My Q & A with Tammy Hembrow

With 7 million followers on her Instagram platform, it’s safe to say that Tammy Hembrow is a very influencial and well known public figure. She Inspires countless women from all over the globe to strive to achieve post partum health and fitness, and is a firm believer that pregnancy does not mean you have to kiss a bikini body goodbye. Tammy has proven that a woman’s body can indeed look amazing after birth, and assures many of her followers that they too can get their body back post baby – determined to stamp out the stereotype that mothers cannot look good after having children. Tammy encourages women to have a more positive outlook on their physique, and maintains that mums all over can even improve their overall health and fitness after they have given birth and have children. She has been honest about her post baby journey on her Instagram account, keeping it real with her followers with progress photos only a few days after birth of her daughter Saskia, and continuing to update as the months have continued including details of her daily food intake. This has really helped her gain momentum with her following.

 

Tammy had both her children in under 2 years, and her following grew after the birth of her first son Wolf 2 years ago. She trained during both her pregnancies quite close to the end, demonstrating her commitment to a healthy lifestyle even when it was challenging. She resumed her training at the recommended time post baby and continued to nourish her body with the right nutrition. She credits achieving her post baby body that she has now to the right nutrition and exercise on average of 4 times per week. Tammy accurately sums up her advice as this – “Everybody is different and you should never compare yourself to others, but if you give your body the love, exercise and nutrition it deserves, you will reap the rewards.” Passing on her advice and experience to other women was her next step, and she has released an online gym and home based exercise program that has helped thousands of women become motivated to achieve health and fitness. On the back of the success of her exercise programs, Tammy launched her own luxury athleisure wear label Saski Collection this year, which was received with much enthusiasm from her fans and is already a huge success Australia wide and beyond.

 

 

Q & A Tammy Hembrow
Tammy keeping it real on her Instagram – showing her followers she also had a little cellulite after her pregnancy which would soon clear with correct nutrition. This was taken after her first workout since she gave birth to her daughter Saskia.

 

For many months I have overheard other women talk about Tammy in both a positive and negative manner, assuming they know what she thinks about certain subjects and voicing their opinions on her success, her account and her body. I wanted to approach her myself and ask her a few questions on things other than her fitness guides, so I contacted her for a quick Q & A for my blog. She was very down to earth, friendly and obliging, which initially I was surprised about considering her very large following and busy schedule. She really is a sweetheart and has a very casual way of interacting which was refreshing. With much curiosity surrounding Tammy and her Insta-famous status, I wanted to ask her a few questions relating to social media, self confidence and her feelings towards having such a large following. There is a lot more to Tammy than meets the eye, and I wanted to share a snippet of that with you all!

 

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Overall how much importance do you place on social media? Both from a business and personal perspective?

I think it’s very important in terms of my business. I have developed a great following and this has allowed me to open so many opportunities. Because of social media I was able to launch my clothing brand with great success, which was a passion project of mine. In terms of my social life it has less importance because I mostly spend time with my family and my babies don’t even know what it is haha.

 

What would you say would be the main purpose of your Instagram account?

To connect me with my fans. We’re seeing people connect with people of similar interests or specific expertise that are relatable. For me I think there are a few things that people can relate to: being a mum, my dedication to a healthy lifestyle, my interests in beauty and fashion and working hard to achieve your goals. Social media allows people to see different aspects of my life, which I think makes my followers feel closer to me.

 

Do you consider carefully what you share to the public before posting?

Yes, people will ask to see certain things and I listen to my followers and I do read their comments but some things I like to keep personal for privacy reasons like my house or sometimes locations I am at. In that regard I will make sure that I either post when I’m in a different location or that there are not any recognisable traits that could give away where I live.

 

Do you ever have any doubts about the message you are trying to portray on social media once you witness  people’s reactions?

I honestly don’t! While I’ve always enjoyed an active lifestyle, my teen years were generally unhealthy and unbalanced. With fluctuating weight and untoned muscles, I was unhappy and realised I wanted to change my body but also change my life. My interest in fitness became an addiction, and I was inspired by how good I felt but also the changes it was making to my body. I focus on tips and tools that can help people to achieve their own body goals whether it’s to gain or lose weight, everyone is different, and in the process I share my own experiences. The message I want to portray is that women can take control of their bodies, before and after kids. Your body goals are you body goals and no one person is the same, I would hate for people to think I was just advocating my body type, that was my choice and my own personal goal.

 

When your account started to rapidly grow, what were your initial thoughts?

I was excited! For me it happened really organically and my fans inspired me to keep pushing further and I hope to give back to my followers by sharing knowledge, experiences and expertise.  

 

Do you believe someone’s social media account always honestly reflects their “real life” persona?

Not at all. I think one big misconception is that my Instagram is a direct reflection of who I am. I don’t always look my best, I have nights where I’m up all night with the kids, I’m working, or just having downtime. People can be quick to label me based on my looks but that is just one part of me. A massive misconception is when people equate my looks with my intelligence or how hard I work. Just because I post a photo at the beach doesn’t mean I was at the beach all day, people can be really quick to judge.

 

You receive many positive comments on your photos, how does this make you feel when you read them?

I love seeing positive comments. I love people supporting other people.

 

What do you feel when you read negative or extremely inappropriate comments? Do some cross a line, upset or hurt you?

I’m not going to lie it does effect me sometimes, but not as much these days as it used to. I have definitely grown a thicker skin. I don’t have time for that kind of attitude and I think sometimes people need to be reminded that I’m a person and I see their comments. So if you write something mean and I see it – blocking you is my way of letting you know.

 

Would you feel comfortable sharing a couple of examples of hurtful/hateful comments you have received?

People say that I photoshop my photos or that my bum isn’t real, I think the most hurtful ones are hurtful because they’re not true. Or when people say I’ve had plastic surgery because I’ve taken a photo from another angle lol. I was openly honest about getting my breasts done (my only cosmetic surgery) after my babies and I didn’t have to be, it was something I did for me after breastfeeding. I didn’t have to share it but in some ways I did feel some pressure to because people would constantly comment on them. There was even an Instagram account dedicated to “exposing” the fact I got my boobs done even though I didn’t hide it.

 

Q & A Tammy Hembrow
Tammy modelling in her new label Saski Collection

 

As a whole do you think there are any negatives when it comes to social media? (This can even be very minor things)

I think there are for sure, some people hide behind their profiles and use them to say horrible things or put people down. I think that’s terrible.

 

Have there ever been times where you have been over all the “Insta-fame” that you want to just walk away from it all?

Not really it’s such a big part of my life and I really enjoy connecting with people. I can’t say I’ve wanted to walk away but there have definitely been ups and downs.

 

Does having such a large following on social media change how you feel about yourself?Say, earlier days compared to now?

It’s hard to say because I have grown to be the person I am today as my followers grew. Like I said I lived a very different lifestyle and I wasn’t as in control of my body and my body goals. So of course I feel different about myself today as opposed to then but I wouldn’t attribute it to my following but more to my own life choices and decisions.

 

Would you consider yourself a confident woman, social media aside?

