Provided by Carmen Rasmusen Herbert
One of Carmen Herbert's sons takes a picture of her doing the dishes.

There has been a movement on social media calling out popular female bloggers and Instagram influencers to shed the façade of perfectionism and show more real life photos and stories.

I was interested to hear what other women were saying about this, from both sides of the coin. Those who were considered “influencers” defended their posts, saying things to the effect of, “if you don’t like us, unfollow!” and trying to remind others who are scrolling through their feeds that they should remember to take Instagram for what it is: a highlight reel.

One blogger said she didn’t expect nor want fellow influencers to share their deepest darkest secrets online, or their very personal struggles with the world. She liked that everything was basically light and surface-level. For her, that’s what made her feel happy and interested. Not too dark or deep, bright and sweet.

On the other hand, there have been a large number of women who feel that looking at pictures that depict perfect women with perfect bodies wearing perfect clothes in perfectly decorated houses is a little too perfect. It starts to seem like these women are living a real-life version of “The Truman Show,” complete with “click here to see where I bought my (fill in the blank)!”

Personally, I don’t feel inspired or connected to women who come across as untouchable. It makes me feel depressed and lacking. That’s probably due in part to my own jealousies and insecurities, and I wholeheartedly agree with Eleanor Roosevelt when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

I choose how to feel, and how to react to different situations and circumstances. But I also agree with Fred Rogers who said in the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” that “there is a huge opportunity here.”

Like television, social media is an incredible platform that can be used for good or ill. Social media can be a wonderful tool for teaching, sharing, and connecting. But so many women I know have said they are “taking a media fast” or deleting their accounts altogether because they just can’t take the “fakeness” anymore.

The compelling need to compare is not new. Women have done it for decades. But it’s never been easier to feel like it’s impossible to live up to what everyone else is doing or how everyone else is looking. And our kids are catching on.

Celebrity and reality TV star Kim Kardashian recently posted a scantily clad picture of herself on her Instagram page. The fact that she forgot some of her clothing for the picture is, unfortunately, not shocking, but the fact that her 4-year-old daughter North was the one who took the photo, is. My kids have picked up my camera and snapped candid pictures of me doing everything from the dishes to the laundry, but this wasn’t that kind of innocent photo. What she tried to spin as a sweet picture of her daughter admiring her mother did not come across as sweet or admirable. It was distasteful and disturbing.

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. What message are we sending to our daughters, to our friends, to the world when we post pictures online? What are we saying about what we value, what is important to us, what we cherish, how we see ourselves, and what our priorities are?

Recently I listened to another beautiful woman on Instagram talk about what her priorities are as a wife and mother. She discussed balance and how she achieves her goals by letting go of getting everything done, every day.

I watched this short Instastory while my 2-year-old was in the bathroom going “peeps in the pots.” I have never recorded an Instastory before. I actually hate taking selfies and watching myself talk to a camera. But I thought it might be funny to take a video of myself doing one of the things I do all day long, which is waiting to wipe a bum.

So there I was sitting on the couch trying to get a good angle of my face when I heard my son announce he had successfully “done a boom-boom” and wanted me to come inspect. I told him to hang on for just a minute, when suddenly he came up right beside me holding up a chocolate-covered hand — which was not actually covered in chocolate.

That’s what I get for trying to take some time and film myself doing something ridiculous. I can’t even post an Instastory without literally risking poop hitting the bathroom fan and every other surface within reach.

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But guess what? That’s the kind of stuff I actually like reading about. I want to read about other mothers up to their elbows in their kids’ messes. I want to read about them struggling with a goal and then finally accomplishing it, or learning how to move on after not quite reaching it.

I want to read about their worries and struggles and why they are still wearing sweats at 5 p.m. and how they have to rewash another load of laundry because they didn’t get around to putting it in the dryer. I want the dark and deep along with the light and bright.

That is how I connect and feel inspired. That is real life, and to me, nothing is more perfect than honest and beautiful imperfection.