There's been a few posts that I've shared lately on Instagram that really caught people's attention and the comments and double clicks flowed in.
I can see why. I really can.
A beautiful life right? And we all know the camera never lies.
Or does it? I now live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth and I'm truly honoured to live here. There honestly isn't a day that goes by where I don't feel grateful as we shoo pheasants out the way of the car and collect little pieces of wool trapped on fences, left behind by a flock we've watched grow and thrive. It's all so idyllic in many ways.
I can't sell a lie. This isn't an easy life. What my camera didn't show this week was the moments that nearly brought me to my knees. Moments like the gulp that I choked back when my daughter gathered her soft toys and played "real families". I had to actually take a second and refocus at that one. A Brother and a Mummy and Daddy. "Just look Mummy! They're altogether and they don't have to drive to see each other!"
Mummy hit Florence and the Machine quite hard that night and took on four more projects she really can't stretch to right now let me tell you.
These beautiful moments we share online? These are the moments when we share are our victories. I am sharing these moment time and time again as I try to assemble our life. The story of how I got here is quite a tale and one I've not found the words to share here yet. For the moment we can say that a friend saw we longed to be in the place that made my heart thud with the sound of home for the first time, and she offered me the chance to take it. I grabbed hold of that sense of home and I can assure you, I'm not letting go for all the exhaustion and power cuts you want to throw at me. I'm sharing images of sheer wonder as much for me as for a community that it inspires to chase new moments of inspiration. If I'm running to catch that dream, you can bet that I'm whooping at you all to come with me.
I work hard to make ends meet. I get up before the sun and I work through my inbox. Tucked in there are press requests to come view our family home. I smile at the rented accommodation decor and suggest we reconvene when my life is a little more expected. This is not a life expected. That image of my daughter drinking in the landscape shows only a part of the story. It doesn't tell of her anguish as we drive away from the train station on Sundays, taking her away from her Father. It doesn't tell of the moment that he and I finally made eye contact over my right as a Mother and agreed that maybe, I needed some overdue support. We keep that one tucked close and we don't allow cameras and phones in there because that's the part we don't wish to celebrate publicly. As a family though, I can assure you we sit in those moments and we document them in our own way.
When I see the reactions like the ones to those Instagram images shared above I feel a need to touch base to make sure people understand our situation: I am here; she is here beside me. Together, she and I are creating something beautiful together. By sharing these snapshots I hope to bring others that moment of "there's more" that fuels me as I drive us away from train stations and sit up far too late meeting deadlines. I call this blog A Playful Day because I want each person who visits here to dig into their day and find the moment that makes their hearts swell. That's why I think it is so important to touch base and say "Guys? It's just me and I'm on my knees half the time". I need you to know that I need these images sometimes too. The images are mesmerising but they're just a slice of an entire day or week.
When we tell women their life online looks "too perfect" we are silencing their right to craft the life they wish to live and for some of us, that's the biggest threat we can bear. Yes, I do feel a sense of responsibility at contributing to the big picture of what a 'good life' should look like but can I hold all that in my hands right now? No. I can only add honesty into that mix and explain that I am celebrating victories. We're all just trying to find our way, right?
Sometimes, we need this outlet to fuel our week. I've been having a few of those sometimes lately and so I've been picking up the shiny pieces and offering them for others who need something a little more extraordinary to get them out the door and out there in life. I understand the need to be inspired and this is what I have to offer you. I give it gladly. My perfect moment was staggering to the top of that hill and drinking it all in and having her say "Mummy, these adventures are my best". You bet I'm going to share that fist pump moment and you know what? I sincerely hope mine fuels yours too because heaven knows we need that from time to time.