Let me just make something clear, there is no such thing as the perfect mom. I feel that this is especially important for first time moms to hear. I’ll say it again. The perfect mom doesn’t exist. She’s a fucking unicorn. She’s this mythical fantasy figure that does not exist, and she never has.
I have been a mom for 11.5 years. When I first became a mother, I took to it easily. Maternal instincts come naturally for me, and embracing motherhood was never an issue. I was filled with so much love and joy. Then, I fell into the trap. During this time (mid 2000’s) reality television was overtaking everything and mom’s were center stage. The Real Housewives of Orange County premiered. It was a time of perfect tans, perfect manicures/pedicures, perfect makeup, perfect hair, perfectly spotless house, and shiny luxury brand SUVs. I personally felt like this time period was a miniature version of the 1980’s…excess was king.
When I say I fell into the trap, I didn’t hold dear all of the superficial elements outlined above. I would be lying if I denied them all though. For some reason I really did believe that my house should be spotless all of the time, as if it were a staged model home and no one lived there. This is an impossibility when you have a family. Our house is LIVED in, and ever since I realized that I’ve been a lot happier. I’d rather have my loved ones pop in for a low key visit and steer clear of the anxiety I used to have about the house being messy. As I look around here now, our house isn’t messy. It is, however, a home. My yoga mat is neatly tucked into the corner by the fireplace. My scented candle is definitely far from magazine worthy with its ring of soot at the lip.
The play room currently smells like a Clorox factory. Before you judge me for not using natural cleaning products I’d like to explain. Lately Ruby has been digging fresh poo out of her diaper and smearing it all over her playpen. It also gets in her hair and under her finger nails as well as all over her. (She’s been spending our time indoors in her playpen a lot more than usual this week since she has decided to climb all over everything. I plan to get a legit tv credenza that she can’t climb on this week, but that’s another story for another day.). I prefer to use Clorox to clean up feces. Sorry not sorry. Obviously the baby gets a bath and no Clorox.
There is still paint on the breakfast table from our last gardening project. There’s a few dishes in the sink in the kitchen. There are a ton of books and various magazines laid out on the coffee table in the library in a very unorganized manner.
I’m fine with it now. We live here. I’m 38 years old. I’m too old to give a shit if someone walks in and judges. If someone does that, then they don’t have kids or they have some deeper issues internally that should be addressed.
Fast forward to more recently. I am a family lifestyle writer. Whether it’s my own personal life or relating to my writing, I am immersed in all things parenting and family. I follow a lot of other moms on social media, specifically Instagram. The new trend is the opposite of The Real Housewives life plan. Nowadays the younger moms are all about minimalist living. Eco friendly merchandise (I’m actually down with this part), 5 items of clothing only (okay this may an exaggeration), perfectly tidy tiny houses, perfectly gorgeous skin and no makeup, perfectly air dried natural hair (think beach waves), and an assortment of perfect looking super tan adorable children. These moms bounce back from pregnancy so quickly that if their pregnancies had not been so well documented I’d wonder if they had used surrogates. There are filters galore used on every picture posted, giving either a vintage or super white and bright sunshiny aesthetic. As beautiful as these Instagram feeds may be, as well as the women and children that populate them, they are also full of shit. How many shots did they have to take to get the perfect one? I promise it is rarely perfect on the first try.
I’d like to point out that social media in general is full of shit, too. No one posts the bad stuff. They ONLY post the good stuff. I get it. I don’t go around posting pictures of myself with bed head and dark circles under my eyes as soon as I roll out of bed with the caption “I woke up like this”. Although, I should do that on IG to promote this blog post. Of course, it’s only natural to put your best foot forward. My message isn’t to tear down the women I speak of, but to let the others know there is nothing wrong with them. You’ll never keep up with a made up image of someone else’s life, no matter who you are. It’s important to keep in mind that a lot of these moms are in business for them self, and building a brand. Image DOES matter in that case, but it’s still not something to base YOUR real life on. The reality is this-that person can’t even keep up with their own made up image. Al Pacino doesn’t walk around everyday still in character pretending to be Tony Montana. It’s the same thing.
Even the moms that look like they have their life all figured out don’t. They still have cramps during that time of the month. They’ve had to clean up an unusual amount of child poop at one time or another. They have arguments with their husbands or wives, or maybe they are single and wish they weren’t. They’ve burnt the cookies. They’ve had one too many glasses of wine at dinner (or a bottle in my case). The mom with the perfect body has something physically that she’s not happy with, too.
We are all human, and far from perfect. So next time you’re scrolling through Instagram or watching some unrealistic portrayal of motherhood, remember that all of these things are staged and none of these people have it figured out. Life is exquisite, life is painful, and life is certainly far from perfect. All we can do is our best. Put your health up there with your family and nurture both, because these are the most important things in life. You are wonderful just the way you are. There is no need for comparisons.