This Mom Opens Up About Her Picture-Perfect Instagram Feed
I feel compelled to share the truth behind the last couple of weeks because it was far from how it looked on my Instagram. Let's face it, social media paints the prettiest picture of all our lives. I posted this adorable (if I do say so myself) shot of Benjamin kissing me before sending me off to class and then proceeded to get an overwhelming amount of DMs asking how I manage to do it all and stay so balanced. As I was reading these comments—while completely flattered—I just kept thinking to myself, If only these people knew what was really going on leading up to, behind the scenes of, and after this picture they see on their Instagram feed.
I absolutely love what I do, guiding people to be their best possible selves. What I think most people don’t realize is that I truly believe I have to live it to give it and follow my own advice. I try to be on at all times, but this can feel like major pressure to always have my shit together. I want to keep it real with my clients and followers, and I also want to be a positive example. I know thinking this much about Instagram sounds so unimportant compared to many "real-life" issues, but when your posts are a huge part of your business and passion, you are expected to deliver.
Torn in one too many directions.
After a long week of Benjamin battling a cold, which translates to a major lack of sleep for both of us, he only wanted his Mama...making it pretty tough to do anything but be by his side. In addition, I am preparing for a major overhaul of my website and brand, which is my livelihood, so I've been dealing with a lot of extra work, emergencies, and fitting in everything else on the fringe. So the perfect picture I posted? It was anything but smiles and rainbows that morning. There were no greens in sight. Actually, he was eating a bagel from a few days before. B woke me up (as in, I didn’t get a chance to meditate on my own like I usually try to before he is awake), wanted to play, and kept yelling, "Hand, hand, hand!"
The thing about mom guilt is that you never know when it will hit.
On top of running business as usual, the redesign, and the cold, I was trying to cram before the anatomy portion of my Pilates mat training class (and I needed every minute of studying time, trust me), so I could barely give B the attention I usually give him. I couldn’t help but feel so overwhelmed, and I know my babe was picking up on it. As if to prove my point, when I went to leave, B effing lost it. He was screaming, pulling at my coat, and having a full-on meltdown.
The truth behind the photo I posted.
One of my role models, Marianne Williamson, always talks about waking up in the morning and washing the dirt and negative energy off ourselves from the day before and really creating clear space for yourself for the day ahead. I started my morning with chaos, so chaos crept its way into my entire day. Let’s get real for a sec—I give advice about the importance of creating routines and making time but in reality, things come up. Some days I can take a moment and get back on track, and other times I can’t; it’s just human nature. I'm not perfect. This weekend is one specific example, but believe me, it’s not the first and won't be the last time I’ve felt overwhelmed and off track from my own advice.
OK, back to that photo. In order to not leave our nanny with a complete shit show on her hands, I had her and B leave with me and acted like he was walking with me. In other words, I tricked my son into thinking he was coming with me. This worked for a little, but right as I thought it would be cute to get a photo of him dropping me off at "school" (hello, role reversal) and went to take him out of his stroller, he lost it again. I pointed out a fire truck to distract him as I ran off to class. So the truth about that photo I posted? It was from the previous week...same exact scenario but a more "ideal" version of B and me. Why did I choose this pic? Confession: because it honestly looked good and like I had it together.
I can't do it all, and that's OK.
As a mom, walking away when your baby wants you is heart-wrenching. In this case, I was walking away to study for something that I was having a hard time with—I wasn't getting any pleasure out of the situation on either end. I couldn't help but think to myself Am I choosing Pilates over my son? Cue the major mom guilt.
With my website relaunching, studying for my Pilates mat certification, filming daily workouts for my Fitner channel, not to mention the biggest job of all, taking care of my baby—I really felt everything crash down on me. I had more than a few moments of doubt where I thought, Should I have waited until B was older to grow my business? Was I being selfish? I couldn’t help but think I was doing something wrong by not timing all of my work and certification trainings to when B starts school himself.
The thing about mom guilt is that you never know when it will hit. At times I can rationalize that working and trying to do it all is so important for myself and ultimately for my family. At other times it feels like I am letting down my son by not being there in those moments when he really just wants me. On top of already feeling this way, you add in tons of people on the internet with opinions on your job as a mother (and trust me—trolls are not afraid to express themselves).
This weekend was a good reminder that I cannot do it all. I’ll never forget this book that was given to me called You Can’t Do It All. At the time, I thought to myself, Yes, I can. I can have a career; I can be a great mom. I think that building a business and brand really does take more time and energy than you can imagine. That time and energy isn't just confined to the office, it comes home with you too. I’ve had a job since I was 15 years old and I love to work. If you feel that way, I think it’s really important to honor that for yourself...whether you have a family or not. That said, there is nothing like a good reality check—like this particular weekend for me. As much as I'm loving my family and work, I can’t be perfectly balanced all the time, something has to give. And it takes daily practice to come to terms with that. In taking on all of these projects at the same time, it makes sense that some moments will not be your finest. No judgment here ever; we all do the best we can with what we have.
It’s safe to say, I’m setting the alarm early tomorrow to make sure I get my meditation in before the day starts.
Melissa Wood-Tepperberg is a mom, certified health and wellness coach, meditator, yoga teacher, and thriving on a plant-based diet. Melissa's three pillars of focus are meditation, mindful eating, and movement. Melissa Wood Health is a platform for sharing all of the wellness tips that she swears by—food, fitness, beauty, fashion, and overall lifestyle—to help achieve your best self.