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Get Real

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GetReal_MeghanEsauA few days ago, Meghan Esau posted this picture via her Instagram feed. The caption read:

Lots of talk about people being fake on Instagram and Facebook. Here’s the dirty laundry I have been avoiding. If you have seen me in the past week and I was rocking sweats, this is why! #getreal #laundry

Thanks to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and the like, we are constantly faced with perfection or at least the perception of it. But the truth is, those perfect pictures are not an accurate reflection of the reality of our days. From piles of laundry to greased-backed pony tails, well-worn yoga pants to sticky children who haven’t bathed for a few days, the truth is that we don’t live in perfection. And we shouldn’t attempt to. Yet to the detriment of modern mothers, social media streams and cultural expectations seem to tell us that perfection is the standard we should all be shooting for. The result? Mothers feel pressured to live up to an unrealistic standard. They feel like failures when they can’t achieve that standard. Therefore, they are embarrassed and feel an even greater sense of isolation, thinking they are alone.

But the truth is, we all have piles of laundry plaguing our homes. We have all walked around with spit-up stained shirts at some point, too tired to care and too unmotivated to change. We have all let the dust collect for weeks on end because, some days, the only tasks that are accomplished include feeding and changing the baby. So why do we still feel alone?

During a recent focus group, Alicia, a mother of two little ones, talked about how alone she has felt because her reality doesn’t match what she sees on Facebook:

It’s important to share the bad parts you’re not proud of. All others see is the façade. On Facebook, it’s like “everything is great and I love my family.” But we need to share the moments where the house is falling apart. I didn’t want anyone to help because I didn’t want them to see that I was a hot mess.

UnexpectantGetRealIn the post “A Pact: Show Some Blood, Sweat and Tears,” I discussed the trend of women to being perfectly coiffed in delivery room photos instead of showing the in-the-moment reality of what we look like after birthing a baby. Now I want to take it a step further. To show solidarity and reality, if you are an Instagrammer, post an unperfect picture with the hashtag #UnexpectantGetReal. Do the same on Twitter and Facebook, and tag us as you do so. This is a challenge to be honest and real with one another. Whether it’s a pic of a messy house, a tantrumming toddler or an uncoiffed pic of yourself, show some reality.

As you do so, consider: How could perceptions of motherhood change if we were more open about the realities of motherhood instead of getting sucked into striving for unattainable perfection? How could more pictures like Meghan’s have helped you along your journey to and through motherhood?

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