As a child of the '80s and '90s, I find it funny that there are already more pictures of my 2-year-old and 5-year-old, currently on my phone, than there are of me since birth. While camera phones were once considered a frivolous novelty, they have legitimately changed the way we interact with the world and each other. And while there are deep sociological questions relevant to that fact, my most pressing questions, at the moment, are for the mom whose Instagram photos are always perfect, because what-the-hell-are-you-I-can't-even.
Everyone has That Mom on their IG feed, right? I mean, granted, most people post pictures of themselves, their kids, and their lives that show everything in the best possible light (I mean, it's social media, not photojournalism). But there are some people who manage to elevate their account to a level that mere mortals cannot begin to comprehend, and certainly cannot reach themselves (regardless of the numerous filters that assist us in our many attempts). Every selfie looks like a Vanity Fair cover by Annie Leibovitz. Every trip to the park was shot by the ghost of American nature photographer Ansel Adams. I mean, just. Like. How?
Look, it's not that we begrudge these specific mothers for any of the aforementioned, but we stand staring at her sprawling trove of masterpieces with so many questions. Questions like, of course, the following:
"Damn, Girl. What Filter Are You Using?"
What's that going on there? Because this looks fancy AF. Is that a little X-Pro II you've got going on? Clarendon, perhaps? Wait, did you actually #nofilter this photo? Uh-uh. Wrong. I refuse to accept that you just took a picture that makes everything look this whimsical and magical and perfect. Tell me what I have to do to achieve this look, please. I promise it'll be our little secret!
"Is The Lighting Always Perfect Where You Live?"
Seriously, do you live in a Sofia Coppola movie or something? Is it always Golden Hour? Do you have a time turner and you just take all your pictures at the moment when the sun is shining in the most artful, flattering way humanly possible? Or do you have a lighting designer planning out your daily shoot schedule?
"How Are Your Children's Clothes Clean?"
I call shenanigans, because that is a white lace dress little Natalia is wearing, and she's a 2-year-old toddler. How on earth did you manage to get her to keep it clean for longer than 4.3 seconds? My kids would have defiled that thing before I even managed to wrangle it on to their sticky, gross ass. So what gives? Did you photoshop it? Did you dress her in a sterile room and then lock her in there until you were ready to snap the pic? Ooh! Or is Natalia an incredibly life-like robot who is programmed not to get schmutzy?
"How Do You Always Get Your Hair To Look So Casually On Fleek?"
Even your top knots are spectacular. Like, I do that and I look like a frontier school marm showing up to her one-room schoolhouse after a particularly debaucherous barn raising the night before.
You look like you're headed off to brunch with Chrissy Teigen (she's so chill she doesn't care if you show up in yoga pants and a top knot, but you still look amazing because you're going to brunch with Chrissy f*cking Teigen so you'd better come correct).
"I Don't See Toys On Your Floor. Why?"
I can think of three possibilities here:
1) Your children do not have toys;
2) You spend all your time cleaning up your children's toys;
3) You have somehow terrified your children into always cleaning up there toys.
If the answer is number three, teach me your ways, because I am so not above fear tactics.
"Does Your Kid Really Eat All The Healthy Foods You Put In Their Lunchbox?"
Because my kid has eaten peanut butter and jelly every single day for the past four and a half years and I'm, well, I'm just skeptical. Don't get me wrong, the five vertically cut organic cherry tomatoes from your co-op; kale and quinoa salad; cucumber and artisanal cream cheese mini sandwiches; and strawberries sculpted to look like your son's favorite Disney characters all look delicious. And the presentation? Gorgeous.
You were right to Instagram it. But, seriously? Do you sneak a Gogurt in a second lunchbox?
"On A Scale Of 1 To 10, How Much Do You Actually Enjoy Yoga?"
Because your form is amazing and you seem to do a lot of it. Like, a lot. In very beautiful active wear, in beautifully appointed rooms, and with perfect lighting (as per above).
"Your Kids Appear To Be Playing And Not Killing Each Other. Can You Tell Me About That?"
Because my kids wouldn't be laughing together having a teddy bear picnic. The older one would be sure to pick up the little one's favorite teddy bear when her back was turned, then he would dangle it in her face casually and when she tried to take it he would flip out about how he had it first. They would of course, both come crying to me and after about 5 minutes I would finally get the little one settled with another toy, which my older child would then want and snag the first time he saw an opportunity and the cycle would begin anew for the rest of the day. No one wants to see that mess on IG.
So what's the deal? Have you bribed them? Did you give them a script? Ooh! Is this another example of you terrifying them into behaving?! Tell me tell me tell me!
"But For Real. Who Is Styling Your Family?"
Because I refuse to believe you are managing such impeccable personal style on top of all the perfect hair, yoga, gorgeous meals, and clean house you're working on.
"This All Looks Very Casual, But How Much Effort Actually Goes Into It?"
It's OK if it's a lot. Zero judgment, honey. I want you to live your best life, and if your best life is making beautiful pictures of your life and family on Instagram that's totally fine with me. Really. But this visually appealing lifestyle you've created online, rooted in a breezy tone and casual joy? Well, I live pretty casually and your feed is not what "casual" and "not trying" looks like.
So level with me: what's your process, because this all seems like a process.
"That Is Not A Make-Up Free Selfie! Y U LIE?!"
GIRL, YOU ARE FOOLING NO ONE! I KNOW A SMOKY EYE WHEN I SEE ONE! DON'T PRETEND #IWOKEUPLIKETHIS
"Did You Win A Fiddle Contest Against The Devil?"
Instead of winning his golden fiddle and sending him back to hell you were like, "Actually, you can keep the fiddle, but can you give me the power to have a perfect Instagram account?" And then the Devil was like, "Yeah, sure, but you have to follow me and like my pictures." And you were like "Deal."
Because aside from a pact with the forces of darkness, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how you have managed to make #momlife look so damn glamorous. #Respect