I would consider myself confident in certain aspects of my life. I’m confident in my body and my family, not so confident when it comes to interviews haha sometimes I just don’t know what to say or feel awkward but I’m working on it.

 

Is there anything about your physical appearance or personality that you feel insecure about?

Not really haha people like to point things out though – like my jaw is slightly misaligned. I didn’t even notice until people started to mention it in my Youtube videos, it kind of goes to one side more.

 

Do you think women place too much emphasis on social media compared to real life? Feel free to elaborate…

I can’t really speak for other women but there has definitely been an increase in the role social media has in today’s society. More people are focussing on their social accounts and for some it has opened opportunities but I think it’s important to keep your own personal balance.

 

How much time per day on average would you spend on Instagram? 

Not much honestly, my days are really busy so sometimes I will only go on to post a photo and reply to some comments. If I’ve got some downtime though I spend more time online because it’s so available and I might end up scrolling through photos and reading comments for longer than usual.

 

Are you ever concerned about your children’s privacy when you share photos of them on Instagram?

This is something that I have become more concerned about. Now that Wolf is getting older I want to start posting him less, and the same with Saskia as she gets older. This is definitely something that I’ve been thinking about.

 

Lastly, what advice would you give your son or daughter one day if they were bullied online?

I think I will focus more on building their self confidence and self worth. Sadly I think there will always be bullies out there, both online and in person. I want them to know who they are as people and to be able to rise above negative comments as a result. In terms of advice I would let them know that retaliation can often make things worse so it’s better to take the high road.

 

Q & A Tammy Hembrow
Tammy and her family

 

Thank you for your honesty and taking your time in letting us get to know you a little better Tammy 🙂

 

 

Hope you all enjoyed reading!

 

J xx

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Overstepping privacy boundaries – parents who create Instagram accounts for their children.

There are many subjects on my mind and heart to blog about and exploiting children using social media has been one of them. Exploiting is a heavy word but I believe in many (not all) cases it is appropriate. Lately there has been some talk of this subject and very recently a parent I have interacted with on social media has been grossly ignorant when it comes to this matter and tried to justify their inappropriate actions of exploiting their own child on social media to me. This has brought me to put hand to keyboard this evening as this topic has officially been bumped up to the top of my “must write about” list.

Parents who create a social media profile for their children is something I am very passionately against. I do not stand alone in this opinion and am by no means the only parent who feels this way. I have conversed with many mothers who sincerely believe this is a big NO NO and they would personally never do it to their child. No one else seems to be highlighting or writing about this serious subject so I am happy to start and honestly couldn’t care less who gets their knickers in a knot over it!

Before I go any further I want to clarify that in this blog I am not referring to:

  • Any Instagram birthing/motherhood pages

Birthing and motherhood pages are a selection and large array of photos and memoirs of experiences relating to ALL aspects of parenting and offer so much support and encouragement to women, young and experienced mothers, and parents to be. They are completely different to a parent who creates a profile FOR their child.

It’s not enough now that in 2017 an adult has their own account and tries to gain followers and popularity through that – but now they must try and use their children as an extension to that project. Nowadays, they also create an account for their toddler aged child or younger and use their account as a means to make money or gain social media fame status. Let’s face it – this is the cold hard truth to it. You don’t try and actively build an account on Instagram unless you want popularity or maximum exposure/reach. These 2 components generally lead to money – do they not? I challenge anyone to disagree with this. Let’s not be daft – we all know that large social media accounts make money from paid posts and collaborations. How would growing a large child’s account lead to anything different????

I am sure that many of you have come across a child’s social media account. I am more so referring to Instagram in this blog as my time spent on Facebook is very limited. I first came across a child’s Instagram account a couple of years ago and I was instantly shocked and left wondering, “why would the parent do that?” Then about 12-18 months ago I saw a couple more. Since then I have come across several others. My reaction is much the same but I am becoming less surprised and more angered and turned off by it. Is it becoming more common? Are these parents who create these accounts setting a trend for other parents to start one for their children? Gosh I hope not. This is a trend that should not take off and as a matter of fact I feel it should not be allowed. It should be banned. What does confuse me though is that many mothers who share my opinion and disagree with children having their own profile and would never put one of for their own child – FOLLOW and support some little toddlers accounts? I am not sure what to even to say to this? Perhaps think twice before further fueling this concerning trend? Don’t be a hypocrite, know your stance and stick with it. If you are against it – be against it and unapologetic for your choice. Don’t go following a child’s account even though you disagree or are concerned about the matter.

 

The very basic common sense thought comes to mind of “what about the child’s privacy?” Children are virtually the only innocence in society and this should be protected, nurtured and held dear. It’s precious. Creating an account on THEIR behalf when they have NO say, NO knowledge of it and NO control over the content being uploaded in a gross invasion of this privacy and misuse of parental control. It pulls down any veil of privacy that should be kept surrounding our children and allows full access and view to any person behind a screen with an account log in and a password. Children are vulnerable enough in life without adding to that a hundred fold by plastering their every moment on the internet for any browser to see. Isn’t it enough that we upload photos on our own personal accounts of our children? Isn’t this a risk enough? Especially to those of us that have a public account.

Parents who create social media accounts for their children may defend it by saying they want to share that child or babies’ photos with loved ones. What a great load of steaming cow poo. If this was the case – the child’s profile would be made PRIVATE for starters, no hash tags would be used on every photo (the purpose of hash tags being to make the photo as accessible and noticeable to the general public as possible) followers would be restricted to people they personally know, trust or that their child has met and lastly the parent would strictly monitor in general who wants to gain access to the photos. Are any children’s profiles I have seen been like this? Well, no. If this were the case firstly I would not have the content to blog about this and secondly would not have stumbled across or have had access to it to begin with like millions of other people do. What these parents are doing is grossly over sharing every aspect of their child’s life to the general public. They actually have a word for this now: sharenting.

 

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This has become a real term that is used now. No surprise there!

 

Is it sensible to allow random people you have never met and your child has no knowledge of to follow your child’s account? Is this safe? Why does a parent think they have a right to start a followers or “friends” list for their child, or on behalf of their child – before that child is old enough to make educated decisions for themselves? What about the people these child or baby accounts follow back? Many accounts are followed back simply to maintain the “follow for follow” relationship. So it’s business huh? It’s a simple trade off: for access to your child’s every single memory via photograph you will follow a strangers account to keep them happy and for one extra number on the counter of followers for your child.

When your toddler grows up one day, do you think they will wrap their arms around you and thank you for this giant followers list you have grown for them – essentially that they have “inherited” from you? Are you confident that they would not have a single issue with how much of their life you have shared with hundreds or thousands of people? I hope mothers and fathers who create accounts for children without their knowledge consider these very valid and serious points. The internet is many things both positive and negative. With the negative comes a very serious and real danger element. You are a fool if you think that a sexual predator has not viewed your child’s public profile and either regularly checks it or even follows it disguised under a different name.

 

Hacker
Sexual predators pose as regular “harmless” accounts. You can never be sure exactly who is viewing your child’s photos.

