Picture perfect parenting: My real life vs the stock photos

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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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