Scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I decided to check out the hashtag, “motherhood.” It was everything I thought it would be: babies sleeping peacefully on their mother’s flat postpartum bellies, children laughing as they run through sprinklers and lick perfectly swirled ice-cream cones, the sun setting behind smiling mothers and toddlers clad in matching outfits. The photos are clean and mess free, full of smiles and daydreams, perfect lighting and one-off shots. It’s not real and yet, according to Instagram, this is what “mom life” looks like.
It’s a definition that’s gotten a little twisted along the way – one that I, myself, am guilty of contributing to. My living room floor is currently a maze of dirty laundry piles, carrot-muffin crumbs, and crayons. I ate a cookie for breakfast, my toddler watches far too many Paw Patrol episodes, and last week, there was that faint but persistent smell of milk emanating from somewhere deep within my son’s room. But if you look through my Instagram, you’ll notice that I have never posted a photo of any of that. After all, who wants to look at reality when we can carefully craft fiction?