In the deep trenches of early motherhood, one could always find me in my black leather recliner chair snuggling my darling baby girl and surfing social media.
Surfing Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social channels were the only way I felt I could remain connected with the outside world, despite being trapped indoors with a winter-born baby, my permanent boob fixture.
Those days, I survived on several hours of sleep, random bites of granola bars, and tubes of Lasinoh nipple cream.
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I felt completely exhausted, dead most days, however, my quest to become the perfect all-American mother plastered on social media, television, and in lifestyle magazines, was alive and well.
I longed to be:
The super organized mama bear who was a pro at balancing work and family life, was a Martha in the kitchen, and knew all the latest life hacks.
The adored mother who radiated confidence, wore fashionable puke-free clothes, and touted a flawless done-up face.
The coifed mama with the bright and airy clutter-free house, respectable young children, and thriving social calendar.
The mamas I saw all seemed to have it down.
Straight up, professional mothers.
I wanted to be like those moms.
A high-definition image of an insta-famous mom who reflected everything successful and beautiful, a joyful life of motherhood bliss and ultimate parenting perfection.
I aspired to be that mom.
That is, until I met one of those famous on IG moms.
And, eventually several more.
As I got to know them, I learned the cold hard truth.
They were faking it.
This so-called “reality of motherhood” wasn’t so real after all.
What these insta-famous moms portrayed online was as genuine as Kim Kardashian’s voluptuous booty.
A wise woman once said: the grass is greener over there because that glossy grass is artificial, yo!
Those farm-fresh meals your favorite IG mom cooks in her gourmet kitchen every week (that her kids devour)?
She typically serves a home cooked meal every few weeks. On an average day, it’s just frozen pizza, macaroni and cheese, or chicken tacos for dinner. Pretty much the only thing her kids like to eat. Oh, and that fancy modern kitchen with the granite counters and bay window, that’s her in-law’s kitchen.
That peachy picture of the mom with the damn near perfect body sitting on the steps of an Olympic sized pool with her two toddlers splashing next to her.
She spent 40 minutes applying bronze-colored foundation to her legs, arms, and chest. She also juiced for three days in anticipation of this “professional photo shoot” by her cousin, a 16 year-old aspiring photographer. Time spent in her Aunt’s pool? About 5 minutes. Then, it was time to drop the kids off at Grandma’s house, so she could create the perfect “impromptu” caption for her Facebook audience.
That gorgeous mom who swears she never gets sleep, but posts the most beautiful morning selfies highlighting her complexion sans puffy eyes, lines, marks, pits, or scars?
She never posts an Instagram selfie or family shot without smoothing out her skin first in her BeautyCam editing app. She suffered bad acne in high school and her scars are something that has always zapped her confidence. She is saving up money, from her side-hustle as a fitness coach, to do laser skin resurfacing.
Mama, no one truly lives that perfect shiny mom life you admire from the comforts of your messy living room overrun with toys and screaming heathens.
It’s all carefully staged and color-corrected.
And, you know what else?
That insta-worthy mom is no different than you.
She is still trying to get this mothering thing down too. Yes, even a seasoned mother of 5 kids.
Social media reels are like reality TV.
They are more scripted than you could imagine.
Those moms you put on golden pedestals of perfection are faking it.
Truth be told, all of us are faking it.
Yes, I said it.
Moms are faking it.
All of us are overwhelmed.
All of us are pulled in a dozen directions.
All of us are burdened with doubt.
All of us are thinking we aren’t doing enough.
All of us believe we are lacking.
All of us are struggling in silence.
We are painting on happy faces and editing out the angst, the disorder, and the messy.
We are filtering out the realness and the ordinary.
We are covering up who we really are because we fear we aren’t enough.
We are wearing masks and depicting who we think we should be instead of showcasing our beautiful, awesome, ordinary selves.
We are faking it because society makes us feel like we must act or look a certain way, or reflect a certain lifestyle to be liked, friended, desired, and wanted.
All mothers are struggling to live up to these fake and unrealistic expectations society tells us we should be like.
While it is ultimately every mother’s prerogative to portray their selves and lives as they wish, we must get to a point where we accept that we are good enough as we are.
Show me the raw, the dysfunction, the messy.
Show me the quirks, the monotony, the ordinary.
Show me the real deal.
The more we share our truths, the sooner we’ll realize that we are all on the same struggle bus.
We are all doing motherhood the best that we can.
Rock those stretch pants every day, cook mac n’ cheese as if it were the only food available on earth, snort when you laugh, leave horrible knock-knock jokes in your kid’s lunch box, if that is what makes you YOU, mama.
Ditch that mask.
Embrace your authentic self.
Because, mama, you belong on that damn pedestal.
And you don’t need a peach-colored filter with an organic smoothie in your kid’s hand to earn it.