My Instagram feed is like my wardrobe – eclectic.
There’s no one particular theme to the accounts I follow. I tend to gravitate to those whose creativity, or style, or perspective, or habits, or environment, or language inspire me.
Then there are the simpler accounts, casual personal accounts like my own, owned by wonderfully mediocre women like myself. Who take the photos with their phones, some snaps blurrier than others and the kids are usually dressed by themselves and not a sponsor* (*If you’re a brand who sends clothes to InstaMums for features– holler, my kids are size 3, 7 & 8).
These unprofessional, personal, heartfelt accounts, I think, are imperative to my Instacommunity.
They remind me of games I might like to play with my children again, or a beach I haven’t visited in a while, or give me insight into what a Northern hemisphere Christmas must be like. They also aren’t polished to the point where I wish my life or house or kid’s wardrobe was more like theirs. Their spaces and days are similar enough to my own. It’s a little bit of ordinary that I need to see, so that I do not get trapped in the habit of comparison. As I frequently tell my children, “comparison is the thief of joy” (Thanks Theodore Roosevelt).
The issue isn’t the stellar accounts. Some people have skills particularly in this field and I celebrate them.
But because Instagram is a space where I spend time, I like to make sure it’s a space where I don’t only support excellence, but I connect.
I need to be aware of how I am processing the content and what it stirs in me.
Some of us need Instagram fasts for this reason, we surround our screen viewing time with others’ excellence, and wear ourselves out trying to be our best all of the time… Even though these images only reflect some of the time. Some of us could take heed of @mamamiaaus’s self-care tip, to “Unfollow every account on Instagram that makes you feel like you need to be someone else.”
This of course has a lot to do with our own perspective.
There appears to be a method of being attracted to the best.
Of wanting to be the best. Of watching the best. On all media platforms we and our children are shown those that are the best in their field. Whereas, IRL there is a huge range of skill level.
I want to embrace the ordinary.
I want to embrace the mediocre.
Instagram follows aren’t the only way I am celebrating those that achieve phenomenal things whilst embracing those that don’t, or at least ‘don’t’ in obvious ways. I also celebrate my own, my husband’s and my children’s achievements and embrace those areas where we are ordinary.
For instance; I choose to sing to my children and at karaoke, even though I am tone and pitch challenged.
I choose to cook things I haven’t mastered, even for guests.
I draw things I’ve never drawn before with my children.
I attempt to jump and climb and reach things, even though my body is of below average length.
I share my poetry at open mic poetry events even though I’ve only just begun to pursue writing.
I play math games and develop mazes with my son even though, at age 7, he sometimes gets to the answer of multiplication sums before I do.
I handstand and cartwheel with my daughter even though I’m not confident that I won’t fall.
I let my children see my mediocre attempts at everything, my ordinary achievements, and probably, most importantly, my mistakes.
I’ve made quinoa lasagne twice now. The first time the zucchini top took too long to cook and we had dinner in phase one and phase two. The second time I over-salted and over-sauced it. We still ate it, and I really tried to hold back from apologising. I will try again. They will eat every attempt. And eventually, I’ll make it well. But my family will have seen the attempts, the journey, the average, unamazing me.
They appreciate me how I am. I appreciate them and others for where they are, not just where they are headed. I choose to see my children with their potential in mind but I will not forget that they are someone and somewhere today.
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Gabriela Antonini chronicles snapshots of her moments on her Instagram @g_and_tribe, in between racing one of her three lively children, sharing chocolate with her theologian husband, feeding her ever-hungry progeny or singing lyrics wrong with the hubs. She is often found with her nose in a book, at the beach, up a tree or carrying around a teapot. Born in Slovakia, a childhood spent in Melbourne, she now lives in Perth heartily appreciating its exquisitely mild weather.