Sometimes I feel like I write two blogs: this one that you’re reading now (which started as a wedding blog and has organically transformed into a little-bit-of-everything blog) and my instagram feed. I still try to share as much wedding-related content as I can here on Oh Lovely Day, but my instagram feed is my life. That means it is mostly my kids and motherhood-related posts. But it is my real life, my daily journal really, and I try to be as real as possible. It’s a balance between blogger/creative and momma/wife/work-from-home-mom/hot mess. The blogger in me loves styling a photo, sharing pretty things, putting my boys in cute matching tees and instagraming a picture. The mom in me has a messy house, dirty hair, no makeup on, and am probably in workout pants without actually working out. I’ve gotten quite a lot of mom followers on instagram, and sometimes it can be a nice little community where I ask a question about something I’m struggling with or share my favorite tips or products. And since I’ve had another baby and taken a little time away from this blog, instagram has allowed me to stay connected with my readers and my little community.
The downside to instagram (blog reading) is that sometimes you see the edited versions of people’s lives. At the very least you might only see the highlights. Everything looks perfect from the outside. I try really hard not to only share the highlights. I might share that my two month old slept eight hours one night, but three days later he barely sleeps at all – so I try share that too. And the main reason I share that he slept through the night in the first place is that as a second child, I don’t have time to write his milestones down. Instagram is like his baby book, and luckily there are ways to print those photos and captions now so it literally IS his baby book. If I didn’t instagram something, it wouldn’t get documented at all. But I really do try to keep it real. Sometimes though, I realize maybe I haven’t. Maybe things look better or easier than they really are.
An instagram follower emailed me last week and it affected me. I asked her if I could share the email here because I think it is something many of us feel and is good to put out in the open. So here it is:
I follow you on Instagram. I wanted to let you know…..I admire you! I’m a new Mom & First time Mom. I’m a sleep deprived, body aches, nipples hurting, working, hungry (no time to cook a whole meal) new Mom, but You give me hope that this will all get easier. I read how well you breast feed, change Calvin to all these cute outfits all the time and decorate their rooms and you make it look so easy….meanwhile I’m dying. My boy doesn’t sleep thru the night, we struggle with breast feeding and my milk supply goes up and down. The day I had to begin supplementing with formula…I felt like a loser.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you to keep doing what you do….because I see you & you give me hope.
Thanks so much & see you on Instagram 🙂
This was my response:
I sooooo appreciate your taking the time to send me that email. First, thanks so much for your kind words – made my weekend! Secondly, I owe you an apology because if I make this look easy, I must not be being honest. It is so NOT easy for me. And my first time around it was so overwhelmingly hard I’m surprised I wanted to do it again. Part of why I blog and Instagram is to share that, because I didn’t see anyone saying “I’m struggling, this is hard” etc. when I was a new mom. I have shared some posts on days I was really struggling. I’ve cried out of exhaustion and frustration many times the last 2 months. I usually try to talk about it with a little humor but it isn’t easy for me, I promise. And I had to supplement my first baby with formula since day 1. He got more formula than breast milk b/c my supply was so low due to a thyroid disorder and I felt the same way. And I had postpartum depression. I was so hard on myself. And you know what? He didn’t get his first cold until 11 months and his first ear infection until he was 3. He’s a smart, healthy, happy boy. And I’m just lucky about the sleep thing – I do nothing special. Every baby is so different. Hang in there! We all have it hard and struggle but it does get better and easier.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. I wish I could go back and tell my first time mom self that. You’re doing great, your baby will be fine, and everything will get easier. It will pass. I promise.
My kids and I don’t go on picturesque picnics on mexican blankets. I don’t make uber-healthy lunches using all organic ingredients. I don’t even cook dinner every night. Or every other night. I don’t keep my child perfectly entertained without the assistance of the television or iPad. Calvin nurses well because it came easy. If it hadn’t, I would have had NO problem giving him formula and calling it a day. I’m 20 lbs overweight and hate it. But I don’t have time or energy to do anything about it most days. My husband and I haven’t had a date in three months. And I’m tired. So tired. I wish everything I did was blog or instagram worthy, but it just isn’t. And if it were, it is only because blogging is currently my job. Moms with regular 9-5 jobs or who are SAHMs and aren’t bloggers should not and cannot expect to keep up with that. That’s what it is like to live in LA – I walk around looking like a regular person amongst all of these beautiful and skinny actresses. I have to remember that so-and-so lost her baby weight in 2 months because it is her job. And she has the resources at her disposal to do so (a nanny, a personal trainer, a plastic surgeon, etc.). She gets paid to look like that. It is not realistic for us regular gals. And we can’t hate ourselves because we can’t keep up.
I just wanted to share that. We are all doing our best. But we all have hard days. Another instagram follower once commented that we shouldn’t compare our behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. I love that. Just remember that all those people you follow on instagram or on blogs are real people. They have ups and downs, feelings, and hard days. No one is perfect. Let’s take it easy on each other. Let’s take it easy on ourselves.
PS – My experience with postpartum depression.