 

A parent who uploads a photo or video of their own child on THEIR own profile and wants to share this with family, close friends or others does this because they are proud parents; genuinely want to share a glimpse into their lives whilst sharing plenty of other content from their life outside photos of their children. This being said, even sharing photos of our children on our OWN account of course runs a risk, and I think every parent knows that. No, we cannot live in fear of sharing beautiful moments of our children to people we love and who genuinely want to see our life in squares and therefore never share anything. However we need to be mindful and monitor more closely who gets to see the things that are most precious to us. Our babies.

 

Lately I have been deep in thought about my own account and how much I expose my son on social media. I have had a couple of discussions with a few friends about this subject (Kylie and Suzie being 2 particular ladies I have chatted to about this in recent months!) and they have revealed their views and opinions on it. Their primary concern is to protect their child’s privacy and minimise exposure. Now one of these ladies has recently given birth and decided not to expose her son to social media at all or upload any photos of him. The other initially didn’t upload any photos showing her sons face, but as time has gone on and she has posted a couple of photos she has still kept uploads to a real minimum even though she has wanted to share (she has weighed up the pros and cons – the cons could not be denied and far outweighed the ). Both of these women would like to share photos of their babies but had decided even before the birth of their sons that they would opt NOT to share or overshare their child on a social media platform. Good on them.

These conversations I have had with these ladies and others, and seeing their stance they are taking has made me question my own account and how many photos I upload of Jonah and what he would think of that? I have only just started to consider Jonah’s privacy more in the past couple of weeks and admittedly was somewhat naive about it beforehand. Recently discovering a questionable male acquaintance from my past (whom I had to almost take a restraining order out against) had been watching my Instagram stories – I suddenly felt very concerned and sick to my stomach that someone would seek me out and be able to gain access to videos of my son and precious family time my husband and I share with him. It made me confront the reality of who could access my account and how much I should be uploading of Jonah. Now I would never in a million years presume to make an account FOR him or on BEHALF of him and try and build it up – however I do share photos and I have a public account. Why do I have a public account? It’s not like I actively try and build it like some people, so why keep it public? Well, I want my blog to be accessible to people to read and want to attract readers to it as time goes on. Ok, I somewhat justify that question.

I have used hashtags on Jonah’s photos. I am questioning why I have done this? The answer was simple: I have wanted people to see photos of him. Why? Because he’s the cutest kid I’ve ever seen and I want to share, I want people to appreciate his cuteness also. Why? Hmmm coz I am proud of what I have created. Ok – So I ask myself – “why do you need complete strangers to tell you your child is gorgeous, handsome, cute?” The reality is that I hear that everyday from people we meet in the park, street, shops, on holiday etc. I don’t need to parade Jonah on the internet to try and attract or receive comments and compliments. BOOM. I have also caught myself out in a wrong motive. This has been my thought process lately and I wanted to be transparent and share with you.

I am not saying using a couple of hashtags is being self-seeking and trying to over expose your child in every sense. I am challenging the need to use so many and highlighting the possibilities as to why parents use them. Are you thinking only selfishly when it comes to this with little regard to the future of your child? Ask yourself the questions I have. Why do you hashtag your child’s photos with dozens of words and phrases that have nothing to do with the photo? It’s one thing to hashtag #cutie or #mylove or something similar – but to hashtag every generic hashtag under the sun that does not relate to your photo whatsoever because you see other mums doing so – how can you justify this? I have been honest with myself and asked this question and I cannot come up with a good enough answer to keep doing it as I naively have before! Hash tags = exposure. There is nothing more to it than that. What motives do you have in wanting to expose your child/babies photos on the internet to as many people as you can?

 

hashtag
The main purpose of a hashtag. Making it easier to find content. As I said above = greater exposure.

 

Now I am veering slightly off subject here I know, but I do think that MANY mum accounts I have seen upload WAY too many photos of their babies and children and all these questions above need to be asked. They need to challenge themselves. Are women over-sharing when it comes to their young children? Some women I have seen periodically upload 4,5 even 6 photos PER DAY of their children or of them with their children and using the maximum of 30 hashtags on these photos trying to gain as much exposure as possible. If they weren’t trying to gain exposure to the public on as big a scale as they could – than why upload with hashtags and why upload 4 times per day? Yeah you think your kid is cute we get that but we honestly don’t want to see them on our home page 24/7 so why the bombardment of photos unless you are trying to use them to grow your account?

Many mothers seek support from other mothers and somehow justify uploading hundreds of photos of their child to achieve this? It still isn’t reason enough and still does not justify the striving to gain more followers and exposure. You don’t need a massive account of 40 thousand followers in order to achieve a support network. Close support from a handful of people is more than enough and to be honest more than many real mums have. So once again, using your child’s photos excessively on social media to boost or grow your account and hiding behind the excuse of wanting support from other mums doesn’t add up and is wishy washy. It’s time to get real and admit that children are being used unbeknown to them via social media and it’s unhealthy. This is the real reason behind why many mums do all this, and unfortunately generic mum accounts that over share their children are like the parents who start accounts FOR their children to a degree. They over expose their children for their own personal gain, whether they realise it or not. The underlying fact is that this issue is 100% about the MUM and the validation she needs for her child – which she feels is a literal extension of her – to make her feel adequate and to gain further popularity. That’s the cold hard truth. When you get to the heart of the matter it is somewhat indecent and appalling.

Two days ago I saw a little girls account on Instagram and I found it very disturbing. She was approximately 5 years old. She was posing on a beach, in a child’s bikini. The pose she was making was almost “adult like” – clearly an adult showed it or demonstrated it to her for her to mimic for that photo. It was what I would call an alluring pose – I wouldn’t go as far as saying provocative, but it was by no means child like. Scrolling further through this account (which had thousands of followers) she had makeup on in a good percentage of the photos taken. She was posing like a grown up in many of them, showcasing fashionable children’s clothing. I came across her account because one of those large baby/kids accounts that showcase random cute children’s photos posted this girl’s photo with a caption and tagged this child account in it. Or should I say the mother behind the account in the photo was tagged (as many of these baby accounts do – we all know mothers get very cranky if their child’s photo is used without given proper credit right!?) From there I sickeningly discovered the mother was and IS building a business from her daughter and it had gained an alarming momentum.

The WORST thing about all this was that particular photo this baby/kid account used from this child account had many QUESTIONABLE comments left on it. Yes I scrolled through dozens of comments. Some were from mums saying how cute she was. Some mothers were in an outrage at the fact she was 5 and in a bikini (my thoughts exactly!) BUT there were comments from MALE accounts (some foreign, some not) saying things like “so pretty” and “nice” with a wink emoji. Some men had tagged another account on the photo and left no comment, just a tag. Think deeper into this. Someone tags us in a photo because they want us to look at it right? Why would a male tag another male in a photo of a child? “But there was no sexual comment left by that account” a mother may justify. Just stop. If you cannot be intuitive enough to see the suspicion behind ANY male account that is tagging other men, or leaving borderline “nice” comments on a young child’s photo than you are deluded and living in a dangerous deception. Quite frankly: shame on you. Since seeing this account I have been deeper in thought about this subject and my future stance on it.

