the reality of an instagram mom

a year ago today, i posted a photo of me in a denim dress with a hat and my rain boots. i posted that photo per usual, because i’d been getting requests from family and friends to see my baby bump. i noticed though it got more engagement than normal. andddd thats how it all started. the “instagram mom” thing, that is. at that time, i had been considering the blogging thing for a while but wasn’t convinced just yet. but being an instagram mom was never my intentions. i had a few inspirations at the time. i had looked up to these moms for the longest time, i followed them daily, liked their photos and even bought some of the same things that they had because they looked so damn cute! not in the creepy/stalker way (because its not stalking if its on social media, right?!) but in a genuine, inspirational way.

the edited

the reality

so after i posted that photo, i thought, “maybe i CAN be that insta mom!” so, that’s where it began. then shortly after, Minding Mulloy came to life. it all happened so fast, i totally didn’t expect it. day after day, id try to find things and places to take photos. i’d try to dress my kid up in the best, most coordinating outfit because that’s what instagram moms do, right? the most unrealistic situation possible. but it gets the most likes and engagement, yeah? and then it happened. i started feeling a sense of dissatisfaction after each and every post. WHY?! because you constantly feel that you have to live up to the insta mom expectation.

here is the reality. people don’t want to see average photos. the human eye doesn’t immediately go to the unattractive photos, they go to the pretty, edited ones. so naturally, thats what you feel that you have to post. if you want higher engagement or likes, anyway. it is an exhausting process that you have NO IDEA what you are getting yourself into when you enter into this “world”. the hair, the makeup, the outfits, the kid bribery, the editing, the right times to post, the replying to every comment, etc. i’m exhausted just typing that sentence!

same shirt, different day

so why do we do it? most days, i ask myself this question 50 times. a major pro to it is the people that i have met along the way. before this “insta mom” gig, i literally stayed at home all day, everyday. that was my life. sweats and my husbands t shirt. not even kidding. i had nice clothes, because i’ve always had a thing for style, but they were worn veryyyy few times a month. i’ve met the coolest people. some i can see being friends with for life. the sweetest souls around. the most generous, brave, kind and hilarious human beings. and for that, i am so freaking grateful. yes, we get free stuff. thats a huuuuge pro also.

the reality of taking a photo with a toddler

the cons are unbearable sometimes though. the mom shaming, the guilt, the comparing, the shit talking, the assumptions and the friendships that are ruined from it are depressing. and i have felt each one of these myself, multiple times. i found myself not actually being myself anymore. i started doing this for other peoples’ entertainment, not my own.  i was just another “pretty square” on instagram portraying the most unrealistic situation possible. it should be required to show a video of the “behind the scenes” of every photo because i think that allllll the moms would not only appreciate it but also feel better about their own lives because guess what, YOU are normal. which leads me to my next point, never, i repeat, NEVER compare yourself to someone else on instagram. i’ve been there, and i still catch myself doing it to this day. there are instagram moms that i follow that make me feel like i have nothing (not on purpose), now how ridiculous does that sound?! i never want to make anyone feel this way about themselves, because its a sucky feeling, for sure.

anyways, you just get to a point where enough is enough. i’m all about lifting other moms up, and “uniting in motherhood”. we don’t do that by posting unrealistic photos of ourselves and acting as if my child smiles in every single one or pretending that it doesn’t take 3 hours to get ready for one photo shoot. just typing this out is one of the most embarrassing things i’ve ever done. WHAT have i been doing all of this time?! most of you might be surprised by learning that i’ve been paid for mayyybeeee 3 collaborations on here. all of the rest are an even product exchange. i don’t do this for income supplementation, i am blessed because i don’t have to (this is where i think the whole insta mom gig goes south). i love getting new things for the kids and i love interacting with genuine people. period.

messy house, dirty carpet. but my kids are laughing with each other and THIS is real life.

i’m not perfect. i struggle on a daily basis. i wear sweat pants, no bra and a messy bun with flyaways galore 6 out of 7 days a week. i yell at my kid, i barely sleep, i look forward to my glass of wine (or 2) every night, i sometimes forget when i last showered, i have body image issues, i get anxiety, and i care too much about what others think.

but i also am a mom, a wife, i’m human, i love my kids more than life, i’m happy and i work on myself daily to be a better person.

i wanted to share this with you all because this is real life. this is the good. the bad. the ugly. i just want moms to know that what you are doing is unbelievable, raising babies, you are doing an amazing job. regardless of your situation, you are an outstanding mom and i applaud you because it is the hardest job in the world, hands down. and clouding your brain with the “pretty squares” like thats a normal day in the life of me isn’t fair, but don’t pay attention to it. just keep being you, raising those geniuses that are going to make our future that much more bright!

i want to take a second to clarify that i am in NO way hating on or bashing the “instagram mom” community. in fact, as stated above, some of the best girls come from this community. i am inspired by so many of them and just because they do have those pretty squares, does NOT mean in any way, shape or form that they are being fake. i actually applaud those who have stuck with this and continue to move forward and succeed. it makes my heart so happy! as for me, i still plan on doing my “thing” but i promise to throw in those real life images every once in a while just to keep it real. i personally love a pretty feed, hence why i love following a ton of other insta moms/bloggers, but its definitely nice to see a reminder of reality every so often!

XOXO,

Lauren

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7 Comments

  1. Lauren, you are so inspirational! This post is EVERYTHING! My son is 3 months old and I found your blog on IG the last month or so of my pregnancy. Your hospital bag post was super helpful for me and seeing your journey to become a blogger or “insta mom” has inspired me so much because blogging is something I’ve always wanted to do. Just know for every self doubting thought you may have there’s at least 10 of us watching who think you’re amazing and are inspired by what you put out. The good, the bad, the real and the pretty. Keep doing you, sister. It’s a beautiful thing!

  2. Laura Alston

    Lauren,

    I am inspired and enjoy reading your blogs. I knew you’d be great mommy from the day I saw you as young girl cradling your Lee Middleton baby doll as you walked up Toddsbury Lane in Ashland. You keep doing you, because you are doing an amazing job. You do it with beauty, style, and grace and the realness is loved.

    Kudos!!

  3. Ashley

    This is so perfect. I felt like I was comparing myself to all the pretty pregnant ladies with style when I just felt like a slob with a huge tummy. I loved my bump and now that I’m one month PP with my beautiful daughter I don’t care that I don’t have the style and pictures on Instagram like the ladies I follow. I am me, and I love following other moms besucae they give me advice and they show me real life ! Your blog is so on point. Keep doing you momma!!

  4. I just found you because of this post and I love that you say all of this! I have also spent HOURS getting ready for posts, WAY tooo many hours to count and it’s embarrassing. Here’s to more real posts. I am following you on Insta now and can’t wait to see more!

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