I have noticed a trend happening lately on social media. It’s probably not a new trend. It’s a possibility that I have only become aware of it in my own journey of embracing motherhood. I call it The Era Of The Young Perfect Mother.
Just one scroll through my Instagram feed, and I am sure to find examples of this phenomena. Perfectly posed photos of a perfect life, young smiling mothers with their clean and perfectly dressed children, snapshots of perfect houses with white walls and perfect, clean hardwood floors.
I must admit, there was a time that I secretly envied these women. After we found out we were expecting our own little one and moved to the city, I had no friends, felt extremely out of place, and tried my hardest to grin and bear it and fit in. So I turned to the only community of mothers that lived that life and made it seem pretty darn glamorous and spectacular; the online community. I would enthusiastically check their blogs daily and pore over every Instagram photo wanting their perfect lives. I so wanted their white sheets, succulent gardens, and expensive specialty shop baby clothes. I never could master the art of taking the perfect lip shot selfie of my pouty, pink lips. But I sure as heck tried.
Then one day the realization hit me. Keeping up that facade is exhausting. Even for these perfect mothers.
As I scrolled through one indistinguishable photo after another, I began to notice the constant complaining. The whimpiness. (Maybe that sounds harsh, but hey, I’m a rugged mountain girl.) The ‘my life is a mess’ throw my hand on my forehead rants, even though their ‘this is me on a bad day’ photos are, well, perfect. I took a huge step back and told myself, enough. I am nothing like these women. For starters, I am almost ten years older than most of them and have more life experience than all of them combined. Why was I looking to them as role models? I love my teal walls and prefer everything in color. I don’t even like white. I rarely eat doughnuts or indulge at Starbucks. My sheets are brown. My floors get vacuumed once a week. I shop at the Salvation Army. And maybe I’m just lucky, but no tears have been shed because I’m a tired mother or just because Opal and I have had one of “those” days. But that’s just me.
I am certainly not saying they are wrong and I am right here. Or that anyone is better than any other. These mothers have my full support. We are all in this together, after all. My point here is, it is all too easy to become caught up in the ‘highlight reels’ of social media. We start comparing ourselves and our lives to others, forget who we are, then we get down in the dumps and want to buy white Ikea sheets because those moms that have white sheets appear to have it all together. They appear to have the perfect house, or clothes, or husband, or kids. They appear to be living a life you could only dream of. On social media, people only show us what they want us to see. That’s not me. I certainly don’t have it all together. Okay, I may have the perfect husband and kid. But my point here being, have the courage and boldness to be yourself! Show people the real you. Show your not perfectly posed and edited good days. Show your bad days. Show your messy kitchen and unfolded laundry in the background. Be you. In the end, after all, that’s what makes life . . . . . perfect.