My family and I went on a day trip. Upon our return home I posted some pictures of my kids on Facebook. I posted a comment about what a lovely day we’d all had. It got a few likes.
Within that post I tagged the other families who had accompanied us on the day trip. I congratulated all of us on what had been a real gem of a day. They posted some photos too.
That’s when the trouble started.
One of our friends, not on the day trip, had stayed at home with her children. She had not had a great day.
After seeing the photos of my children smiling, she phoned a therapist:
“Please help me. Abby Boid had a good day with her children. I had a bad day with mine. I am unable to cope with someone else’s happiness on a day that I was sad. Please ban Facebook. Please ban photos of other people’s children. Please don’t let this become a Motherhood Challenge. Please, God, please why can’t everyone just post pictures of stick men called Bill?”
I don’t know what became of her. Such was the damage I caused she was unable to face me, or Facebook, ever again.
Another friend, a friend without children, called me.
“YOU. FUCKING. SMUG. BITCH.”, she yelled down the phone. Unable to contain her fury, the call ended as she flung her mobile against the wall.
Shortly afterwards she went on a mad rampage, punching the computer screens of Mothers everywhere. I doubt it ended well.
My Mum then got on Skype.
“Abby love, now I know you don’t like me interfering in your parenting style but our John’s just told me you posted some pictures on Facebook of the kids looking happy. Is this right? Because if it is right I’ve got to say that me and your Auntie June are bitterly disappointed. I mean, back in the ’60s we fought for our right to go to work and go on the pill and be proud of real achievements. You didn’t see us blathering on about what we’d pushed out of our vaginas that day. Pull your socks up. Get over yourself. Nobody wants to know about your la-di-da days out with your own flesh and blood.”
Such was my family’s shame, they have now severed all contact with me and their grandchildren.
Soon the press picked up the story. Serious people asked serious questions about whether my photos were harmless fun or just plain offensive.
It felt rather like when they discussed whether my breastfeeding was offensive.
Or that time they debated whether my decision to be a stay at home Mum was offensive.
Or whether taking a term time holiday was offensive.
So I thought about all the reactions to those photos I’d posted. Those photos I’d shared on a website designed for sharing things.
I thought if a picture of me and the kids on a good day is the most offensive thing in your life, your life ain’t that bad.
Because surely this is just five pictures of my boys….
….while this, for the record, is me being offensive: