As moms, it seems we’re always under pressure to be perfect, flawless. Everywhere we turn, we’re being criticized for doing something wrong (like when new mom Chrissy Teigen went to dinner without her baby) or for not being good enough (like when our partners come home and wonder why the laundry and the dishes weren’t done). But moms are starting to stand up and say, “Enough!,” choosing instead to show us what being a mom is really like.
This Mother’s Day, Kendra Wilkinson Baskett shattered the rose-colored window with a double whammy. She chose to share a photo on Instagram of her stretch-marked and wrinkled belly, the result of carrying two babies. She said, “Look what my 2 babies did… they made me happy.” (The photo has since been taken down).
She continued the revolt on her Instagram account, sharing a flashback photo of her baby Alijah’s first week of life, when Baskett had mastitis (which has also mysteriously been removed since press-time).
Baskett deserves a standing ovation for her Instagram posts. The myth that motherhood is all rainbows and butterflies is not only unrealistic and untrue, it’s actively harming mothers. In the aftermath of having a baby, we shouldn’t expect — or be expected — to be perfect. “Losing our baby weight” isn’t possible for everyone and, for others, it may happen slowly. Having babies forever changes our bodies, and that’s OK. Baskett reminds us of that.
Not only that, motherhood isn’t always glamorous. While, yes, sometimes it looks adorable toting two kidlets in matching outfits to the park, the truth is that the day-to-day reality is not Pinterest-worthy. We may run out of the house in mismatched shoes or have forgotten to shower for a week. None of those things make us a failure, nor do they make us a bad mom. They make us human, which is wonderful.
We need more celebrities to break from the lie. Gwyneth Paltrow’s perfection looks enviable, but we need to remember that it’s all a facade, and one she achieves with a whole lot of help (and a little bit of staging). When famous folks pull back the curtain and show us their imperfections as mothers, it helps us have compassion for our flaws, too. It gives us permission to mess up.
But we don’t need celebrities to shatter the myth for us. It helps, sure (Celebrities: They’re Just Like Us!), but we can do it all by ourselves. And the more of us that post pictures of our kids with our piles of laundry in the background, or share selfies with unwashed hair and dark under-eye circles, the more we give our friends permission to do the same.
Shattering “the good mother myth,” as Avital Norman Nathman calls it, can start with us, in our homes, our mom groups and on our social media pages. Having celebrities lead the way is great, but we can start a revolution all on our own.
So moms, stop feeling like you have to stage your photos. Stop feeling like you can only share the glamorous parts of parenthood. Because all of it is worth celebrating — the good, the bad and the ugly.
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