Why people are missing the point of Facebook’s Motherhood Challenge

People are slamming the Motherhood Challenge as ‘smug and insensitive’ - but here’s why proud mums SHOULD take part in the Facebook campaign

motherhood challenge facebook controversy

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

We're sure you've already seen them on Facebook; women are flooding the social media sites with sweet pictures that represent their journey as a mother, and tagging other mothers to do the same.

But, despite The Motherhood Challenge being a celebration of love and family, it has come under fire from all corners of the internet.

Some have slammed it as ‘insensitive’, insisting it can cause harm to women who can’t conceive, who are grieving the loss of their child, or have miscarried their baby.

Mumsnet user TeamAgamemnon wrote: “FB can be hard enough when you are dealing with heartache, never mind when this sort of thing is plastered all over it.

“It's the self-congratulating tone of 'proud to be a mother' and 'motherhood challenge' aspect that grates for me.

“A bit like these posts that say s**t like 'you'll never understand true love until you love your child' or some such nonsense.”

Others have slammed it as ‘smug’, with The Guardian’s Flic Everett insisting that The Motherhood Challenge makes her want to punch her computer screen.

She wrote scathingly: “The most offensive aspect of this is the idea that it’s a ‘challenge’ at all.

“A challenge is coping with grief when you wish you were dead, or pushing your mind and body to the limit in a feat of superhuman endurance.

“It’s not posting a few snaps of your toddler and waiting for your friends to type ‘aw gorgeous hun xxx’ underneath.”

However we feel that those slamming The Motherhood Challenge have missed the point.

Motherhood IS challenging

Despite claims to the contrary, motherhood is challenging - and every single day brings new battles.

From getting through the day with postnatal depression, to regaining confidence about your post-baby body. Mastering breastfeeding and bottle-feeding (because, yes, sterilising bottles and working out formula amounts is tougher than many will know), to burping your baby. Learning why your baby is crying, to planning a play date for your child. Finding the courage to move on from a traumatic birth experience, to worrying about your little one every single moment of the day. Working out how to juggle your baby with your social life, to rekindling your sex life with with your partner.

And let’s not forget everything in between.

In today’s society, we are taught to believe that motherhood is a natural skill that all women have in abundance - but, as any mother will tell you firsthand, this absolutely is not the case.

It doesn’t matter how many baby books you read while you’re pregnant, or how much babysitting you do. It doesn’t matter if you adopt, foster, go through IVF, use a surrogate, or carry your baby yourself; becoming a mother for the first time is an overwhelming experience.

It’s something that women have to learn on the job, all while dealing with the mental and physical fallout of having a baby… so yes, it DOES often feel like a feat of superhuman endurance.

Why aren’t mums allowed to celebrate their achievements?

People celebrate when they move up the career ladder - usually on Facebook. And people usually post a status when they move into a new house, or win a marathon, or get engaged.

We congratulate these people - and we feel good about their achievements. We don’t accuse those celebrating a promotion of being insensitive, and of rubbing their job in the face of those who have recently been made unemployed. And we don’t slam those who move into a new house for being ‘smug’, do we?

So why shouldn’t mums be allowed to celebrate all of their child’s milestones as well? Why should they downplay their daily mum goals, just because society assumes that motherhood is easy?

Here’s a list of rules that every mum needs to remember:

  • Feeling proud of your daily mum goals doesn’t make you smug

  • Sharing your child’s milestones with the world doesn’t make you competitive

  • It doesn’t make you ‘boring’ to want to share something which other non-parents may see as mundane, or a given

  • It doesn’t make you a ‘bad mum’ to question your own abilities every once in a while; it’s called being human

  • Calling motherhood a challenge isn’t an overstatement - because it genuinely is one!

  • Taking part in The Motherhood Challenge doesn’t make you insensitive; it makes you proud of your own daily challenges - and rightfully so.

But how can we make The Motherhood Challenge more inclusive?

The Motherhood Challenge is coming under fire for isolating certain groups - or for encouraging mums to pick out great mums from their Facebook friendship groups.

So how can we make it more inclusive?

Well, it’s simple; by NOT tagging anyone in our images.

All we have to do is share our Motherhood Challenge with our Facebook friends as a whole, encouraging all to take part. Because, after all, every mum is amazing - and she shouldn’t need to be invited to the party.

We’d like to see foster mums, adoptive mums, stepmums, biological mums, mums who’ve lost their little ones, and mums from all walks of life share their own experiences with the world.

Every story is amazing, every milestone is worth shouting about, and every mum - whatever her story - deserves the right to feel proud of her own daily challenges.

So don’t let anyone put you off taking part in The Motherhood Challenge; you deserve to share your story with the world.

And we can’t wait to hear it.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us