Giving mothers a voice
Motherhood proved a minefield for Chalsey Trott. In desperate need of a community, she started her own on social media. MomWeek is a place where mothers can share their “struggles, successes or journeys” without judgment or criticism.
“I have shared stories from more than 20 mothers about their journey so far, and countless more funny memes and personal stories with the growing MomWeek community,” said Mrs Trott, who started the blog on Instagram in January and extended it to Facebook last week.
Although open to the world, Bermuda's mothers are her target, anything from picking a doula to navigating teenage tantrums is likely to come up for discussion.
“I would love the opportunity to share this with more mothers, to encourage women and mothers to stick together and support one another so we all know we are not alone.
“Everyone has ups and downs and needs support, even if it's just through a funny comment on a screen that you can relate to.”
The idea came as she struggled following the birth of her daughter, Inara, two years ago.
“After I had her, I felt all alone and thought I must be the only person feeling as if I didn't know what to do.
“But after talking to my own friends with kids I discovered that wasn't true.”
Her dream was a place where she and other moms could go for support and advice and voice her concerns.
“MomWeek was to give a voice to the situation of motherhood: long nights, hugs from kids ... whatever it is, you're not alone; there's someone else out there going through the same thing.
“There is a lot of pressure on moms. We're always wondering, ‘Am I doing it right?'. There are so many decisions to make, about schools, vaccines, the food you feed them.
“My idea was to encourage, to empower mothers, to let them know there is a village around you to help with your questions and concerns.
“As women we are so hard on ourselves, as mothers even more.”
People frequently reference the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”, but forget mothers need support, too, the 32-year-old said.
“It's a never-ending story: once a mom, always a mom. You never get a break, even when you're sleeping.
“I was never sure if I wanted to have kids so there was this insecurity if I was even cut out for this position. It's a huge job to be a mom.
“To get the reassurance that I'm doing my best and my best is good enough, is good to hear from other people.
“We're all supposed to be this super amazing person who has it all together, washing dishes, folding clothes and teaching our kids the alphabet all before bedtime.”
Social media adds to the pressure with its snapshots of life and “false images of what motherhood is supposed to be”, said Mrs Trott, who has a full-time job with the Department of Health.
“It's good to have a reality check. Even if you are not a poster of what you think a mom should be, you're still good — your kids are alive, healthy, fed and happy.”
MomWeek has received “tons of positive feedback” from more than 200 Instagram followers. The topics discussed are a joint effort between herself and them.
“We're in a community together, it should not be all what I want to talk about. I want to hear from everybody else.
“It started out where I felt like maybe I did the wrong thing, motherhood is a 24/7 commitment, but because of the feedback I wanted to continue. It's growing daily which is really exciting.”
The blog's name is a take on Shark Week, the long-running show on the Discovery Channel.
“[Every year they devote] a whole week to sharks, these mysterious creatures that lurk around: what are they? What do they do?
“The idea was to highlight moms in a different light. I wanted to put the real deal out there. We're real people — women, wives, working, not working, real people — not just mysterious creatures that produce these awesome or horrible kids.”
• Look for Mom Week, on Instagram and Facebook