Instagram v. Reality: The Mommy Edition

Instagram is a great way to pass the time, but let us all admit that what we see on our feed is not exactly the real deal, as Bustle's own Olivia Muenter so astutely demonstrated. We know you ate that beautiful croissant while stuck in traffic, not while relaxing at the local coffee shop. Those shoes you purchased online didn't just magically find themselves in a color-coordinated vignette. C'mon.

The representation of parenthood is not immune to this phenomenon, with Instagram being the hot bed of activity — though Pinterest comes in a very close second. A quick scroll through my feed, and I am witness to majestic dessert creations, room decor the likes of House & Garden magazine, and themed parties that would make Martha Stewart say "WOW." Each image is perfectly framed, cropped, and filtered to say "Look at what a cool and together mom I am!"

Most of my mommy life has been spent dodging bodily fluids — am I right, Olivia Wilde? — and worrying about his spinach intake, but I too am guilty of presenting this magic motherhood dream world on my feed. A place where no one throws up on their new outfit, the toys are always in a neat stack, the nursery is perfectly lit, and takeout isn’t an option because a meal meeting the daily nutritional requirements set by the FDA is prepared and on the table.

Motherhood is messy, exhausting, exhilarating, inspiring, awesome, and fun, but it ain’t perfect. A picture is a beautiful snapshot, but the true story, I would argue, paints a much more entertaining and poignant picture.

1. Sunday Morning Coffee

What it looks like I'm doing...I'm having a relaxing morning with my coffee and fashion magazines. Not a care in the world.

What I'm actually doing/thinking...

I took this image after sneaking out of my bedroom trying not to wake my infant son or husband. I crawled on all fours out of the room, spent two minutes closing the door quietly, made the coffee, then settled on the sofa. The child woke up five minutes later ... hungry.

2. The Next van Gogh

What it looks like I'm doing...Marveling at the wonderful work of art my little one has created. Isn't he so talented?

What I'm actually doing/thinking...

I must show the world how creative my kid is so people will get how great a mom I am and all those hours playing Baby Einstein will be worth it. Now to wash the other beautiful works of art off the wall, floor, and doors...then hide the crayons.

3. Feeding the Birds

What it looks like I'm doing...Enjoying a beautiful day with my family in New Orleans. Look how cute he is, feeding the nice birds in the park!

What I'm actually doing/thinking...

These monsters are huge! My, God, why do they grow so big? That goose right there could take an arm if he wanted to. If one of those things lays a feather on my kid, they will be dinner! Why in the world did we do this? We are going to be on the news, "Toddler eaten by City Park bird, parents held by police and animal control."

4. My Life is So Fulfilling

What it looks like I'm doing...I am a working mom and loving it!

What I'm actually doing/thinking...

I am a working mom ... and loving it?

5. The Black and White Shot

What it looks like I'm doing...My child is playing in the leaves and I got this beautiful shot by happenstance. Isn't life wonderful?

What I'm actually doing/thinking... First I cleared all the random trash out of the pile of leaves, then I spread them out perfectly (my son is playing in a less picturesque pile of leaves while I do this), then I send him through a few times until I get the shot right. Finally, I consulted with my photographer husband on filter options. Easy breezy!

6. Big Night on the Town

What it looks like I'm doing... Oh, look at us having ourselves a good time out at a nice restaurant. See? We haven't lost our marriage mojo! We can still hang with the youths.

What I'm actually doing/thinking... After dropping the child off at his grandmother's house (cue the separation anxiety), we amped ourselves up to go out. The happy couple ate their fill, went straight home, and was in bed by 11 p.m ... and it was awesome.

7. Baby Starts Daycare, Yeah!

What it looks like I'm doing... Celebrating my son starting daycare after being home with me for two years. Mommy is free!

What I'm actually doing/thinking... Holding back the tears as I realize this is his first big step toward independence and my first big step toward letting him go.

8. We Have Fun All the Time

What it looks like I'm doing... We are having so much fun at the Children's Museum. See how much fun we are having. Having so much fun!!!! Fun!!!!

What I'm actually doing/thinking... It is so hot. Why is it so hot? He wants to play more. But it is so hot. Why is it so hot?!! Can we go inside now? Wait, let me get this picture so people will see how much fun we are having.

9. Sugar Rant

What it looks like I'm doing... Calling out all the parents who think it is okay to give this much sugar to a toddler.

What I'm actually doing/thinking... I ate it all myself.

10. Baby Feet

What it looks like I'm doing... Look at this precious moment. I am so loving everything about being a new mom. This is the most amazing feeling I have ever felt. Everyone feel it with me.

What I'm actually doing/thinking... Oh, please don't let the camera click wake him. After this, I'm going to eat, pump for the millionth time today, and dream of wine and pizza. Oh crap, I woke him up.

11. Mommy/Son Selfie

What it looks like I'm doing... We are so cute together!

What HE is actually doing/thinking... After this pic, he turned to me and said, "Mommy I hot. Go home." That's my boy.

Images: CheriseLuter/Instagram (11)