Our children should not be used to gain social media popularity.

Creating an account for your tiny child, trying to actively grow and expand it, accepting hundreds/thousands of followers who you do not know for the greater part, follow people back that you or your child do not know or have not met, hashtag your child’s photos for maximum public exposure and attention, caption your photos speaking on their behalf with your opinions voiced as your own – IS a form of exploitation. This needs to be recognised. If you are a parent that has started a PUBLIC account for your child and are doing the listed things above and are not aware of the ramifications of what you are doing, how it can be considered wrong, a danger, an exploitation or a gross invasion of privacy than you need to really be honest with yourself and think this over. Become aware of what you are doing and aware of the heightened risks involving young children being targeted online. Think about what this means for your child and their future? Is it fair that we offer a greater exposure of our children to online predators by creating public accounts and showcasing endless photos, precious memories and milestones?

 

exploit blog
A survey result I found online. Parents clearly have strong opinions about other parents who over share on social media. Funny thing is that we all have a friend or 2 that we know who does this. Perhaps it’s time to say something to them? We are aware oversharing is going on but what is being done about it?

 

For many months I didn’t quite get why a few of my Instagram mum friends had decided along the way to keep their accounts private. I never thought deeply into why they may have made this decision. Now as I witness social media more and more I understand completely. The answer is privacy – not just for them, but more importantly for their children.

There should be a limit to how much we exposure our little children to social media. Did you know that in France there are very strict laws in place about what parents can post? They have the strictest controls so far out of any country, which state that anyone who posts a photograph of someone without their express consent – including parents posting pictures of their children – can face a fine of up to 45,000 euro. Yes, this is a fact.

There is a line than can be crossed when it comes to what we share, what we reveal and what we allow strangers to see. As parents we need to know where that line is in the sand, we need to vett through everything. Isn’t that what responsible, protective and selfless parents do? Are we getting so side tracked by our own accounts that we cannot see this unsettling trend of children’s accounts taking off? People need to start talking about this and treating it like it’s a sizeable issue. Are we possibly becoming so desensitized to people sharing every facet of their lives that we no longer blink an eyelid or feel any conviction about a young baby or toddler having their own independent social media account that they have no control over, NO knowledge of and NO say over ANY content that is uploaded or posted? I leave these questions with you all.

Thanks for reading! Comments and feedback always welcome.

 

J xx

Mums behaving badly

I’ve wanted to write a blog on this subject for quite some time but wanted to wait until I had a bit more time under my belt as a mother before I did. After all, once noticing that the world of motherhood wasn’t what I thought it would be from a few weeks post partum, I had to allow myself the leniency of “what if you are wrong?” So I have given it a few more months of observation. In this time I have discovered that my earliest discoveries about this new mum world are correct. Brace yourself it’s a long blog 😜

I would like to note here before mothers with multiple children criticise me for still being such a new mum – that YES, I do admit I am still just that. As I’ve said before I cannot be any further along in my journey than I am at present. I am still fresh as far as experience goes. I have much to learn overall and in no way am I a perfect mother. I have often voiced that I don’t think I’m a very good mother in some regards and it HASN’T come naturally to me. So in writing about this subject I am not putting my mothering skills on a pedestal in any way. I am shining light onto a subject that parallels actual mothering, my intention is to unveil and openly discuss it. I’d like to fall into the category of a realist blogger so I feel subjects that are uncomfortable such as these should be spoken about publically and am happy to write about them even if people disagree or don’t like me for it. This blog is more so my experiences and observations of mothers and women themselves and how I have found them to behave. It is also mixed with stories I have had certain friends disclose to me about their experiences with mums.

Some mothers are, without a doubt, the bitchiest, most backstabbing and 2 faced group of people I have ever encountered in my life. They relish in gossip and drama, they compete with each other, they subtly make each other feel inadequate, they team up, they twist your words and use it as harmful gossip, they body shame each other, they exclude other mothers and they create and maintain clicks amongst each other, and they give forceful, wrong and even at times harmful advice to each other. Even worse than this, they even try to sabotage each other. Fortunately I have not fallen prey to this, only observed it in the early stages happen to others.

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Harsh meme but oh so true for countless mothers I’ve met or interacted with.

I hope there aren’t any women reading this blog coming back thinking “really? Is this sort of thing actually happening?” I cannot for a second imagine that mothers could be that naïve and don’t know or see what is so blatantly obvious about how mums behave badly. Whether you’ve been subjected to bad treatment or have witnessed it happen to other mothers – one must acknowledge it happens and it’s a growing issue.

I do acknowledge that to every negative story there is a positive – some women have found large amounts of support from other mothers through mothers groups, mums and bubs fitness classes, corporate mothers events and more commonly social media. Personally I have encountered and met a small handful of genuine and beautiful mothers on social media and in “real life” that I have found to be lovely, encouraging and supportive. There have only been a few though, and these mothers aren’t clicky and are often lone wolves themselves in some regards. Perhaps that’s why they are genuinely nice?

I have also met a few mums who maintain they have never been caught up in “mum drama” and haven’t ever been either obviously or subtly excluded, bullied or shamed in any way. They acknowledge it happens but deny having anything to do with it or are aware of the extent. Out of these women I see maybe half are genuine and have indeed had very little exposure to this toxic “world”. The other half just say that to try and parade a sense of superiority over you. As in – “wow you must be such a screw up if you’re involved in all this” and act as if they are so far above it or removed from it. Some of these particular women I have seen subtly belittle other mums or ooze that self-superiority over them. But they are artful and duplicitous about it. So yes naturally they haven’t been on the other end of it because they are the perpetrators! Go figure!

I am pointing out the 2 words I continue to use when it comes to mothers behaving badly – SUBTLY and OBVIOUSLY. Because there are 2 categories and some of us have been subjected to both and others just one type. Both are awful, but it’s the subtle category that drives me insane. It makes you question your sanity until that particular nasty mother comes out and DOES do something obvious and then you have that morbidly triumphant moment of “YES, I was right and I could sense she had a problem with me all along!!” Happy dance? 💃 Hmmm probably not quite haha but it is a relief to know you’re not assuming things and going insane!

Obviously I am one of those mothers who have not only felt but HAVE been excluded both conveniently and deliberately, both subtly and obviously. I have had my words twisted, been gossiped about, and have had other mums compete with me. I am not ashamed, embarrassed or so over confident that I will not admit to this.

I would say I am a confident woman in my own right and don’t struggle with low self esteem or question my status as a woman. This is because I have Christ in my life and He is the unwavering and unshakable foundation of me. I know I am accepted and loved unconditionally and He has transformed me from who I used to be. I also have been undeservedly blessed with a husband that surpasses all normal standards for husbands. In marrying Phil I also have further developed that confidence that I am loved, admired and found beautiful in my own way and own right. I no longer need or care for the opinions of others to validate myself. However in saying all this, there are occasional moments where I do experience confusion, anger and even hurt at how mothers have treated me. It has caused me to not trust the majority of those I meet – despite the appearance that I may. I am a socially engaging and vocal person, so others perceive this as me trusting everyone and perhaps being in tight with a group. This isn’t the case. Despite being confident in who I am it does not mean I do not feel isolated, excluded and lonely at times. It doesn’t mean I kid myself and allow myself to be deluded by the notion I am well liked. I know I’m not and I am ok with it, and I even like this about myself at times. I will never change myself to become more likeable to others. I am not a conformist. However this doesn’t mean I appreciate or am unphased by the treatment I have received from other mothers.

