We've all done it. Been scrolling through Instagram and seen post after post of mums with the perfect body, stylishly dressed children and amazing hair frolicking in the autumn leaves or posing in their stylish homes. Felt that twinge of jealousy as we compare ourselves to them.
Me with my belly that hasn't "bounced back", my hair scraped into a bun that doesn't look as effortlessly chic as the Insta mums. Wearing maternity tights and my husband's sweatshirt. My child in her practical onesie and knitted jumper, in her colourful room, a hodge podge of toys and fun.
In that moment I hear a little voice in my head, my own voice - "Don't compare this wonderful reality to someone else's highlight reel".
Because that's all Instagram is. It's a highlight reel, carefully curated to project our "best" selves. People make a lot of money on Instagram, so those highlights you're seeing? Probably not even real life. What's real is your relationship with your child. The spit-up on your shirt, or the instant coffee in your hand.
Most importantly though, you are enough. You are more than enough. You don't need the perfect body, or the perfect hair. You don't need a fashionable home (although if you want one, you go for it!). You don't need a Pinterest-perfect nursery for your baby. Your child's room doesn't need to be void of colour to be cool. There'll be days when your children will have tantrums, where you'll have tantrums.
Your family photoshoots will include countless pictures of someone pulling a stupid face. Or someone throwing up. There'll be days where you won't get to exercise, and you may not lose your mum pooch. At the pool you'll probably be self-conscious about your stretch marks, or your belly, or your butt. You'll try to make a birthday cake you found on Pinterest and it'll be an epic fail. Your kids will decorate the floor (and the dog) with said cake.
But you know what, mama? In all the chaos, in all the reality, you're making memories. You'll remember these moments forever. One day when your house is empty, with no more noisy kids, you'll remember the time you all laughed together at your birthday cake attempt. You'll remember building blanket forts in your old pyjamas with your hair pulled back. You'll remember the time your child swam on their own for the first time. You'll remember how special it was to see your child growing up surrounded by the toys you enjoyed as a child, or were hand-me-downs from their older siblings.
That Instagram photo you're staring at? It's only a moment in time for that mama and her child. Her reality is probably a lot like yours, all spit-up, tantrums and realness. Don't compare those moments in time to your own reality, because you'll stop seeing the joy in every moment of this life.
This is real life. This is parenting. Take in every moment. You don't have to enjoy every moment, but don't spend your time worrying that your moments aren't like the moments you see on Instagram, mama. Because these moments are YOURS.