No Red Carpets, Curtain Calls, or Paparazzi: Motherhood Is Not Glamorous


The other day I read this article. Go read it. But if you don’t want to, here’s the gist: A mother chose a home birth for her delivery and it ended in near tragedy with a lifeless baby being rushed to the NICU. (Now I am not debating the pros or cons of home birth here.) These words, sprinkled throughout the article, caught my attention: glamorous, pretty, fairy tale, picture perfect. I found myself heartbroken by this mother’s experience, but also taken aback by her picture of what the beginnings of motherhood should be like. In her words: “I wanted to be that pretty momma — laughing during labor — sitting in the pool looking glamorous and happy.”

I read that, and I was sad. I was sad that we live in a world where photographs are more important than experience, a world where perception is paramount. And we are lying to each other. And we are doing it hourly through Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. We are tidying up our lives to appear glamorous and pretty and fun.  I’m not concerned that this mama chose home birth over the hospital. I’m concerned that she mentioned being “picture perfect” before words like “best” or “good decision” or “good.” I am concerned that she entered the birth process believing a lie.

Here’s the truth about motherhood. It’s buried deep down, kept safe and quiet, where only our close friends and husbands can see. Motherhood is not glamorous. Motherhood is hard and often smells of spit up. The last time it was (possibly) glamorous was conception. From that point on, it’s often a war zone, clad with laundry and milk spills and stained onesies and sleepless nights. It’s fought with too much coffee and often desperate prayers.

Motherhood is a battle. A battle to replace your pre-kid self with selflessness and sacrifice, all while trying to maintain your identity, your femininity, your humor, and your joy.

Motherhood is grimy and exhausting. Sometimes it’s exasperating. Sometimes it’s ugly. And sometimes you meet a side of yourself you had no idea existed.

IMGP9894But deep deep down . . . if we stopped chasing “picture perfect” and “happy” and “glamorous,” if we relished the monotony of every nose wiped and bath given and tear wiped and little body hugged, we’d see a different kind of beauty. If we stopped taking (all the) pictures and started living in the moment, we’d realize that the memory is far more vibrant than the picture on Instagram. You know that time you snapped a picture of that sunset that couldn’t begin to showcase it’s magnificence? That’s motherhood. 

I don’t remember my mother being glamorous when I was a kid. She wore flip flops and sundresses that she owned season after season. But I do remember the feeling of the skin between her fingers when I held her hands in church, her creativity, and her presence. I remember her reading to us. I remember her listening to us. I’m sure it was sometimes mundane and hard, but it was our life; she made it beautiful for us.

My mom and me on our way home from the hospital.
My mom and I on our way home from the hospital.

In three different delivery rooms, sweat mingled with placenta and blood and tears and power, I birthed four children into this world. Four children who throw up on me and talk back to me and poop all day long sometimes. And I am tired. And it is not glamorous. And I don’t do my hair anymore. But those four children also humble me and hug me and teach me what is important in life. Those four children stretch me and challenge me and make me laugh. And those four children are my legacy. What I teach them. How I model life for them. That is what is important, not whether our life is picture perfect or pretty.

Sister moms, you are courageous and lovely. You are strong and brave. Your children love you and you will be remembered not for being perfect or pretty but for being kind and present and good.



  1. That poor woman didn’t enter the birth process believing a lie. If you read all the articles it clearly stated that this was her fifth birth, second at home. Please get your facts straight before disparaging that woman. You know nothing about her and are in no place to judge her decisions, beliefs, and choice of words.

  2. You know what? You’re totally right. I read after this post went live that indeed, that it wasn’t her first rodeo. I didn’t realize that when I posted this. This is by far my most misunderstood post and I wish I had better communicated what I was trying to say. Which was this: we live in a society that values appearances over truth. That makes me sad. Motherhood is messy, but the mess is what makes it beautiful and unique. The challenges are what stretch us and make us better people. Without conflict and strife, we stay stagnant. My biggest trials in life have made me a better and more compassionate person. The days before I had kids were rife with judgment and perfectionism. I’m not like that anymore. But I would be if motherhood wasn’t hard. I’m sorry to offend.

  3. Don’t think this author is disparaging the woman at all. I think she is instead saying we should show the real sides of motherhood and not let perfectly cropped and lighted photos lead us and others to believe it is anything but hard and beautiful all at once. I think this is a battle that is often talked about when it comes to social media and what is shown is only our “best self” versus our “true self”. If the author of the first article read this, I believe she would nod in agreement, especially when this author, Anna, supports women and encourages them in the end. As far as knowing nothing about her to place judgement or choice of words, I find the above comment VERY ironic. Both these authors put themselves, their opinions and experiences out for all to see (and I am grateful for moms who share these things)…and just as YOU have commented on this article, so should Anna be allowed to give her take on the first article.


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