Keeping it real
I’ve only been at this fashion instablogger thing for a week now, but I’m already learning a lot. As a longtime follower of style instagrammers, I always had to marvel at how amazingly put together they looked even when their bios proclaimed that they had small children. It always made me feel a little wistful and envious; here I was struggling to keep the house clean, my toddler entertained indoors on cold winter days, the dogs fed and alive–there was not much time left to focus on myself. How did these bloggers have time to make themselves look magazine worthy on a daily basis?
Well let me tell you that perception is not always reality, folks, and I’m nothing if not honest.
I recently read an article featured on the Today Parents community Facebook page about self-care. It was written by a blogger who is also a single mom. In it, she claimed to not need alone time for herself because her children were her priority. I don’t know if she meant to shame women who crave a timeout for themselves, but it certainly felt that way.
The whole article struck me as contradictory; first she claimed that you should never need time away from your kids if they are your true “purpose” in life, but then she went on to say that you DO need time away from your kids, but it should not be time spent shopping or socializing–it should be time spent doing something meaningful (like yoga or meditation). Her words were also pretty self-righteous, almost akin to telling a person with depression to “get over it.” Her kids are 3 and 5 which means they’re much more independent than a 1-year-old who needs constant care and attention all day and night. She said she wakes up hours before her kids to work on herself and her blog; that’s a great idea in theory, but what about when my child wakes up at 5am? Should I be waking up at 2am to “do me” because it’s selfish to take a timeout during parenting hours? Sometimes, walking aimlessly around Target is EXACTLY what I need. Sometimes, having an adult conversation over dinner with friends who can relate to my parenting struggles is exactly what I need. And sometimes, doing yoga, hiking or meditating alone is exactly what I need. None of this means I love my daughter any less than this blogger loves her kids. Needing a break is not weakness. Self care looks different for everyone.
Back when I was pregnant, a friend told me that I would quickly discover how important it was to have a hobby for myself that didn’t include Play-doh, crayons, or nursery rhyme singing. I see the importance of that now both for my own well being and for my effectiveness as a parent. While I’ve been trying to work on instablogging (and regular blogging) only during nap time, sometimes naps don’t happen or there are other things that need to get done during that time. So I work it in, as you can see in the “reality” photo–my daughter running circles around me, one of my dogs begging to play. I make time for myself in the midst of all the chaos.
Knowing this, when I see all the perfectly manicured bloggers I follow looking all kinds of perfect, I take it with a grain of salt; maybe they also did some heavy cropping on their photos to remove the chaos and to focus on the pretty for a moment.