Motherhood

Confessions of a First Time Mom #5

Motherhood & Instagram

Anyone who has spent any time on social media knows that it is can be a dangerous place. Social media can create, harbor, and intensify feelings of insecurity, self-loathing, depression, jealousy, etc. I thought that as a I got older and moved into new life stages that letting social media affect my state of mind would be a thing of the past, but it turns out it just continues to follow me regardless of what stage of life I am in.

The truth – according to social media – is that there will always be someone doing “it” better than me.

The truth – in reality – is that everyone is struggling in some way.

And even though I know the truth that nobody is perfect and everybody has issues and blah blah blah… seeing those perfectly curated pictures and captions is triggering. Because to me, it is dishonest.

When I was pregnant with Hazel, I found myself in a deep Instagram rabbit hole of having followed all of these Instagram moms. During pregnancy, these moms seemed so cool, so neat, so beautiful, so put together. I thought that was what motherhood was going to be like. But after having Hazel, I quickly realized that these motherhood lifestyles were fake. It took me a long time to admit to myself that looking at these women’s posts was unhealthy and not doing me any favors. It took me even longer to unfollow them [I’m still holding on to a couple and I feel like it’s just to torture myself].

These motherhood lifestyles are unattainable for the average mom. Why? Because we aren’t paid to look like we have it all and have it all together. These women advertise these ridiculously expensive baby products that they just love and you just have to have… THAT THEY GOT GIFTED FOR FREE! They create this persona to make you want to be like them, so that you will buy the products they are advertising, so that they get money. It does nothing for you, but instill feelings of inadequacy or guilt because you can’t afford the “best” for your kid, you can barely take a shower much less do your hair and makeup, you can barely keep your eyes open… the list goes on. They also write these posts about how absolutely incredible pregnancy and motherhood is and how wonderful their children are and how easy it all is. It’s nonsense.

I’ve managed to remove most of these profiles from my Instagram which has helped a lot! It might seem stupid, but following influencers is an easy trap to fall into to affect your mental health. Now that Hazel is a toddler, I have begun searching for parenting advice, communication advice, eating advice – just looking for lots of opinions and thoughts on different subjects, so that I could figure out what I wanted to implement. I started finding much healthier accounts to follow. Parenting accounts that honestly portray motherhood and create a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Some of my favorite accounts right now:

I still have a long way to go in having a healthy relationship with social media. I’ve contemplated getting rid of it altogether, but I think it has some benefits if I could just get my mental health under control. But as a mom, the comparison game is strong, especially in those first few postpartum months, so for me, it’s important to pay attention to what I am focusing on.

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Picture Not So Perfect

In six days, I will be on a plane headed to Portland, Oregon to begin our annual epic road trip. This year, Jeremiah and I will be road tripping from Portland to Los Angeles. Without stops it will be a total of 21 hours and 45 minutes and I couldn’t be more excited to hit the road!

Our first stop is Portland and we will be there for two days. I have a list of all the places I want to check out, sights I want to see, food I want to eat, and activities I want to do, but a couple weeks ago Jeremiah and I were offered a pretty cool opportunity. One of Jeremiah’s co-workers has a sister who is a photographer who just so happens to be in Portland the same days we are and she offered to photograph us for a discounted rate.

At first I was crazy excited about this offer. What a cool way to remember our trip and get some great pictures of us to hang up and cherish. But after a few days of researching locations, poses, and outfits, I’m lacking in the excitement department.

When looking up potential poses and outfits, I naturally hit up Pinterest. Pinterest can be such a helpful tool, but sometimes I find it to be a buzz kill. I created a board and started saving all of my inspiration. I was getting some great ideas until I found the perfect picture that was exactly the look I wanted to create.

The woman’s outfit was just what I was looking for from color to style. I started googling where I could find a similar skirt and sure enough all the ones I found were $50 to $600. Yep, you saw that right! I expanded my search to include dresses. Of course I fell in love with one that was just out of my price range. I tried to convince myself to just buy it, but I couldn’t do it. What if it didn’t fit? What if I couldn’t get it tailored in time? What shoes would go with it? The red flags just started poring in, not to mention all of the things I could buy for the price.

I chose not to buy it, but my excitement was officially crushed. I had gotten my heart set on this one look and now I am convinced it isn’t going to happen. Well when I get into a bad mood, I just keep spiraling. Now the negative thoughts just keep rolling in. I’m not photogenic enough. I don’t have enough time to find two outfits. The pictures aren’t going to turn out good anyway. I own so many clothes, but nothing looks good.

I’ve subdued most of the negative thoughts for the moment by bribing myself with shopping tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find something with all the Fourth of July sales going on. Fingers crossed I can stay positive and keep an open mind!

| Lauren

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My Struggle with the Little Green Monster

Jealousy is a form of hatred built upon insecurity. -Unknown

Growing up, I was taught the Ten Commandments; therefore, I was taught not to covet what my neighbor has, which translates to not being jealous of those around you. Back then, I had that one in the bag. I always worked really hard at being grateful and satisfied for the things that I had and I was. I didn’t wear designer clothes or drive a new car… I grew up in a middle income family – my parents always made sure we had what we needed, but we definitely didn’t live in luxury, but this ingrained a sense of pride in what I did have and caused me to take pride in what I had. I don’t regret that for a second.

I feel that my struggle with jealousy began when I went to college. My issue isn’t with material things, but rather idealistic things such as friends and relationships. I feel like I have trouble connecting with people, so I end up isolating myself and convincing myself I’m happy to be alone when really I’m super jealous of other people’s friendships. I think social media plays a big role in my struggle, because instead of seeing authentic day to day lives, I see the fake “instagram” pic parts of people’s lives and forget to remind myself that isn’t real.¬†What frustrates me the most is that I don’t want to feel jealous. I like my life and am so proud of where I am now: married to an amazing man; a college grad with a job; saving to buy a house; the cutest happiest pets… the list goes on.

I have realized that due to my struggle with jealousy, I have started developing some shame. I dealt with shame a few years back, but managed to get passed it, but now I have shame for a whole other reason. Now I feel shame for having to try to be happy for people instead of just automatically being happy. It sickens me that I deal with this. I know deep down I’m not the only one to have a jealous thought, but I just really want to work on being genuine and my natural thought being a positive one.

The image at the top is a bit extreme, but fairly true. I don’t believe that I hate those I am jealous of nor do I hate myself due to the jealousy, but I do feel that jealousy stems from insecurity. Everyone is insecure – I believe that with my whole heart, but some are better at overcoming it and being happy and natural with who they are. One of the things I am currently working on is being comfortable in my own skin and my own personality. I think this will help me to have thoughts that stem from happiness instead of from my insecurity.