If you believe the stock photos, this mom business is a literal walk in the park. I mean, stock photo mom is perpetually smiling and dressed to the nines as she takes her chubby baby for a stroll (autumn leaves, anyone?). It's almost as if she never has to deal with poop. In fact, I think stock photo world is a strictly poop-free zone. As you'll soon see, a day in the life of a stock photo mom is nothing like 24 hours of real mom life.
As a toddler mom, my life resembles very little of what I see in those pretty pictures. I'm pretty easy to recognize, though, strolling through Target in my sweatpants with a giant bottle of wine next to my screaming toddler in the cart. I'm a category 4 hot mess, and I'm OK with it. At least until I read some article with a main image of a grinning mom doing laundry because OMG no one likes folding clothes.
In my book, stock photos aren't just a crock of sh*t, they feed into the myth of the perfect mom. Seeing mothers who don't look like them making the job look easy-peasy just leads to moms feeling bad about themselves. Just how unrealistic is stock photo mom life? Let's take a look at her day:
7:00 AM: Shower And Do Hair
The sun is shining and stock photo mom is up and at 'em! Snooze alarm? Surely you jest. She's rested after eight solid hours of sleep. Stock photo mom will have shampooed, dried, and styled her luscious long blonde hair (stock photo mom is white... duh) all before her kids can say, "Mommy!" She doesn't know anything about this "messy bun" of which you speak.
7:45 AM: Kids Are Awake. Snuggle Time!
Stock photo mom loves to intermittently wrestle and snuggle her sweet children with nary a hair out of place. Her beloved progeny would never pee on her comforter (white — what else?) or vomit directly into her mouth.
8:00 AM: Drink A Hot Coffee
Stock photo mom doesn't even own a microwave because she doesn't have to reheat her latte. Her kids pour their own cereal and sit quietly at the dining room table while mom enjoys her cup of joe and a quick scroll through social media. In fact, she can even sit with her little cherub on her lap, hot cup of coffee within a tiny arm's reach, and all is well in the world. She doesn't have to worry about spills! Instead, she can just give Facebook her full attention. That Carol posts the best memes!
9:00 AM: Answer Work Emails
Did I mention that stock photo mom has a side hustle in addition to her stay-at-home mom duties? It's not a problem, though. She can type 65 words per minute one-handed with an infant on her lap. Who needs sleep, right?
10:00 AM: Do A Sensory Activity With The Baby
Before she went to bed last night, stock photo mom prepared eight buckets of rainbow ooblek. Her toddler entertained herself for an hour and cleaned up the mess. There's a fleck of goo in stock photo mom's hair, but it's charming in a "devil may care" kind of way.
11:00 AM: Exercise
11:30 AM: Make Sandwiches In The Shape Of Beloved Animal Characters
Peanut butter and jelly is for amateurs, and stock photo mom's parenting level is most definitely expert. Every day is a new opportunity for creativity and healthy eating. Her kids never refuse the food she prepares. I mean, who doesn't love a banana dressed as a Minion?
12:00 PM: Laugh At Salad
Stock photo mom would never dream of eating a sandwich. That's for the kids. She's on a diet, you guys. And there's just something about leafy greens that gives her a real case of the giggles.
1:00 PM: Complete Pinterest Project During Nap
Oh, you like stock photo mom's pompom rug? She made it. Using a cardboard loom that she harvested from the Amazon Prime subscription box you threw out.
2:30 PM: Family Outing
It could be a visit to the park or the library, but stock photo mom always makes it out of the house with the kids at least once a day. She even knows how to make a trip to the grocery store exciting. Just look at her children's faces as they lovingly place the organic pickles in the cart.
5:00 PM: Make Dinner With Children
Stock photo mom gives her toddler a sharp knife and a fistful of flour. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, that's what, and the finished product will be both delicious and Insta-worthy. After a laughter-filled dinner, she hardly notices it's almost bedtime.
7:30 PM: Put Kids To Bed Without Complaint
Stock photo family loves to climb into the teepee (stock photo mom is unfamiliar with cultural appropriation) lined with hanging lanterns for a nightly bedtime story. After brushing their pearly whites, she kisses those beautiful faces, knowing she won't see them again until tomorrow morning. Stock photo mom is wistful.
8:00 PM: Get Romantic With Partner
Stock photo mom never has a headache. Enough said.
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