Old ladies and Instagram Pics

Jen Powell talk about life and adjust to life in Orange County California. This is the real me.

Something weird has happened to me since moving to Southern California. I’ve recently discovered a lot of beautiful pictures and lives on Instagram from fellow OC moms.

Perfect looking lives.

Perfect looking people.

Perfectly dressed.

Perfect messy hair.

Perfect kitchen and meals and plates and walls and pets and lives.

I found a couple Instagram peeps that I thought would “encourage” me to be a better housekeeper or homemaker or homeschooler. I started following some of these beautiful perfect people. I started to feel ugly. I started to feel self conscious of my home. I started to think that my homeschooling was never enough. I started wishing I dressed differently. I started thinking that my life was no longer adventurous. I started thinking that I wasn’t taking enough risks. I started feeling that I wasn’t enough.

I stopped in Target today to get a free ‘trenta’ ice water (I’m addicted to their water) and two small empty cups to put Target snacks in for my boys. Yes, I am THAT terrible customer. I’m sorry. I love you triple filtered ice water! While waiting in line I saw what looked like two super trendy young girls. From behind they looked to be in their early twenties. Ridiculously cute booties, leggings, oversized sweaters, messy grunge long dark hair. When they turned around though…. they were not in their 20’s. They were at least in their 70’s with a crazy amount of plastic surgery and extensions (or something was going on there, maybe a wig).

Welcome to the OC? I guess.

It was confusing. Why were these women trying to be something they obviously were not? Don’t they see that aging (as I randomly happened to blog about last) is a beautiful thing? I guess it’s fine and dandy to still be stylish as we get older! Of course it is! But something also felt very wrong. I left Target really unsettled and couldn’t get these ladies off my mind.

After getting back home I sat down to “rest.” Instagram time. Swiping through I found some more perfect people. I started feeling really annoyed. Inadequate. I looked up to see my pile of laundry sprawled over the couch and falling down onto the floor. I wondered if I did enough school work for my daughter. I had no idea what we would do for dinner and it was already 4pm. Did these perfect looking lives have the same problems?

Then I thought back to the women in the Target. Did they also feel this same pressure? Did they get their version of an Instagram overload of perfect looking forever youthful 20 somethings? I wasn’t mad at the Instagram perfect lives. I was mad at myself for wanting to be something/someone different than who I am. I was so disturbed and fascinated by the women in Target because I saw myself in them.

The truth is, it wouldn’t be beautiful of me to put on someone else’s life. I want to wear my life. I need to wear my life. My pictures aren’t perfect, but they are mine. My walls are bare, but they are my walls (and I think I happen to like the simplicity of it). I don’t have all the furniture that I would probably have if I hadn’t been living in Europe for ten of the past 12 years, but that was my adventure and my walls speak to that, as do my lack of lamps, organizers, and other things that most people married for 13 years would have. I’m still figuring out who I am, what I love, what makes me happy and I’d like to do it gracefully, without Instagram’s help, thank you very much!

No, I’m not leaving Insta. I just need to not go in the search section and drool over other people’s lives. I’ve got my own life right here in front of me!

Here is the real me. It’s at least the me that Justin and the kids have to see every day (and my best friends when I send it in a text to let them know what kind of day I’m having)!



  1. shellee on January 21, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Love this blog, Jen. You just made me smile…..big. Thank you!

  2. Dorine on January 21, 2015 at 9:33 am

    so good..so true…thanks for sharing…and thanks for being real <3

  3. pj on January 21, 2015 at 9:34 am

    What’s funny is you are the perfect, cool mom in my eyes while I’m the schlop. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Mom on January 21, 2015 at 9:46 am

    This is an amazing blog, Jen! I love that you’re writing again! Love you!

  5. Lisa Grier on January 21, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Love this Jen!

  6. Amy on January 21, 2015 at 5:54 pm


  7. Adam on January 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    You’re truly your own worst critic. You’re 10x more interesting of a life than any of those people. You’ve always had the best sense of humor and your photos are always amusing, so please never stop wearing your life. (c:

  8. Hillary Chavis on January 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Lyndz shared this & I’m glad she did! We are a culture so obsessed with youth & “perfection” (or at least the appearance of it, right?). I think SoCal gives you an extra dose of this with it’s $$$, beaches & close proximity to Hollywood. When we first moved there I remember walking through the mall behind 2 stylish girls with long bleach blonde hair. When they turned around it was a elderly Mom & teenage daughter! Like you I’ve thought a lot about that moment. I liked reading your perspective 😉

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