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Fcebook Motherhood challenge, Motherhood Challenge
It seems that very few people agree with the above sentiment. Pic credit below.

I’m about to make a rash statement; it strikes me the so-called Facebook Motherhood Challenge has failed.

I don’t know about you, but my Facebook timelines have been incredibly quiet on this subject. It’s the kind of thing I would expect to be phenomenally popular, not to mention a little irritating. A quick stroll through my news feeds, however, has only uncovered one participant.

By contrast, a quick search for the phrase “Facebook Motherhood Challenge” reveals many posts from people, mainly women, criticising the entire venture. I’m going to make another rash statement; for once common sense seems to be reigning supreme on social media.

Now then my dearest reader, I would be really curious to know; am I alone in this? Is it simply that I am friends with the wrong people or that I follow the wrong pages? Are your timelines stuffed to bursting with clichéd images of photo-shopped domestic perfection (it’ll probably end in divorce) or dull posts about how hard it is being a mum (yawn)?

What does a stay at home father such as myself think about the this so called challenge? I obviously can’t speak for all men, but here are my main objections;

  1. It is not a challenge. It involves posting a few pictures on Facebook and writing a few words. If this is challenging to you, good luck raising children.
  2. I find myself agreeing with Flic Everrett’s comment piece in the Guardian. This causes me particular pain as the Guardian is a publication I don’t generally get along with. That said, in her article, Everett states; “It’s the revived fetishisation of motherhood, the idea that it’s a “challenge” that only “mummies” can understand, an exclusive, excluding club of laughing, shiny, breast-feeding super-beings who know exactly how to raise “great kids” and will only invite others of their kind to join the party.”

It’s that second point that bothers me the most; the exclusivity of the challenge. Whoever established it (the origins are shrouded in mystery) probably had well-meaning intentions.

According to what I’ve seen on my Facebook pages, it has backfired and been very divisive. As opposed to seeing lots of happy, family photographs, I’m seeing women unable to conceive or women that have miscarried or lost young infants making clear they have no wish to take part and that they find the whole thing upsetting.

I’m not hugely fussed about mums wanting sprinkle a little positivity on their Facebook timelines. As a dad blogger, it would hypocritical for me to hold any other position.

This venture, however, is exclusive and alienates people. What about the 181,000 single parent households in the UK headed by men? Where do male same-sex couples fit into it? How about widowers? It’s clear the small, but growing, population of stay at home dads such as myself are not welcome to participate.

If there were a Facebook Fatherhood Challenge, I’d have to post pictures of myself dealing with insensitive healthcare workers. I’d post images of myself sat on my own at soft play centres, surrounded by groups of mums who have known each other seen the heady NCT days or standing outside ladies’ conveniences, waiting to change a nappy. Actually, that last point is a lie. We haven’t used nappies in this house for about six months, but you get the point.

That said, if there was a Facebook Fatherhood Challenge, I wouldn’t take part. Why so? Well, because it would be exclusive. More importantly, however, it is only a Facebook update. It’s importance and relevance should not be overstated. Oh, yeah, and the entire concept is so tedious.

Pic credit; Lifestyleone.com


9 thoughts on “Facebook Motherhood Challenge? Whatever.”

  1. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods)

    I have been nominated for this ‘challenge’ by Facebook friends but I have participated in this one for some of the reasons you mentioned. I agree this isn’t a challenge. It’s just posting three pictures that you have probably already uploaded onto Facebook at some point anyway. Also as you say it’s not very nice for your friends who may have been trying for a baby for years or recently had a loss to see photos and statuses plastered all over their news feed about how great motherhood is. It’s just insensitive really.


  2. This post echoes true to some of the many reasons I don’t do Facebook… Neither for personal nor blog reasons. Okay it may hold back the world domination of my blog, but, Whatevs. I can live with that.
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub John.

  3. I have not seen this in my newsfeed at all. Probably because this is a UK Challenge. I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been an American version of the challenge. We Americans love our challenges. LOL! We have all sorts of challenges going on, like the ice bucket challenge that was done last year, that somehow led to a teenager with Autism being bullied as a result of it. That challenge was started to raise awareness of a rare disease and someone with Autism got hurt. Leave it to Americans to turn something good into something ugly. I love my country but some of these things can make people do some really mean and stupid things, so even if I had seen this, it’s not something I would have participated in. Of course, I don’t acknowledge most things on my Facebook anymore. Facebook, at least in my newsfeed, has become a big dish of negativity and I choose not to stuff my face with it. I only use my Facebook now to promote my blog or talk to family and friends who I don’t get to see often. I am glad that people are seeing this challenge for what it is though. Parenting is hard but it’s also very rewarding, regardless of whether its a mom or a dad. I think this is just the internet’s way of causing more division in an already divided world. It’s simply not necessary. Popping over from #coolmumclub

    1. Yeah, I kinda think this a well-meant idea. I may be wrong Michelle, but I think some people get so caught up in their own little parenting world they don’t think of the wider consequences or implications of a campaign like the Motherhood Challenge. Regrettably I think most of it comes from women because mums (sorry, you’re stateside, “moms”!) because women put themselves – and are put – under such immense pressure to be perfect parents. Us dads, especially stay at home dads, don’t face quite the same levels of pressure which is both a blessing and a curse. Oh it is such a complicated world we live in!

  4. David Fairhurst

    Exclusive and excluding perfectly describes this venture. Well said.
    I take care of my (almost) 3 year-old daugter for 3 or 4 days a week, working 3 days, part-time since returning from my 6 months paternity leave. I wouldn’t change our home arrangement for anything, but your comment about being sat on your own at soft-play really rings true. Other bloggers talk about setting up dad focused rivals to these mum-centric ventures. You’re right, they would be exclusive and excluding too.
    All SAHDs really want is to be included, and we could start with parentsnet. Not a rival to but a rebranding of mumsnet. How big a step would that be towards inclusiveness and equality?

    1. Well David, there was a website called mumanddadsnet.com. It was started by a well known equalities campaigner called Duncan Fisher. sadly, however, a quick check for the URL suggests it no longer exists. I’m glad there is someone else out there who gets the being-on-your-own-at-soft-play thing. I am so used to it after four years. It’s simply a price I pay for being a SAHD, not that it should be this way.

  5. I think this challenge has gone through a chinese whisper stage from what i have seen it was mother and father challenge….3 pictures…5 pictures…..varied amount of nominations.
    I think the intention of it was good and meant well basically a few pictures that held special memories that you wanted to share.

    If im honest it hadnt occured to me that people would find it offensive but after reading some of the reasons i can understand why but i think with any social media if you dont like it you ignore it and dont take part.

    If anything there may be now more awareness of mothers/fathers who have struggled or whom have lost their child.

    1. You knw what, I imagine you are correct, this probably has gone through some kind of Chinese Whispers transformation. You’re quite right; ignore, ignore and ignore again!

  6. mummyofboygirltwins

    Good post. I haven’t actually said anything publicly yet on this – I have read through all the opinions though and I can see all the sides. I think it was started in good faith; a nice idea that people jumped upon, negatively and that got blown up a little. I have been on both sides of the issue – trying to conceive for 5 years and feeling VERY down…and now a happy Mummy of two. I didn’t get tagged or take part but I don’t disagree with anyone who did. Jess x

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