I have had to discuss this subject with my husband at length and he has given me some sound advice about how to handle mean mothers and even opened my eyes to some things. He has even had to set me straight at times. He often can see more in a situation and a scenario that I can, and he will often read women more thoroughly than I will. He sits back and quietly observes where as sometimes I get sidetracked by the excitement and can only observe with one eye. I am sure I am not the only one with a husband that has this trait!? He has vocalized with me that he has witnessed mothers behaving the way I have spoken of, and has fittingly said “it is a whole other world” of which he is glad not to be part of.

Recently I have come to experience other mothers directly lie and bitch about me and twist my words to make me out to be the demon. This has been a new experience as a mother but not a foreign one to me as a woman altogether. There are obviously certain things like dealing with awful social media trolls and being body shamed that I haven’t experienced enough to the extent to personally write about (there have been a couple of minor episodes but nothing major!) I do sympathise greatly to those mothers that have had to endure this and it’s utterly hurtful in its own right, but I am not touching on that much in depth today.

I wish I could caution all women and tell them appearances can be deceiving and things are never as they seem with mothers. Gosh if only they were! How blissfully simple life would be! If you want me to count how many mothers smile at me and mooch over my son calling him cute – then there are TONS. It’s one thing to call someone’s child cute and leave a little love heart emoji on their Instagram picture or approach them in person and ask for a cuddle. It’s another entirely to treat the mother of that child in a pleasant manner and go out of your away to be genuine to her, to acknowledge her. Compliments about your child or the outfit you’re wearing in no way symbolizes that mother likes you or accepts you, or even wants to get to know you and include you. I discovered this early on.

I do see some mothers that are easily flattered and believe if another mother compliments their child that this means they are liked and part of the click/group. HAHA. No. It means they think your child is cute and no more. There can be that separation between your child and you personally. They might say your child/baby is adorable but secretly think you’re a mole. OR they are jealous or threatened by you for some reason. These reasons vary so much I would have to type a 3000 word blog just to go into them. But believe me reasons for some women not liking, accepting or excluding other mothers can range from ones appearance to someone’s wealth status. It can pendulum from disagreement on beliefs and how you raise your children, to your relationship status and how happy you are in your life compared to them.

I will touch on a couple of these reasons for exclusions. I was warned by a much older mother that I should be careful how much I disclose to other mothers about how happy and content I am in the personal life. As in my strong and secure marriage and the fact I respect and am still IN LOVE with my husband. I needed no explanation from her saying this and cottoned on immediately. The sad fact is – If you express your happiness in life too much, and don’t have anything too negative to say in general discussion with other mothers who are experiencing hardship or are disgruntled – be prepared to be shunned or excluded on that account. Be prepared to be as ostracised by this as you would be for having a different belief system or religion to other mums. Prepare that they will grow to be jealous of you. Women all love to get together to discuss hardships. So they should to a degree as it’s what friends can be for. I do feel many of these group verbal bashings of men should be kept to one on one coffee dates though, not broadcasted as public knowledge. But we all know mothers who take this to the extreme and it’s almost like a competition of who has it hardest and who has the greater woe. You don’t have a woe to talk about? Well, “aren’t you little miss perfect??”

Further on from that, there are those mothers (not meaning to generalise but in my experience I have found most to be mothers with 2 children or more) that are married and on face value like to make out they have a home life to be envied. Not too long after you get to know them more they start bitching about their husbands. There literally are only a very small number of women (talking real life) that haven’t bitched about their husbands or partners to me. These men would be shocked if they knew what was being openly spoken about! Their laziness, their inability to fulfill their obligations as a father, their lack of romance, never showing initiative, not appreciating enough, having a wandering eye for other women…….the list goes on and on. Before you know it, there’s a larger than life bitchfest going on and you have nothing to contribute because you aren’t having issues at home, you don’t hate your husband and you don’t find him lacking. So you are now an outcast because you won’t delve into negative slander about a man in your life. You feel the silent push of exclusion happening because you have nothing to add to the conversation.

Another example of exclusions: A group of mothers will arrange catch-up’s amongst themselves right in front of other mums yet not invite 1 or 2 particular mothers. I’ve seen it happen to others and it’s happened to me. You think you might be included in a particular group yet you see photos or videos on social media of outings you’ve been completely excluded from. Not a mention of an invitation. This is not always a nice feeling trust me! You get those awkward moments where 2 mums are going to have a casual unplanned coffee catch-up and you’re kind of just standing there as they talk about it – then they turn to you and say “oh…..you can come if you want.” Ahhhh the fake pleasantries. It’s the backhanded invite where they are probably said under their breath “please say no, please say no.” Yes, this has happened to me. Then there are more major invitations and events that you were told you would be invited to, then there is a change of date and venue and you weren’t told about or reissued an invite. Awkward. And hurtful. Then because you weren’t there you become even more of an outcast. Yet again, this has happened to me.

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Motherhood can be like the movie “Mean Girls” but with designer nappy bags, mum buns and a baby on the hip.

A special mention needs to be made of those mothers that compete with other mothers. Being a mother that trains and lives an active lifestyle I am exposed to many “fit mums” both in real life and on social media. I witness the competitiveness more than anything in this arena. This is one of the ways that mums behave badly that is generally as subtle as they come. Women silently compete with each other over who gets back into shape faster post partum, who is fitter and can lift a certain amount, who had less ab separation, who can do more exercises than others. One way some (more commonly instafamous women) like to compete is by excessively flaunting and parading what they have physically in order to try and make other mothers feel inadequate. I’ve touched on this subject before. Every woman has had a different pregnancy and post partum journey and should be credited for training throughout pregnancy and post baby. Absolutely. But there is some face rubbing that goes on for sure. Those women that peacock and constantly overexpose themselves usually have something amiss in their personal lives. Validation and love from strangers and peers is necessary in order to maintain self-preservation for these women.

Some mothers in the fitness industry that I have recently been in connection with will openly “bag out” other mothers for not being fit in their eyes, for not being at a particular standard. They criticise a particular body part of that woman, or her training style. I do have some strong opinions about what I deem as fit and strong but I don’t always disclose it. My own personal opinions line up with what I try to achieve fitness wise. My opinion and goal is my standard, and I am entitled to it, and often just keep it to myself. I do feel the word “fit” is thrown around too often yes, however I don’t appreciate people in the fitness industry openly paying out on others who aren’t to their standard of what they believe as fit. Particularly mean are those that pay out on other mothers that are in the industry to make a living. I have recently terminated training at a facility for one of many reasons but this being one of them. The talk about other mothers in the industry got too much and I knew it was a toxic environment and I could fall prey to further gossip if I wasn’t careful. Often these fit mums believe they are superior in their level of fitness but I know that there is always someone fitter and more capable than they are and perhaps one day they will be humbled. Once again, usually these women lack something in their personal lives and like to big note themselves above other active mums to reinforce with themselves that they are important and matter. Often these woman have stale personal relationships and also fall into the category of women to bitch about their husbands and partners as I stated above.

