctuary. My idea is to get a new lounge, and then make my existing one ADULTS ONLY.

      Come back next year to see if that happened.

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  26. Haha! My pictures are awful in comparison to stock photo's! Always toys & clothes & lots of dribble/food stains haha xx #chucklemums

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  27. Love stockland photos - nothing can give a completely unrealistic view of real life parenting. I used to strive to achieve these perfect scenes and now realise that it is impossible! I am embracing raisin covered socks, paint covered pooches and the entire contents of my wardrobe strewn round the bedroom!

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  28. HAHA LOVE THIS! Thanks again stock photos for totally skewing our expectations of parenthood! And thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub hon made me chuckle! xx

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    1. Glad I could do that! Thank you for hosting x

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  29. Haha those photos would n no way shape or form be a representation of our house, no white furniture in sight. Well it might have been once... If ever we want to see what parenting doesn't look like Stockland is clearly the place to go xx #chucklemums

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  30. Photos like that really don't represent real life and certainly don't help new mums when they then feel guilty for not being able to be like the photos! Good thing that's what our lovely community of mummy bloggers are here to put right #coolmumclub

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    1. I have never felt guilt over the state of my house. Disgust, often, but I think my guilt switch is faulty!

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  31. Loved this the first time around! Just back again for a second laugh from #coolmumclub - Thanks for linking and congrats on the amaze achievement!!! xxx

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  32. Stock photos are make believe land. It's what everyone thinks their home must be like, but in reality its a bit of a shit pit! xx
    #triballove

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  33. The snack is the apple. Obviously!!! Because it's all about eating healthy when you're a milk cow!!!!

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