Like many of you, I enjoy reading blogs and following fellow moms on Instagram. I love looking through their perfectly edited feed, with every picture somehow magically coordinating with the one before it and so on and their blogs seem to be captured by a professional photographer and it is the perfect design and layout. Even before I was remotely close to becoming a mother I followed these gorgeous moms, truly I loved reading their words and seeing their photos! It made me so excited for the day that I would have my own little babe to photograph and just be a mom to, because these ladies made it look so heavenly. Not everything they portray was or is a lie, I will say that, but a large portion of what I expected is not close to the reality of what motherhood truly is.
These past few weeks I have been struggling to keep my cool when it comes to “mom” or “wife” things. Like sweeping the floor, cleaning the kitchen or putting away laundry. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment, it’s not the smallest apartment, but it severely lacks storage so our kitchen has become this hodgepodge of cooking tools, food, baby stuff and the overflow of our single extra closet. I am currently sitting in a living room covered in baby toys with extra furniture sort of tucked into corners or utilized in some weird way (I’m looking at you standing fan on my cute vintage chair). Honestly, my imagination ran wild pre-baby, it was probably the hormones mind you, but I always assumed I would be one of those cute momma’s that only bought their baby stuff off of Etsy and gave them exclusively wooden toys to play with. Minimal bright colors and safari animals and DEFINITELY no talking and generic stuffed animals would be in my home, but wouldn’t ya know it, those are my sons favorite things right now. He just can’t get enough of that darned Elmo singing him the ABC’s or the HUGE bouncing contraption that takes up a quarter of my living room. I mean, my life looks nothing like those beautiful Instagram feeds, it wasn’t like what they told me, not one bit, but honestly, I am in LOVE with it.
So here are some things that as a stay at home momma I have come to realize about what Instagram and blogs didn’t tell me about motherhood:
They didn’t tell me that my baby won’t always want to play with the teether toy I carefully picked out to match his outfits, but they also didn’t tell me that when my baby finally found that toy he loves to play with the look of joy and excitement on his face would make nothing else matter.
They didn’t tell me that my house won’t always be a perfect backdrop for all those Instagram shots, but they also didn’t tell me that it will be the perfect combination of lived in and cozy, and despite all the clutter at the end of the day my hubby and I will love to curl up on the couch with a movie, dodging the toys to find our perfect spot to cuddle.
They didn’t tell me that as a momma you will NOT bounce back to your perfect pre-baby self, that included my body, my hair and my ability to put myself together like I want to, but they also didn’t tell me that despite the chaos of my postpartum body my baby boy will always look to me for security and comfort (no matter what I look like) and my husband’s love for me would only grow (and mine for him).
They didn’t tell me that not all babies sleep all the time, but they also didn’t inform me that yes, I would be tired beyond belief but NOTHING can replace those middle of the night, perfect in every way, nursing sessions and kisses with my little boy.
They didn’t tell me that not every mom will instantly become an internet sensation and start making money through her blog/instagram, but they also didn’t tell me that despite the lack of sponsorship and monetary gain, this space has been such a sweet and precious gift for me to share my heart and my love for my sweet baby boy.
I was not informed that being a stay at home mom also came with a ton of guilt and shame (all self-induced mind you, but there none the less) because I wasn’t a “provider” in the technical sense, but they also didn’t tell me that despite all of those feelings my husband will never stop telling me how needed and necessary I am, and my son’s reaches and smiles are payment enough for the hard work of being a mother.
My life and expectations are two very different things, but they don’t take away from my dreams and hopes. I dream of a house for all of our future babies to run and grow in, and these moments right now are making those future dreams all the sweeter. My hope is that someday I will be able to work from home, doing something that I love, while I love and care for my children. Instagram, and all those beautiful mommas that fill my feed, may have painted a beautiful portrait of motherhood that is not easily achieved (or possibly even real), but I now know that my motherhood moments will look different than others. My motherhood moments are in a semi-messy apartment, with a sweet boy and his cold fingers and toes from crawling around the apartment, nursing in our old lazy boy chair with a cold cup of coffee. And those moments are beautiful and perfect.
What they didn’t tell you is that life doesn’t look like a magazine, but it’s yours and that’s all that matters. You and your loves, whoever they may be, enjoying each other and the perfect space you create for them. Don’t measure yourself in comparison to those around you, but also don’t stop dreaming and loving and creating. Motherhood, like I have said many times before, is no cake walk, but it is the greatest and most worthwhile adventure you can go on. So keep exploring what that looks like for you, and don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed but share openly and freely, because I know that I appreciate that raw honesty more than anything in the world. They didn’t tell me they believed in me, or that I was capable, so here I am, cheering you on, mother to mother. You’ve got this, you are 100% capable and I believe in you.