Social media is where people put their best foot forward, but the endless stream of gorgeously lit and posed photos, tweets about accomplishments and videos on how to live your best life can make anyone feel like everyone but you has it all figured out. This year’s best social media follows for parents and parents-to-be earn the “likes” of millions for their realness, and for reminding all of us that parenting isn’t perfect — and that’s the best part.
Halfway through her second pregnancy, Maya Vorderstrasse, mother to “Irish twin” girls, decided to get real, turning her insta into a judgement free zone. Ever since, her hilarious, honest-mom letterboard ‘grams have been capturing mom hearts everywhere.
“My reality was a baby who literally never slept, a messy house, and pregnancy symptoms that were very often overwhelming,” said Vorderstrasse. “I was always so unhappy for not having what other people had, that one day it finally clicked: I had the life meant for me, with hard times and all, and decided to post my struggles hoping someone would relate. Surprisingly so many did!”
With her new candid attitude, she decided to use letter boards to share those totally-true mom moments no one talks about. Vorderstrasse has brought the taboo topic of what it’s like to be a real mom to the forefront and shown that being a good mom doesn’t always mean having it together. She has put her mom brain, sticky toddler, and postpartum hormones on display for all to relate to.
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“I think that being candid and open about the hard parts of being a mother makes women feel like they’re not alone. I have taken that as my life purpose, to try to take those women out of sadness and loneliness, because that’s exactly where I found myself, and still do at times,” she said. “We work hard as mothers and deserve to feel like we belong and are seen.”
Vorderstrasse’s account has built a community where parents can share their high and lows in the comments and find some support and inspiration.
“Truth is, we all go through the same things and phases and hardships, but seeing others go through the same and come out victorious, is extremely encouraging,” said Vorderstrasse. “I cannot believe that posting trivial situations can help so many people feel like they’re not alone in this. It will never get old.”
That network of support goes both ways, too. The network of moms Vorderstrasse has nurtured has provided her, in turn, with advice and words of encouragement that have kept her going.
“All my friends and followers also help me, SO much,” she said. “Not only by supporting and encouraging me, but telling me how they fixed a problem, or giving me tips on parenting and products... it’s so wonderful to be able to interact with such incredible hard working women, and I feel extremely blessed!”
Kids say the funniest things, as we all know. And James Breakwell’s 4 girls, all 7 and under.... well, they really say the funniest things. He started his account in August 2012 to promote his blog. But when he tweeted about his child’s unconventional reason for having a tantrum (her shadow wouldn’t leave her alone) he, and his family, went viral.
To anyone out there thinking about having kids, today my 2 year old threw a temper tantrum because she couldn’t get rid of her shadow.— James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) March 23, 2013
“I started out writing general jokes about everything, but I gradually zeroed in on parenting tweets because that's what people responded to,” said Breakwell. “That's when I realized real life disasters were Twitter gold. To succeed, I just had to fail more at life.”
Me: School starts back up on Monday.— James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) October 26, 2017
7-year-old: What if they forget?
Me: They won't forget.
7: What if I make them?
5-year-old daughter: I think a boy likes me. He drew me a dinosaur.— James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) June 25, 2015
Me: That could mean anything.
5: The dinosaur had a hat.
So he embraced his family’s chaos. With every tweet about his witty daughters trying to get out of school or cover their tracks, we get a glimpse of the Breakwell family. Social media has given him a place to provide more of a positive spin on common parenting blunders.
“Social media success is the consolation prize for when things go wrong at home. Every time my parenting leads to calamity, it's never a total waste. At least I get good tweets out of it.” he said.
But the space hasn’t just provided comfort for him. Breakwell feels people gravitate to his tweets because, for better or worse, they’ve been there and they understand.
“I love I'm not the only one going through this. Everyone’s kids are weird and quirky and funny,” he said. “When you read about my kids, you're really reading about your own. We're all in this together. God help us all.”
There’s nothing these moms won’t talk about after a glass of wine, and we love them for it.
Two Los Angeles based comedians and moms, Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley, started their account last year. Each video runs about 3 minutes-- a length which fits perfectly into even the busiest of mom schedules--and candidly tackles what it’s like to be a parent. Now, a year and over a dozen videos later, they have over 60,000 subscribers and 100 million cumulative views and for good reason: they get it.
In their first video, Semdley forgets her daughter's name (hey, mom brain is real, people) and gives us their mission statement.
“We thought like, hey, maybe we can make other people feel better about the parenting job they’re doing,” said Smedley in their first video.
And we’re hooked. These are not your typical social media moms. They are poop-discussing, tiara wearing, pacifier picker-uppers a.k.a the realest moms. Their honest mom-to-mom conversations about everything from their bras and trips to the gyno and spanx to postpartum depression and lack of sleep keep us coming back and remind us that we are not alone.
“Kristin and Jen know firsthand that parenting is a hard job and they invite you to join them in taking it all a little less seriously (even if for a few short minutes a day),” according to the imomsohard website. “After all, Jen currently has four days of dry shampoo in her hair and Kristin’s keys are still in her front door. They try, they fail, they support each other, and they mom as hard as they can.”
Their candor reminds makes us feel like we are sitting down with a glass of wine (or two) with good friends, and sometimes that’s all you need.
The two are now on their Moms’ Night Out tour across the country.
Facebook: Constance Hall
Million followers on Facebook? Check. Hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram? Check. Book that sells thousands of copies? Check. Be an honest mom/queen? Double Check. We love Constance Hall for her beautiful candor and ability to share every part of motherhood with us -- poop on her leg included.
Hall, an Australian mother of six, went viral several times last year for getting super real. (We still aren’t sure if she was reading our minds…) Her most iconic post is one of her with her newborn in her underwear flaunting her beautiful postpartum baby with the caption,
She eats the cake!!
She has a past and she owns that shit,
She's skinny, curvy, flabby, muscly and she loves it.
Because she's a fucking queen”
Hall holds nothing back posting photos of her post-baby body, sharing her breastfeeding experiences and discussing ‘parent sex.’
On top of her honesty, no one can make you feel like a goddess who has it together than Hall. Her inspirational posts and photos that show it all remind us we are amazing, we are beautiful, and we are doing a great job. Here’s just one time she got it right:
“To the woman at the doctor’s surgery, waiting patiently to request some antidepressants,
I salute you.
Post natal depression is a rude little cunt. You are still coping, do not confuse depression for not coping, you've taken action, you look like a coping queen to me.
Too often strength and weakness are confused, strength is asking for help.
You are so strong.
So many women are going through the exact same thing, they just don't talk about it.”
There’s no one more real than Hall, and we absolutely love her for it.