Mum blogger’s #imperfectisthenewblack campaign aims to break ‘perfect parenting’ standards

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  • Anna Whitehouse, the force behind beloved Instagram account Mother Pukka, is striving to break down the idealistic standards set by influencers on social media.

    Her campaign #imperfectisthenewblack, is part of a new charity campaign from the PANDAS foundation for postnatal depression, which aims to show the reality of parenting that lies behind ‘perfect’ families on Instagram.

    Along with mums Hannah Veale and Amy Malloy, Anna is asking parents to revel in their imperfect parenting.

    Anna spoke to us about what drove her to embark on this campaign:

    ‘The pixels are great but sometimes they offer up a distorted reality that doesn’t help a new mum suffering from postnatal depression,’ she said.

    ‘Why doesn’t my house look like that? Why doesn’t her baby cry as much as mine?

    ‘This campaign looks to balance out the polish with an honest dose of reality.’

    She also spoke to mum blog No More Shoulds, saying ‘I think the power is we see these distorted images of parenthood and that messes with people’s heads when you are in a dark place.

    ‘I have a very distanced, quite contrived Instagram.

    ‘I don’t take photos in the moment ever because I’m scared of missing the moment. But the fact is, my life’s a mess and I’m looking forward to sharing that.’

    It's all about contouring #notparentingtheshitoutoflife #motherpukka

    A post shared by Anna Whitehouse (@mother_pukka) on

    The campaign comes after Adele spoke out about her fight with postnatal depression when her son Angelo was born three years ago.

    It wasn’t until she spoke to a friend about it that she realised she wasn’t alone in her struggle.

    ‘One day I said to a friend, “I f***in’ hate this,” and she just burst into tears and said, “I f***in’ hate this, too,’ the singer told Vanity Fair.

    PANDAS surveyed 100 mums, and found out that 80% of them felt alone and didn’t feel support in the online community.

    ‘The campaign was conceived to help all parents, suffering like Adele or not, know that they are not alone and life isn’t as picture perfect for everyone else as it might appear,’ said Anna.

    ‘Everyone has their own battle, their own reality which they find to be lacking against a standard they set for themselves. This reality might not be one they always share. The perceived standard of happiness, of cleanliness, of order, that must be achieved is merely pixels deep.’

    Just had a cry in the bogs. Squidge and I presented our #flexappeal (a campaign to push for flexible working for one and all) to the Greater London Authority Women's Network at city hall at 2pm today and they want IN. I really never thought anyone in political power would take me seriously – I hoped they would but assumed my brash way with words and insatiable appetite for Monster Munch might leave them muttering, "who is this 'mother fucker' person?" I was wrong and judgemental; they're listening, they want to go large on the flexible working message and we're in again next week to go one rung up to the chair of the committee and plan ways to make this happen – from instilling women with confidence to push for flexible working to encouraging businesses to allow Dads to carry some of the burden of daycare, right the way through to supporting companies (how does a start-up manage flexibility? How to navigate individual, often very personal circumstances?). Whether employer or employee, the Mayor's office is going to make it happen. We remain, as ever, your flexible working, flash dancing ⚡️👯 foghorns 🎺#parentingtheshitoutoflife #motherpukka

    A post shared by Anna Whitehouse (@mother_pukka) on

    ‘Imperfection is more achievable because it is normal. It is human and it is all around us. It just is what it is.

    ‘For a little while, we want to shed a light on that reality, and to create a positive, supportive and accepting online space. To celebrate the beauty and the humour in the everyday and, in doing so, show those that need to hear it that it’s ok not to be ok.

    ‘Gone are the days of the insta-perfect parent. Gone are the days of comparing yourself on social media. Gone are the days of striving for an unattainable standard.

    ‘Imperfect is the new black.’

    Other parents have taken to social media to share their own #imperfectisthenewblack photos, including The Unmumsy Mum, who posted this snap with her children.

    To get involved in the campaign, mums can either raise awareness or donate to the PANDAS foundation – or both!

    Simply add the hashtag #imperfectisthenewblack to a photograph of an ‘imperfect’ moment in your every day life, post it to your choice of social media, and then tag and nominate three parents to do the same.

    You can also text PANDAS to 70660, in amounts of £3, £5 or £10.

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