This may surprise you, but when I’m scrolling through Instagram and see well-lit, gorgeous photos of clean, smiling babies in designer onesies or a home office with trendy details and a spotless desk, I’m not filled with a blind rage.
I don’t feel like tearing the whimsical handmade bunting off the wall or trashing the highly styled table of miniature desserts (all made lovingly by hand, natch.) When someone’s home looks like a catalog or an Anthropologie window display, I don’t want to throw my phone across the room and cry. But if you do want to scream – I understand. After a long day, you may not want to look at idyllic scenes that make you feel woefully inadequate. If you’ve been crouching in your baby’s room off and on for 2 hours trying to get him to sleep, you may not want to see Theo & Beau pop up on your feed, napping like the angelic money-makers that they are.
Recently I’ve seen a lot of backlash and angry articles online against all of the “lies of perfection” moms share on social media, and an increase in sharing the reality of life. Will you get a “like” from me when you post a photo of the gargantuan monster that is your pile of dinner dishes? Of course. Solidarity, sister.
For me, though,
annoyingly perfect images can be oddly calming and sometimes energizing. I like looking at pretty things. I like being inspired by creative people. I like letting my eyes and my mind wander to unblemished, worry-free lands curated by some of my favorite Instagrammers like Oh Joy, Joanna Goddard, and Food52. And sometimes, I arrange or filter my own photos to look perfectly manicured when they really (really!) aren’t. Shh, no one needs to know that you had to contort yourself so awkwardly to get the shot that you may have permanently messed up your neck, or that you stood precariously on a chair to get just the right angle.
Perhaps I’m training (or tricking?) myself, but sometimes I find that my brain adds a beautiful filter (is it love?) to moments of my life. As in, I see my daughter smiling brightly, my husband looking handsome while he’s concentrating on reading or cooking, my dogs looking impossibly cute and fluffy curled on the couch. It’s only when I pull out my phone to try and capture these beautiful visions that I notice the spit up all over my daughter’s shirt, the laundry piled up in the background, the weird half-eaten dog toy on the floor and the 5 abandoned coffee mugs on the table.
Yes, I know the laundry needs to be put away eventually and we can all commiserate about the not-so-lovely parts of being a parent, but I could use a few more “perfect” moments in my day. Even if it’s all because of the magic of a (Instagram) filter.
Here are a few flawless photos that made me smile recently: