The lull of Instagram… the woodsy children in their homespun clothes gathering acorns and holding them up in a beautiful room with moody wood and quaint, floral accents. I’m addicted to that perfected image of motherhood. I want to join the cult of filters and props that speak of a simple, rustic, and slow moving life. My own Instagram is an amateur’s attempt at cultivating that dreamlike feel of parenthood. Ladies, this may come as a surprise, but it’s all bullshit.
Alright, alright, to be fair, It may not be bullshit for 3% of the Instagram accounts that I follow. I choose to believe that a very small handful depict real life… sort of. These few seem like they actually do own a whole bunch of land that their children run on carefree, and they really did make those adorable little clothes, but for the rest of us shmucks, we’re simply displaying an ideal of a life that just doesn’t exist.
That doesn’t mean you should stop with your beautiful imagery and your Instagram march to maternal perfection. I love your pictures and your message, though I find the constant ‘inspirational quotes’ under impossibly perfect circumstances somewhat annoying, But I do enjoy gorgeous photos with little insights into your lovely lives. I just need to remind myself that because my feed is not as rustic and moody as yours, it doesn’t make me any less of a mother.
Now, now, I know you’re not making these beautiful Instagram feeds at me. I realize this is a lingering guilt that moms can feel when faced with observed fantasy vs. their reality. I understand that I could be seen as a casualty of the ‘mommy wars’ which I have loudly proclaimed to be complete and utter garbage created merely to make women feel bad about themselves as mothers when women already feel bad about themselves for a thousand other reasons.
I know all this, and yet, I still strive for the photo that will show the wonderment of little bear’s childhood. I want people to look at the pictures I post and think I’ve got this mom thing down and how lucky my kid must be with a mom like that. How beautiful that child is in his perfect onesie with his perfect background. This may come as a surprise to no one, but I am a people pleaser. Even people I’ve never met.
Just remember moms, even the most beautiful accounts hide perfectly ugly moments like the rest of us. For every picture those women are posting, there’s a hundred others they aren’t that show their kid having a breakdown, setting fire to those hand-knit woolen britches, or chasing the sheep with a stick instead of adorably feeding it apples.
That has to count for something, right?
Oh, and just so you don’t think I’m cultivating an honest Instagram image either, that picture I took of little bear with the bonsai on my Instagram? Directly after I snapped that photo he slid sideways and that tiny sword fern went right into his eyeball. His eyeball was fine. He was not fine. There was much shrieking, and much holding him and feeling like the worst mom in the entire world. I swore off Instagram right then and there until after he was his happy, cooing self again (roughly twenty seconds later) and I took a look at the photo and thought it was so mind-blowingly adorable that it would be a disservice not to share it with my followers.
It’s a sickness! But damn, if it ain’t a fun one.