Why some mothers feel bad

By Apio Irene

A few days ago, I was at the pool, and saw a young mom and her little daughter enter, dressed in coordinated swimsuits.

The mom, her loose curls tied together beautifully, spent the first few minutes talking to a friend on her phone. Her daughter stood by, waiting patiently for her mother to finish.

Mom ended the phone call and scattered pool toys and sunscreen on matching towels.

Then she installed her phone on a tripod, experimented with different angles to find the right lighting, and took a few selfies with her daughter.

The little girl asked if she could get in the pool.

“Wait,” Mom said, and told her to pose in front of the pool, and took a couple more photos. Then they both finally went in, Mom making sure her phone didn’t get wet.

“A couple more photo’s,” Mom said, and little girl smiled big and said cheese like she had done it a million times. Then Mom told her she could play now.

Little one swam for a couple of minutes. Mom got out, called another friend and started another conversation.

“Mom, can you come to the water with me please?” her little girl asked again.

She was ignored.

“Mommy, will you come to play with me?” she asked four more times.

Mom looked at her, but never hung up the phone. After 10 minutes, Mom finished her call. “It’s time to go,” she yelled at her daughter who was at the other side of the pool, and she gathered the untouched sunscreen, the water toys that were still dry and the matching towels.

I witnessed the entire event, and imaged the perfectly edited photos that would soon appear on social media, captioned ”Pool time with my girl!”

Somewhere, another mom will be at home with her kids, the house a mess , her hair rebellious, the laundry basket filled with clothing and towels covered in saliva and peanut butter.

She’s exhausted from spending the day cooking, caring, cleaning and playing with her kids.

She’s going to look at that picture and compare herself.

Guilt may whisper in her ear –
“You’re not good enough…”
“You don’t look like that mom in the pool…”
“You don’t have money to buy expensive swimsuits like that!”
“You don’t have time to make memories like her!” –
and that young mom is going to believe it. She’s going to belief it, and feel like a failure.

I hope she’ll know her children had a far better time than that “perfect mom’s” daughter.

What we see on social media is often fake.

Most of the times, it’s a complete set up.

It’s staged and filtered.

It’s fake.

19 June, 2023