There is a big difference between what parenthood looks like in real life versus how it appears on social media, especially Instagram. We’ve seen this fake version of parenting so many times that it has become a cliché.
Mom and her children are somewhere beautiful on vacation or in a field with wildflowers in full bloom. Everyone is dressed in matching white linen outfits that are somehow perfectly clean. Mom is wearing a big floppy hat, large sunglasses and looks well-rested.
This may be somebody’s version of fantasy but it sure isn’t real life.
The problem is that when people look at these images they consciously or subconsciously compare themselves to these families and wonder why they seem to be coming up short. In reality, most parents of young children are tired, could use a long shower and are in a living room that looks like a clown moved in.
There are bright-colored bowls and bottles strewn about. Random Legos are embedded in the carpet and a naked dolly with frizzy hair is stashed away in a corner. Being the parent of young kids is all about survival, and appearances are the last thing most have the time or energy to worry about.
Let’s not even get started on the ecological disaster that is the bathroom.
A Twitter user named Amanda injected some much-needed reality into social media on Saturday when she asked a simple question to her followers. “Can we get a realistic mom/parenting photo thread going? No aesthetic filters, no staging - what does the room you’re in look like RIGHT NOW?”
Can we get a realistic mom/parenting photo thread going? No aesthetic filters, no staging - what does the room you\u2019re in look like RIGHT NOW?— amanda \ud80c\udf4a\ud80c\udefc\ud80c\udf4a\ud80c\udefc\ud80c\udf4a (@amanda \ud80c\udf4a\ud80c\udefc\ud80c\udf4a\ud80c\udefc\ud80c\udf4a) 1645927097
She received an outpouring of posts that were photos of the mess, clutter and chaos that accompanies being the parent of a small child. Trashed bathrooms, bedrooms with boxes stacked sky-high, tired parents, toddlers with saggy diapers and lots of toys strewn all over the place.
And the laundry. No one ever has the time to get all the laundry done.
The photos would give most neat freaks apoplexy but they did a great job at showing how most people with young kids actually live. Sure they may clean up the house when they’re having company or act as they have it together on social media, but this is how day-to-day life looks.
It’s great that so many parents were totally fine sharing photos of their mess.
But there’s one thing that is unmistakable about these photos, they’re filled with love.
Here are some of the most real photos that Amanda received after asking what people's lives look like “RIGHT NOW.” If you have a small child and your house is a disaster, these photos should make you feel less alone.
Here’s my bathroom, and it’s been like this for days. I just have no energy to clean up. It’s not too bad, but it feels better knowing others aren’t perfect too. I’m tired of unrealistic expectations to keep a spotless home, home cooked meals every day & somehow entertain kids pic.twitter.com/jm9ncespGW— amanda 𓍊𓋼𓍊𓋼𓍊 (@alkellzz) February 27, 2022
I have homework that’s due tonight that I haven’t even gotten halfway through. I’m still in pajamas. pic.twitter.com/nr0WHadDOc— em🦖 (80%) (@_emilyhayes23) February 27, 2022
Video still but this is my living room every day. I’m working on knowing it’s okay for my house to look like a toddler lives here pic.twitter.com/PH9WSjDXMt— Queen Mama ✨ (@livie_bri2015) February 27, 2022
my living room currently lmao and it’s usually much worse by the end of the day every day pic.twitter.com/s6oM2NU9D1— abby 🌙 (@craycraymer) February 27, 2022
The struggle is real. Takes about 10 minutes to go from totally clean to chaosville. pic.twitter.com/m1lSjf4GAn— Hali Hoag (@Aitchess55) February 27, 2022
He's always taking pics too send to his mom in our messy bedroom 😊 pic.twitter.com/lwMHbLmgyP— Adri Marie Santos (@LoveUrLunchLady) February 27, 2022
I am trying. The kitchen is my least favorite place to clean. But you can see I'm brewing some coffee lol. pic.twitter.com/kldDQwb2Us— Freshly Expired (@Freshly_Expired) February 27, 2022
I have arrived to make everyone else feel better about their homes. pic.twitter.com/e7NGcRGLdO— Ms. Faintly Macabre (@mer_hartley) February 28, 2022
Toys, French fries, and chips all over the floor. They’re happy, so I’ll just clean it later lmaoooo pic.twitter.com/98Afln9LAQ— bonnie (@bonaldd) February 28, 2022
Here ya go!— Kendrisite (@Kendrisite) February 28, 2022
I never use filters in my photos, as filters annoy me. <3 pic.twitter.com/WeFcZobYJ6
Laundry day and love 💗 pic.twitter.com/6BqrTiAygV— Sylvia Lozada (@syllysal) February 28, 2022
After scrolling through those photos, don’t you feel a bit better about yourself? Just know that doing your best doesn’t look like a family decked out in matching linen staring at sunset on Waikiki Beach. Nope. It looks like a stack of laundry on a La-Z-Boy chair, a carpet that’s littered with Legos and love, lots and lots of love.
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