Where you train and where you socialize – and with whom, really does matter. Choose your tribe and your environment carefully. A mother can quickly be pulled down into a gossip fest if not careful, or land herself in hot water. I am no exemption to this and have answered questions I thought were harmless and admitted to knowing certain information about someone that was of interest to another mother. I guess ill admit I’m not always on guard and sometimes a simple questioning tactic escapes me and I’m like “yeah, I know her.” Or something like that. Boom. Now they want to know more and I should have seen it coming. Mothers delve for a reason. I am yet to become more experienced at detection. Aren’t we all to some degree?

Sometimes conversations can take a drastic turn and suddenly it’s almost too late to change subject! I have stated my opinions on things out loud to the wrong people and have had my words twisted to a point where something I did say quite neutrally was misquoted into making me a totally horrible person. Mothers will gang up on others and start spreading lies to try and drag another mothers name through the mud. I’m learning more and more to say less in a group environment where there are more prying eyes and ears, and keep anything beyond surface chat to a private 1 on 1. Women want a “safe place” to chat – well these days seek a counsellor and pay for that service because to me, no environment is safe to talk about personal matters as they can get manipulated, twisted and thrown back in your face. Women in the fitness industry want to know about other women in the industry and with the wave of “fit mums” that are emerging so is this incessant need for other mothers to compare and compete, find out about each others personal lives. This is one of those scenarios where you’d have to be involved in the fitness industry to know what I mean. Competing for fitness levels, 6 packs and tight booty’s is not the only form of competing mothers delve into.

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This truthful quote came from my husbands mouth only a few days ago to me about mums we have interacted with. I then found it online.

Mothers also compete when it comes to their offspring. It’s quite disgusting really. They treat and talk about their children as if they are a direct extension of their entire being. They try and live vicariously through them to an extent. They act as if the developments their child makes physically and mentally is an addition to their own achievements and ego. They state things that their child has done that they know yours hasn’t. “Oh my son walked at 9 months” – how often I’ve heard that one. “My daughters were climbing things at 4 months.” Yes, I’ve actually heard that. Not sure if that’s even possible but it was said. As if it’s a reflection on their own physical condition? Yep, ok.

Is your son doing this yet?” “Is your child sleeping through?” “Are they rolling over yet” blah blah blah you can hear the condescending tones behind their questions. Many of us can relate. They ask these questions because they cannot wait to brag about how quickly their child did this or that. As if it makes them a better mother and their child is more advanced than yours? So terrible. Then queue the fake reassuring “oh don’t worry, he will get there” type comments. These comments aren’t meant at all and don’t come from genuine encouragement, let me assure you. It’s just a way they can close the conversation. Everything they wanted to achieve has been done – to compete with you and let you know your child is below theirs in development of something. I see this all the time its terrible!

A wise mother in her 50’s said to me late last year “you know when your child is 18 it won’t matter in the slightest how old they were when they walked or crawled.” Too right. So these silly competitive stories mothers tell about their children will have no relevance later in life and gives NO indication of how their child will turn out, or how their mothering skills are. I got a bit of a complex earlier days about Jonah’s abilities based on what a couple of mothers said to me. Now I see through it and just shut it down, or ignore it. I then identify there is an underlying issue with the mother. I encourage other mums who have been through the same to come to that same conclusion – and quickly. It’s just another ploy to compete and make you feel less than them. They have problems. Don’t befriend that mother if she is saying things like that. Best to steer clear.

I was deceived into thinking that once you’re a mother you’re all in it together, you’re all automatically accepted and part of a universal group of mature attitudes and ways of behaving and thinking. WOW I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s like high school magnified and amplified. The sheer amount of 2 faced backstabbing behaviour I see regularly has quickly made me see that my assumptions before I started my motherhood journey were almost laughable. Welcome to the cesspool of a large percentage of women who are toxic, bitchy, conniving and lying gossipers with virtually no genuineness to them whatsoever. Shocking but true statement. I’m always stunned by the 2 faced behaviour I see, and this proves I am not desensitized to it yet (is that a positive? I can’t be sure!)

Social media gives even more opportunity for 2-faced women to gain momentum. I see women I know liking and writing lovely comments on other mothers photos – and I’m instantly confused and almost angry at their level of audacity!! Based on things I’ve heard her say about this mother in my mind I’m almost screaming “oh my gosh you don’t even like her!!!” Yet this mother on the receiving end has no idea. Well maybe I shouldn’t say that. Maybe she does, and it’s a case of playing that mother back, beating her at her own game. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer kind of thing? Who knows, it makes my head hurt. On a side note – at least I KNOW I’m not always well liked. Some mothers walk around as if no one has a bad word to say about them. Oh how wrong they are. However they say ignorance is bliss. Is it best not to know?

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The 2 faced game is as common as garden weeds. Truth 🙌🏼

What can a mother do if she has been ill treated by other mothers in any of the above examples I’ve given? (I am sure there are quite a few ways I still haven’t mentioned!) Well you can approach this particular mother and tackle it head on, or the entire group. Call them on their unfair, immature or cruel behaviour publically and hope that the heated chat leads to closure. Mothers who prey on other mums never like to be exposed publically and often try and play victim if push comes to shove. Confronting them may succeed but on the other hand it may lead to open denial and more lies could follow, entangling you further. You possibly wont get to the bottom of it.

You could always try the investigative approach when it comes to discovering lies and gossip (which I have tried before) – If it’s a case of “she said versus she said” when the truth comes out, I would examine the facts carefully and weigh up what was said, who started it, the motives and who had more to gain from it. You can try and decipher who is loyal to you, who is being truthful. Sometimes this strategy works, if you’re good at being objective and have all the facts and information about this particular mother that has said or done something wrong by you. But it’s a time consuming process.

What I have started to do is simply distance myself from these types of mothers. Not associate with them any further or remove myself from the environment where I was interacting with them. Usually once this happens there is a knee jerk reaction on their part. They may have a go at you when they detect you’ve gone “off” them or unveiled them. They may delete or block you on social media (this is always a laugh to me as it completely cements their guilt and their position towards you deep down) or they may start rumours about you furthermore. Their behaviour there afterwards will completely indicate what sort of person they truly are, and how petty they can be. If they truly missed your company and interaction they would approach you respectfully and maturely and ask what they had done to offend. However this is rare that someone would do this, mother or not. Never be an enabler and tolerate mistreatment from any mother, despite a possible attachment to the circle of women or environment you’ve come to enjoy that she dominates or circulated in. Complete extraction is the only remedy.

