Why I Don’t Want Mom Influencers to Get Real

A couple months ago, a rally cry went into the Mom Instagram-sphere for Influencers and bloggers to be more “real.” To forgo posting about their neat-as-a-pin countertops, their well-behaved children in vintage bloomers, and their glowing skin and shiny hair, in an effort to decrease the comparison that happens so often when women consume social media. To make their social media channels a space for “positivity” and connection.

And so, in the endless scroll of perfectly curated squares, it seemed like some of our favorite Instagrammers were about to engage in a seismic shift. Would readers finally see the Mom Behind The Instagram Curtain, um, Filter? The answer was: of course not.

Going through the feeds of some of the popular Mom Instagrammers apparently “embracing” this trend, I saw some posts as honest and raw as a Hallmark card. One Mom Influencer posts herself as a young bride with her young groom, radiant and doe-eyed with a caption like: “marriage is hard, you guys. We’ve been married a long time, and it takes work.” Um. Yes. That is true. Thank you for your honest and real photo of yourself airbrushed on your wedding day, before it got hard.

Another Mom Influencer posts an Insta Story to point out (#realtalk) the pimple she woke up with. It will be live for a total of 24 hours and will never even make it into her curated squares.

I continue to dig. But Instagram Moms seem to be afraid to actually reveal, well, anything. “I had THAT kind of day today,” or “my kid had a bad tantrum,” they say, captioning a photo from a family photo shoot in a field of daisies. Then they ask their readers questions about their own vulnerability (way to pass the hot potato). Yawn.

The truth is, I’m relieved. And so is the general public. From what I can gather from the comments, engaged fans keep on engaging. Yup, prayer hands and hearts for days.

The truth is, we WANT them to look perfect. We follow their perfect feeds. We like their perfect posts. We comment, we emote, we share with our friends. It’s not them. It’s us.

It wasn’t always like that. In my early years of pregnancy and mom life, the Internet was filled with “motherhood from the frontlines” blogs that really got into the down and dirty sides of motherhood. It felt like there truly was a village out there, of other women fighting the good fight against cloth diapers that just didn’t cut it if your baby had a blowout. Being authentic on the social media channels available to us at the time was the norm. (I show my age.)

But, as Sarah Pulliam Baily describes in detail in her viral article for the Wall Street Journal, “How the Mom Internet Became A Spotless, Sponsored Void”, eventually those honest mom blogs mostly disappeared thanks to a number of factors, from financial (ads, sponsored content) to the way that audiences were consuming media (on smaller devices, shorter posts).

One could even say that the pendulum shifts in the opposite direction when it comes to the tone of how motherhood is portrayed on social media: There was a time, we demanded gritty content; and after a while, the pendulum swung towards spotless in response. Now that everything is whitewashed, we want to see the sticky couch stains again. Except we actually don’t.

Of course, there are Instagram Moms out there whose brands are all about being raw and honest, and who always have been – you know, the moms who have been (and keep on) posting pumping photos, writing about how they really feel about their postpartum bodies, showing their scars, and their messy living rooms. Some Instagram Moms do this really well. But Instagram would probably die if it was just used for posting relatable, if not sometimes depressing, pictures of real life.

Of course, who am I to censor anyone? If Perfect Instagram Mom wants to speak her truth, and say something real because it is coming from a good and human place, then goddamn she should go shout it from a mountain! But if she doesn’t want to do that? That’s OK. Because guess what? YOU still love her. I mean, you are still following her, right?

Here’s my Big Thought on the topic (keeping in mind The Sisterhood, and The Tribe, and all that good lady stuff): it is still not the job of a Instagram Mom, no matter how influential, to help us “other” moms feel more confident about ourselves. Why should she make her square less beautiful to make us feel better about our own mediocre squares?

Consumers of media have choices: We can look away, and put down the phone; we can teach ourselves to think differently, or we can delete social media altogether. When it comes to fixing the negativity and comparison that social media breeds, the onus is on the media consumer, not the influencer.

I’m happy for the super famous Instagram Moms with hundreds and thousands of followers to continue posting the squares that got them famous in the first place – all those pretty pictures of babies in bonnets or perfectly styled bump shots. And I promise not to ever feel bad about not posting a photoshoot-worthy kitchen, or a picture of me pushing a stroller while wearing five-inch heels while casually sipping a latte. Deal? Thanks.

Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.

This article was sponsored by Earth Mama Organics. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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