I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. My family might (certainly will) even call me a bit anal. Although, I’ve never been perfect looking (my nose is just a bit too big, my legs are a bit too chunky, etc.), I love when things look just right – a photograph that has nice balance, a color scheme goes together well, food plated in a way that makes it look even more delicious. Even with all of that, the perfection on Instagram can put me to shame, especially among the mom accounts.
You’ve seen the gorgeous mom Instagram feeds – the homes, the kids, the moms themselves. It honestly makes me feel incredibly subpar in my life. Not only are these accounts too impressive for words, but the moms are nice! They prop each other up and accept the differences that exist in a way that makes me wonder if everyone is on happy pills. Exclamation points are the main form of punctuation, kissy face emoticons are splattered across comments and the word, “Love,” is used so often that you really start to believe that everyone loves EVERYTHING.
It’s an entire support system in the palm of your hands. I can support with the best of them, but I just don’t think I’m perfect enough to be one of these moms. Here’s why:
1. My house just isn’t that pretty
Have you ever noticed how many of the houses on Instagram look exactly like the pictures you see in between the pages of Real Simple? And I’m not talking about the accounts that come from Real Simple or Better Homes and Gardens. I mean real people accounts. How do these women do this? Their houses are beautiful and always on trend. I feel like I must be missing some design gene because no matter how hard I try, my house just looks a bit off. My kids have an obsession with doing things like hanging on curtains, weighing down on one side of the rod until it is crooked in the wall. My tables have water stains and are all scratched up from our dog and forks being dragged across them. The couch has some spots on it that I cover with blankets or pillows when guests come over. I only have fresh flowers on display maybe three times a year (Christmas, the first warm day of spring and Mother’s Day) and the “rustic” wood doesn’t look that good after a few, misplaced stickers. Not to mention, my husband will probably divorce me if I keep changing things each second the design trends change.
2. My house isn’t that clean.
This is really a subset of point one, but seriously! These ladies all have kids! How are their homes so immaculate? Looking around my office right now, here is what I see:
- A Frozen book on the floor
- Coloring book pages on the couch
- An M&Ms wrapper on my desk (Okay, this one is totally me.)
- The insoles of my running shoes thrown about because my daughter likes to use them as skis
- A Paw Patrol vehicle, tissue paper, an empty picture frame and a magnet on the coffee table
- A napkin (non-used) on the arm of the couch
I’m just trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong here. And let’s not even get me started on the kitchen or the family room. I’m going to pretend all these women have live-in maids so I don’t feel as bad. I applaud these ladies for being able to keep their places so spotless with kids. It really is some sort of miracle. I feel like drinking has to be involved.
3. I don’t look good making weird faces in selfies
Duck lips, surprised faces, smiles with my mouth half open – I fail at looking cute doing any of these things. I’ve tried. Really I have, but I just look weird. It’s all unflattering on me. Even if I take it on an angle from above, I look like a crazy person. And I’m pretty sure if someone saw me doing it they would wonder what the hell I was doing. So, instead, I just smile and hope for the best. But I really envy the mommies out there that can take a good selfie with a weird face and still look fantastic. It’s seriously a talent. I applaud you.
4. I think words like squad, tribe and pod are weird
There. I said it. I’m not really sure if this started on Instagram, but it certainly seems like the social network heightened it. I’m pretty sure it’s the visuals these words conjure up that make me hesitant to use them, let alone embrace them.
Squad – I was a cheerleader in high school so every time I see the word I have a flashback to scrunchies, short skirts and bodysuits giving me wedgies. It just makes me think mean girls, even though I know the groups of women are not specifically mean. Here is the definition that comes up on Google for Squad:
- a small group of people having a particular task. – “an assassination squad”
- small number of soldiers assembled for drill or assigned to some special task, especially an infantry unit forming part of a platoon. – “an elite reconnaissance squad”
- a group of sports players or competitors from which a team is chosen.
Even the dictionary thinks this means you should be playing some sport or be part of something lethal.
Tribe – This one makes me feel like I should be running around the Amazon half naked with body paint on. I promise, no one wants to see that.
Pod – I image the pod in the pool from the movie Cocoon every time I hear this. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. If you have never seen this movie, then I am way too old and you need to look it up. Honestly, it is the wrong reference since “Pod people” is a nickname that was given to the aliens in the novel, “The Body Snatchers.” Either way, the idea is still the same: creepy, alien, pod person.
I get why the #momsofinstgram are using these words. They are a group of woman banded together to form some sort of mutually beneficial relationship. But, can’t we just be friends? Do we have to give the friendship a marketing spin? It’s lingo I just can’t get behind.
5. I can’t rock the mom bun
I’ve never understood how to get that perfect mom bun or “top knot.” I’ve actually spent a half hour trying to get my bun to look good. HALF AN HOUR. That’s like five years in mom time. My first problem is that I can’t get it high enough on my head. No matter how long my hair is, it just doesn’t stay up there. It just slouches down to the back of my head and that’s where it stays. My second problem is always have hair sticking up in multiple directions and it just doesn’t look good. My third problem is that my hair is thin and even with fake hair, I just cant cut it. I feel like I need a hairdresser to help me out here. I’ve given up on trying to make this happen myself. To the mommies who can get it perfect without actually trying, I’m jealous of your awesome mom hair.
6. Loops of people to follow frustrate me
I don’t mind a small loop of people, but these enormous groups of loops of moms make me a little crazy. They usually happen with giveaways and get so complicated for a mobile app that you inevitably lose track and mess it up, which will disqualifies you from winning whatever the prize was in the first place. It makes me want to go back and unfollow everyone. I’m guessing it’s a squad thing.
7. My kids’ clothing is never perfect.
My kids are generally dressed in superstore clothing because it is as inexpensive as you can get. They’re kids so they get stains on things every damn day. My daughter is constantly getting holes in the knees of her pants. I put a new pair of leggings on her yesterday and by 4 p.m. she had grass stains all over them. She has developed a habit of wiping her hands on herself, even if her napkin is present and in sight. My son spends much of his time army crawling so he is always dragging himself across the floor and he is learning to eat with his fingers. Enough said. Due to these mannerisms, I need to buy them clothing constantly and cannot afford more than $10 per each top and pair of pants. But, I dream about the clothing I see some kids wearing on Instagram. Maybe one day one of the #momsofinstagram will share all their secrets with me and tell me how they get their kids to behave in a manner that allows them to be dressed like little models.
Despite all of this, there are still some ways I can relate. I do have a weird obsession with coffee and a love of wine. I do like to photograph what I’m eating because I think food is awesome. I overgram my messy, imperfect kids because I love them in a way that’s pretty indescribable. I share my photos of my old dog because furbabies make the world a happier place.
At the end of the day, even with all my perfectionist mannerisms in full force, I don’t have it together enough to be a perfect mom of Instagram. I wave my white flag and surrender. But, I can certainly be a real mom of Instagram. My messy house alone can qualify me for that honor. Follow that up with days that don’t include showers, multiple cups of coffee, pre-school bed-wetting and piles of dirty laundry. It can’t get any more real than that.