After you’ve been mistreated, excluded, gossiped about or bitched about by mothers all you can do is be grateful you know what they are like sooner than later and avoid others that show similar traits and behaviours you meet in future. Perhaps learn not to try and befriend the “queen bee” in the room but the mother that is quietest and doesn’t appear to have minions following her around. Befriend the lone wolf so to speak. She may add more value to your life than the mothers that are always bitching and talking, the mothers that want to excessively verbal vomit about their personal lives, the mothers who seem to know the latest dramas about others, the mothers who appear to have colourful social lives. Don’t let appearances deceive you. Don’t let someone’s social media account deceive you either.

My final conclusion is to be slow to make friends and examine the ones you have already made. Sometimes developing a “mum crush” for someone way too quickly can have you backpedaling faster than you can manage when you find out what she is really like on close acquaintance. Also, be open minded to the fact that just because a particular mother is nice to you, doesn’t mean she is that way to other mums. She may not find anything about you that is a threat to her and she may not see you as vulnerable. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t prey on or mistreat other mums (past or present.) Everyone has different experiences with different people. If you do find out that a mother you like has bullied, excluded, shamed or deeply hurt another mother you know or meet – reconsider your friendship and alliance with her. Don’t be so blinded by a friendship that you can’t see that person has flaws. We all do really.

I’ve actually befriended a mum bully before (only to an extent thankfully!) without knowing right away. Even up until recently. More than once. But the truth really does come out eventually and you can free yourself from the friendship. Always remember after you’ve been burned by a mum behaving badly – her behaviour is actually because of something more deep seeded that she is yet to deal with or overcome in her own life. Some sort of insecurity or endless inadequacy that she feels towards herself or her personal life. Sometimes it can stem from bitterness and jealousy because of something she is going through behind closed doors. Sometimes mothers are just bitchy, jealous and competitive by nature and there is no family grievance that has triggered her mean spirit. There are a few possibilities but do know and find comfort in this: It comes down to this simple and well-known fact of the matter – it is not you. It’s them.

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The bible warns us about the dangers of bad friend choices.

Love to all the mothers out there that can relate to any of the above. Never tolerate any form of bullying and don’t let your silence endorse the behaviour either if you witness it. Support other mums you know of that have been subjected to nasty behavior and raise awareness that subtle and obvious mum bullying, shaming, exclusions and backstabbing gossip is not ok.

Jess xx

The game of likes and follows

A couple of months ago a mother I follow on Instagram mentioned a Followers App on one of her posts. I was instantly curious about it and asked her what it was. I was told it was an app you could get that tracks who follows you, unfollows you, blocks you or deletes likes/comments they’ve made on your posts (the last 2 points I discovered about this app myself!)

I immediately went and downloaded this app as soon as I found out, even though this friend cautioned that it can sometimes be hurtful if you find out about certain people who unfollow you who you assumed were your friend. I can see why some people may be offended or hurt from this, or on the other end of the spectrum those that would rather not know. I am however, one of those people that LOVE to know these sorts of things. Although I won’t tell a falsehood and say I haven’t been slightly offended now and then – or even confused….but my strong desire and urge to know truth in general far outweighs any other emotional reaction that may come afterwards. Call this blog entry a mini social experiment or a collation of my findings, observations and the opinions and stories of others I’ve spoken to. I’m merely exploring one thin spoke of a very large umbrella subject here so this does come across as analytical.

My friends list on Instagram is small and intimate. I haven’t tried to aggressively build my account (this takes committing too much time to social media and I have been outwardly opposed to this as I want a life away from a screen!) I am in no way instafamous or popular by any means. I rather like it this way.

This does mean that without being deliberately petty I do notice and monitor  when my followers numbers decrease or increase. I just want to know who. Call it curiousity, a strange desire to catch a disloyal person out, identify those who are disgruntled, playing the social media game, a cowardly so called friend…..etc etc the list goes on – and I do it for all the above. To some degree if you discover that someone who poses to be your friend in “real life” but unfollows you on Instagram doesn’t this warrant a justified question to oneself? Have you just discovered them to be a liar? That seems a bit heavy but in a world driven and fuelled by social media for news, entertainment, friendships, relationships, business, inspiration and gossip – can’t we just come out and admit that likes and follows do mean a lot more than we realise and they do signify something deeper?

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✖️ Side note ✖️

Some people would probably say “who cares it’s just social media it doesn’t count or matter!” – as if this sort of thing is pointless. Which lets face it, as much as even I don’t like to admit – social media holds a lot of weight and does tie strongly in with your identity even if it shouldn’t. Which is why my attention has been drawn to this curiosity and like of this app. When sticky subjects like unfollowing someone or not liking posts on social media comes into it some women like to pull that whole “who cares about social media” card. Funny that – those exact people post about the most significant moments and memories in their life, vent or whinge, promote their body, CHILDREN or business on their account but will say this sort of thing doesn’t matter when it suits them. When we ALL know that we’ve stalked, unfollowed, bitched about or compared ourselves to accounts, photos and posts before. So to anyone rolling their eyes at this blog post – get over yourself. This whole subject would ring true to you also. You’re not above it all and would no doubt delve into it more than the average. I’m just one of few women who are blogging about it. And this won’t be the last time I do! ✖️✖️

 

Annnnyyyyyway! So while having this app and discovering a few surprises of my own with people deleting or unfollowing me it’s got me brainstorming even more than usual about the confusing, conflicting and colourful world of social media and how it has an effect on us. I have some theories of my own and I believe many of them to hold some truth. In some regards I’d classify this app and time browsing social media to be a form of personal research sometimes. The psychology behind what social media does to people and society fascinates me. Some of my observations and theories based on that I will share……

So what does it mean or signify when a woman unfollows your account and you catch them out?

✖️ I’m not talking about a complete random or stranger you’ve had no interaction with whatsoever by the way..as we can’t explain or confront every move or unfollow made on social media. I’m referring to a friend, whether that be in your inner circle or mid circle, someone you’ve had a history with (an old friend) or someone you’ve developed a new connection with. ✖️

In my opinion it most likely means you’ve been shunned or excluded to some degree or straight out dumped as a friend. The reasons could be anything from her being offended in some way you may not know of (and let’s face it, if she’s thinking she’s secretly deleted you and doesn’t count on your knowing it’s unlikely she’s going to sit you down and tell you WHY she’s offended), one of your posts struct a nerve and she needs time away from you, there’s been an obvious offence committed that you both DO know of, hidden jealousies that have built up over time and have gradually become too much so she can’t face your posts in her news feed….OR you’ve just been dumped hard out as a friend. This can make women feel betrayed, used, abandoned, confused, angry, excluded and hurt.

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Reading into it too much? Unlikely. Women are precise. We are deliberate, we are jealous, we can be conniving and bitchy, we have been known to seek drama and gossip, we strategically make moves. Is it likely an unfollow is accidental? No way. I frequently ask women I meet and encounter about their experiences with social media so I know that the reasons I have above are accurate. There are probably more reasons I haven’t covered.

 

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This quote rings so true to copious amounts of friendships worldwide.

