On a quiet and cold January night not long after Christmas, I sat on the couch in my house just outside of Salt Lake City and surveyed my domestic kingdom.
My kitchen island was piled high with unopened mail, books I’d been meaning to read and hospital baby supplies I’d never fully unpacked. Stacked on the dining table were clean diapers and wipes, which partially covered a mound of photos I’d wanted to organize for weeks.
Every day, I thought about vacuuming. Every day, I got caught up doing a hundred other things.
That night, I was too tired to even think about cleaning. I picked up my phone and, as I’d done dozens of times already that day, opened the Instagram app, noticing that one of the influencers I followed to try to figure out this new thing called motherhood had posted new videos. It still sort of amazed me that, just by opening my phone, I could watch someone who had figured out how to be a domestic goddess, the perfect mom.
“See? I told you things aren’t always so clean around here,” she said into her phone’s camera, gesturing at the laptop and shopping bag sitting on her grand kitchen island, much bigger than mine. In the background, a few baby bottles sat in her otherwise spotless sink.
I blinked, waiting for her to laugh and let us know she was in on the joke. But the Instagram story ended and I looked up from my phone, suddenly aware that her idea of being related and flawed was making me feel ridiculous and defective. Yes, it was…