I’ve noticed a ‘trend’ lately. A lot of the women I follow...creatives, influencers, bloggers...mompreneurs of all sorts...are taking breaks from social media. They’re taking breaks because they’re exhausted. They’ve found that the lifestyle they inadvertently started portraying on social media is unrealistic to maintain. There’s this subconscious need today to make everything look perfect and trendy in order to stay ‘relevant’. Let me break it down in a couple of points:
1) Many have fallen under this pretense that each square in their Instagram grid has to match the look of the last square and every picture has to be masked by a popular and overly-done filter. Personally, I don’t want my Instagram to look like everyone else’s, nor do I want every one of my pictures to match. As a business owner I can understand the benefits to this cohesive style but as a fallible human who has nothing else together in her life I don’t understand the need to make people think I actually do have everything together in my life. If I’m posting a picture of my work it will of course be edited in my editing style but the pictures I take with my phone of my kid and the dog...I edit those with a quick filter that closely relates to my professional editing style but I don’t spend more than a minute editing these. I’m a full-time, 9-5 working mom who also owns a business. And that’s what my grid represents.
2) Our children HAVE to be wearing the most current styles. And every boutique that we got the clothes from must be tagged. I cannot imagine how much time this takes people, on top of editing the picture to cohesively fit with the rest of their grid. It’s not even about name brands like Quiksilver or Vans anymore...it’s about boutiques with store fronts on Instagram. I understand that influencers do this because they are trading the publicity for the products, or whatever arrangement they have with the vendors. But for the rest of us? I just don’t understand it. My kid has a dress code for school and wears Star Wars shirts and jeans that have most likely been handed down from friends. He wears slip on shoes from Walmart. If you want to dress your kid in cute, name brand or boutique clothes, go for it! But do it because you want to, not because you’re trying to stay relevant.
3) The third thing that I’ve seen a lot of is that a lot of women feel like they have to document every trip to Target with Starbucks in hand and then laugh about how they spent $150 when we only went in to buy a $4 item. Some people can laugh about that. Me...I don’t even look in the direction of Starbucks and when I get to the register and the total is $60 more than I thought it would be because, regardless, Target is still Target and it does suck us all in, I have small anxiety attack because that’s money that I will have to take from a different budget. There is no laughing involved. So if money is tight, and Target puts its spell on you, don’t feel like you have to tell the world about it because so-and-so does.
All of this baffles my mind. Some people do these things because they genuinely want to. And that’s great for them. But for everyone else, it just gets exhausting. They’re seeing all of these people posting a certain way about certain things and they see how many likes and followers they have so they think ‘it’s working for her, I can do that, too’. And maybe you can. But at what expense? You lose your sense of identity because you’re trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing when it’s really not a representation of your life at all. No one will think less of you because your grid isn’t consistent, or because your kids wear shoes from Walmart and not from the boutique you found on Instagram, or because you didn’t blow your weekly budget at Target...I personally think more people will relate to you if you’re REAL!!
I’m not saying that I don’t struggle when I’m getting ready to post something but my business style and my lifestyle have always been, and will always continue to be, REAL. I don’t wear makeup so you won’t see a picture of me with any makeup except maybe mascara on. I don’t spend a lot of money on my son’s clothes because he’s going to grow out of them in 4 months. And if I spend too much money at Target I’m usually pretty pissed at myself so I certainly won’t be bragging about it.
The constant need to be liked and to fit in and to do all the things that all of the other supermoms are posting about is more than exhausting...it’s a way for depression and anxiety to form. You can’t possibly keep up with everyone’s lifestyles and when you fall short of what you perceive to be acceptable there are going to be consequences to your psyche. As moms we put enough pressure on ourselves to be a better mom tomorrow than we were today. As women we put enough pressure on ourselves to look a certain way and wear a certain size. I personally have entirely too many other things in my life to stress me out and give me anxiety to let the judgement of people on Instagram contribute to any of it.
You want to know what really makes you a supermom? Telling your kids that you love them. Feeding them. Reading to them. Just being present and spending time with them. They don’t care where you got their clothes or what the picture you’re posting of them looks like. They just care that you’re with them. So let that fuel you, and not the amount of likes from people you don’t know and the amount of followers, most of whom you’ll never even meet.
Haters ‘gon hate regardless of how pretty your highlight reel is. Let them. You do you. Love on the real people who love and support you and don’t give Instagram so much of your brain space. You are enough. Period.
Cover Photo taken by: Heather Papineau Photography
Cover Photo edited by: Me