In a hilarious Facebook video that’s gone viral with 136,000 views and 45,000 likes, the Maryland mother of three daughters, ages 6, 15, and 18, describes the angst of walking her kindergartner to the bus stop among the “fancy” moms who inhabit her neighborhood.
Wearing a hair bonnet and a T-shirt from the day before — scooped up from the bathroom floor and given the armpit “whiff test” — Walters, 32, says, “We’re not faking the funk. I haven’t showered yet. All I did was wash my face and brush my teeth because, real life — don’t judge me.”
Calling her parenting style a “functional hot mess,” Walters explains that her 6-year-old just started kindergarten at a school in the family’s new “razzle dazzle” neighborhood, and walking the girl to the bus stop has been a “traumatic” experience. That’s because the neighborhood moms seem to lead perfect lives, particularly one woman who makes Walters feel particularly inadequate.
Nervously peering out the window of her home, Walters points out the woman’s so-called flaws: “She’s so fancy … she’s skinny and she wears tennis clothes and a visor every day … she kisses her kids on the top of their head … she’s just so good at life.”
Walters describes her “soul killing” efforts to fit in with her bus stop peers, with small talk about the weather. Her camera then zooms in on the mother in question, walking alongside Walters’s nanny, Diane, who wore a blazer for the occasion.
When Diane arrives home, Walters grills her for details, reminding the woman that she forgot her cute travel accessory: a cup of coffee. “She had a nice mug too. It was probably from Crate & Barrel,” adds Walters, revealing her collection of “regular” mugs in her kitchen cabinet.
Walters also shares an awkward encounter with the “perfect” mom, during which the woman had changed clothes in between pickup and drop-off, while Walters was still wearing the same outfit from that morning. “She’s so thin!” exclaims Walters. “Her calves are the same size of her thighs.”
While the video is obviously tongue-and-cheek, the social anxiety that Walters experiences is very real. “I’m not cut out for it,” she says. Her words struck a chord with Facebook fans who wrote comments such as, “OMG, this is so me!” and “I recently dealt with this when we moved to suburbia when my daughter started kindergarten. Just show up in your hot mess, who cares. It’s usually the ones that pretend to have their lives together at 8 a.m. that their world is falling apart.”
“We live in a culture that asks, ‘Are you a mom or a murderer?’ if you send your kid to school with a water bottle that contains BPA,” Walters tells Yahoo Beauty. “I always feel like I’m coming up short as a mother. However, if you’re showing up for your kids, that’s a victory.”
Mom shaming is real — according to a recent University of Michigan study, 60 percent of mothers have experienced disapproval for their parenting choices, mostly from their own family members, on topics such as their children’s diets, bedtime, discipline, and safety. Twelve percent of mothers report feeling critiqued by other parents in public, 14 percent hear criticism from friends, and — surprisingly — only 7 percent get it online.
Walters insists that her fascination with “fancy mom” stems from a desire to emulate the woman, not bash her. “Inside, we all want to be this mom, wearing size zero leggings and carrying our coffee,” Walters tells Yahoo Beauty. “I just wish mothers like her would share their secrets or their vulnerability — show up with a messy bun and an eyelash stuck to your face, so we can all feel better.”
However, there’s no doubt that Walters will recover from her morning routine. In August, after a video of her and her husband storming their daughter’s college campus with so-called missing person fliers when the teen ignored their text messages, Walters told Yahoo Beauty, “Some parents may disagree, but we are confident in our parenting.”
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