 

You do get people who will go off you for whatever reason for a while – but instead of going to the extent of unfollowing or unfriending you, they will give you the cold shoulder and ignore all your posts and photos. They will never comment or like them, and if ever confronted they say they’ve missed it in their feed or haven’t been online much. Hmm interesting as you can check when a person likes a photo on Instagram and clearly see how active they’ve been – and often bitchy women will like posts either side of when yours gets put up and deliberately not like yours and ignore it. These women go half way with punishing you for whatever reason (often the issue lies with them!) but won’t go quite to the extent of dismissing you entirely. Puzzling to say the least.

There are the odd few who loudly alert that they will be unfollowing. Bravo for your direct honest approach 👏🏼 Even I wish I was more like this! I’ve seen women openly post on others photos that they disagree strongly with that particular message or image. It would appear that particular person they followed is no longer what they seem and they make a firm decision to unfollow and say so. It’s admirable that some people can be so clear cut about their convictions. I’ve abruptly unfollowed people due to religiously offensive posts, or frequent swearing (can’t stand swearing!) because I don’t want to see that in my news feed. I haven’t told them that I’ve deleted them though because none of these people were close to me. I think sometimes an abrupt unfollow is warranted without explanation if that person is a random or a distant acquaintance. Do you agree? I mean we are entitled to make a firm split decision in the moment aren’t we, if an offence is quite shocking? What does seem unpardonable are the friends that play slow ongoing games with you based on things unbeknown to you, which is completely different from being suddenly offended.

As upfront as I generally am social media has also made me a slight coward behind a screen at times so I cannot just point fingers! I’ll tell you a story concerning an old “friend” (in real life) who followed me on Instagram. I also followed her. Before I discovered this app she had unfollowed me. I noticed for a long while she had not made any comments or liked my photos (not even the ones of my son) so I knew it went beyond her being too busy and missing all my posts. She has a friends list that is like a 6th of mine so her news feed wouldn’t have been busy. My suspicion was that she was jealous. Perhaps of my happiness in life? Not 100% sure. She’s married herself but in my opinion has always been deeply insecure and troubled. Her attitudes can swing like a pendulum. I don’t know exactly when she deleted me but I will say that while she was obviously growing a distaste for me, mine was growing for her. Her posts had become contradictory to her so called beliefs, they were just dull and boring, self congratulatory and lacked any form of interest or inspiration to me. I wanted to unfollow her but didn’t want to be exposed doing so and followed her for many many weeks out of obligation. So petty really isn’t it? I’m just being truthful. If I had this app and knew when she unfollowed I could have just put myself out of my misery and knew where we stood earlier!! Instead I went through all my followers to see if she was one of them and nope, she was gone. So immediately I unfollow her. Seems teenage really but I know I’m not the only one who has felt obligation to be “friends” with someone on social media when any form of a friendship had become long lost. I just wish I could have been honest with myself and her a lot earlier, known the truth sooner.

Anyway this story was to show you that I am not above being caught up in pettiness on Instagram either. It wasn’t a close friendship so it wasn’t mourned but it was an old friendship that was enough to notice, if I make sense. In this scenario should she have told me herself the friendship was over? Instead of slipping away in a cowardly manner? I ask these questions as I’m not entirely sure. Is there a right or wrong answer? Letting things go seems to be the easiest way around many of these dramas tied up with social media friends lists but we are allowed to wonder.

 

Social media can be strategic, almost political and underlyingly bitchy most of the time. Another observation I’ve made before and after getting this app is the follow for follow game playing and if I could name some names you’d be very surprised who plays along.

There are those women/mothers on social media who have a large following (way more than I do!) and out of the blue will start following me. I’m all like “hmmm ok that’s strange” but then a small part of me thinks “hey maybe she liked something I posted or thinks we have something in common!”

I just hang back, observe them (it’s like there’s a post follow surveillance period 😂) and check out their profile to see what they are about. This usually takes days. I don’t just follow anyone and I’m proud of my small list of people I choose to follow! In this short time of a few days they’ve liked a few photos, made a couple of generalised comments and then unfollowed me. Why? I can speculate it’s mainly due to the fact they never liked my account or found me interesting, never thought we had anything in common or wanted to be my friend. They simply followed me so my attention would be drawn to them and I’d follow back! Because I fail to do so, they unfollow. Ahhh the games. It’s a strategy to gain more followers and it’s so bizarre! I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean!

But wait, then there are those who do the above plus more. Weeks pass, then they follow you again for the second time. The whole process repeats. Man I tell you what this is commitment to picking up that one extra follower if I ever did see it. They throw out the bait again with more likes and comments in hope I’ll respond and they will hook me. Pity for them I’m just not that daft and frankly not interested in them or their account especially after the previous deception (some of these are mothers accounts too might I add!) Sure enough an unfollow occurs again. What’s even more confusing is some of these people watch my Instagram stories even after I’m unfollowed?  😏🤔 So odd. So maybe they do find me interesting after all. I start thinking maybe I AM worth stalking? Haha it’s a mind boggle this whole following game.

Men aren’t exempt either…I should really include them as my observations have included them also. They do delve into the “follow for a follow” and it’s so petty. One being a boyfriend of one of my friends 😂 Well mate, one way to get me thinking you’re a mature man who doesn’t treat life like a popularity contest 🙄

Many of these observations I’ve made confuse me or make me laugh and shake my head. Who knows the right etiquette to social media usage? Do any of us? Where does honesty come into it? Telling someone you no longer find what they say or post on social media interesting, truthful, wholesome or motivating. Do we avoid confrontation completely now and allow buttons or tabs on a screen to communicate for us? Why do people play games on social media? Is it all just a popularity contest? Can an unfollow bring an end to a friendship? To this question my answer is – I believe it can. Because social media is personal. It means more than it should, and in some cases should mean more to those than it does due to the content they post on there.

It’s a huge contradiction and a maze of people who want a greater number of people to love them and notice them (or in some cases not them personally but their children 😳) That’s a huge void of insecurity in people’s lives and hearts that social media has the impossible task of filling. And it isn’t doing a good job. It cannot possibly fulfill it. Playing the following and likes game won’t add true value to your life, and will only take from true friendships you may have made. A number indicating an amount of people who follow you should not define you or how you act toward others. As much as social media can create relationships between people or connect them, it can also ruin and destroy them. Push you to compare and compete. You’ve got to navigate your way around with the precision and care of a rally car driver to avoid major disasters.

Does social media alter the way we socialise and act towards others? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Are your followers as genuine as you may think? You may have a large number but how many of them follow you simply to watch you fall and relish in your failings instead of offering true friendship? That’s why I don’t envy people with a large following lists. You have 20 thousand  followers but only 1000-2000 likes? That accounts for a lot of potentially disinterested, inactive, jealous, sticky beak or fake followers on your account – and I wouldn’t want that AT all just for the appearance of being popular.

 

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All I will conclude with from my own experiences with this app is I am enjoying knowing truth in an arena that is full of lies. It makes me feel like I have some sort of honest feedback. It allows me to track the game playing so I can avoid certain people who seem to partake in it. So to those people who are posing as friends who are playing the game with me – I see you 👀

 

Just some food for thought peeps. Hope I got you all thinking ✌🏼️

Take care out there!

J xx