Photo by Megan Lewis on Unsplash

Instagram Can Be Weirdly Triggering For Working Moms

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Every day of childhood is special. Even if it's just a funny thing my daughter says during bath time, or her sister's sleepy but happy face when I go in to get her up in the morning, these little moments are precious to me. They're not the moments you would print out for your family Christmas card, because they're too quotidian, too plain, and it's more likely the moments spent at a Christmas tree farm or skiing at Big Bear that I'll frame and hang in the house. But as a working mom, I treasure these unseen pieces of the day. The problem is that when I see friends' Facebook and Instagram posts of days spent at pumpkin patches, or visiting a garden, or taking over local play-date hotspots with other stay-at-home moms, I feel guilty that I’m working instead of being with my daughters. To be completely honest, I find these perfect Instagram photo diaries triggering.

As the only child to a working mom, my school days were spent in the company of friends, teachers, classmates. My mom would drop me off in the morning, then pick me up after work. I wanted to see more of my mom during the work week, but I also knew that if she could take time off to be with me then she would.

Now I'm a working mom to two girls, there is nothing that I want more than to have the flexibility to spend a few days a week with my daughters rather than in an office. My search for part-time and full-time jobs with flexible hours began even before my first daughter was born. But I have been unable to land a job that would both provide for my family and offer me an ideal work schedule. Do I wish I could go to the butterfly farm with my kids instead of working? Sure, but that is not in the realm of possibility for a lot of parents. I understand that my friends, who post their daily adventures online, are just doing it for themselves, but to be honest, the picture-perfect snaps of kids sipping Instagram-ready smoothies is killing me a little.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

There are several reasons why I choose to work, from self-fulfillment to being able to provide for my family, and most of the time I’m content with my work-life balance and the quality time I spend with my daughters. Still, there are days when a little cloud of regret hangs over me.

I can’t, and won’t, apologize to my kids for working, because truth is I’m proud of my career, but I do find myself trying to make up for not giving them the solid blocks of quality time their little playmates get. Especially since other parents are posting photos of their family travels to amusement parks and month-long travels to distant countries. Sometimes I’ll let them drink hot coco before dinner or skip a bath so we can spend more time building a gingerbread house to ensure their nights are fun-filled, when I haven't been there during the day.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Pictures of parents with their kids in the mall with Santa or enjoying a local indoor play center make me feel incredibly disappointed in myself. I should have become an entrepreneur so I could be my own boss, I think. I should give freelancing a shot so I can be with my kids during the days. My head swarms with should-haves, why didn’t Is, why can’t Is, and so many of these unsupportive statements. If only I could take off more than one week to spend with my girls without having to ask for time off, or ensure taking time off now will not jeopardize any PTO that need to be saved for summer when my daughter will be on summer break.

Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody
Ad failed to load

Of course getting down on myself is not helpful and does absolutely nothing for my mental health. So while I do allow myself to feel guilty on those mornings when my daughter asks if I really have to go to work today or pleads with me to take her to gymnastics instead of her Nana, I just brave through it.

My Instagram feed might not be as bursting with updates of my kids, but I like to think that the moments I capture pack double the punch. I look forward to coming home to my girls after work, where I try to make the most of our afternoons together. It’s difficult trying to jam a full-day's worth of fun into a few hours — but I try.

So when you see a less-than-picture-perfect snap posted on Facebook, or Instagram, know that the mom who took it felt the powerful tug of her children, a pang of guilt that she isn't there more, and that she's so, so grateful to have this moment.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}