Tess Holliday’s Instagram feed is full of glamorous photos of her on various modeling jobs and goofing around with her fiancé and two sons.
But on Sunday, February 26, after a sleepless night with her 8-month-old son, Bowie, the size-22 beauty took to Instagram with an emotional post.
“This is the reality of being a mom. I've been up since 3 a.m., and every time I get Bowie to sleep and try to lay him down, he wakes up. He is teething and has no clue I have to work today,” the body-positive activist wrote, posting a makeup-free photo that shows tears streaming down her cheeks. “I’ve been crying for nearly two hours, and I'm crying as I write this. I've reached my limit, exceeded it to be honest.”
This is the reality of being a mom. I've been up since 3 am, & every time I get Bowie to sleep & try to lay him down, he wakes up. He is teething & has no clue I have to work today, & most days I can work 15 hour days, take care of both boys & put some lipstick on & deal with it. Most days I drink my coffee & smile at every little thing he does thinking it's the best thing in the world, but not today. I've been crying for nearly two hours, & I'm crying as I write this. I've reached my limit, exceeded it to be honest. My confidence has taken a blow with this birth & it wasn't until this morning I realized why. The pressure of "looking good" for a living is too much today. When your face is breaking out from the hormones of breastfeeding + total exhaustion from lack of sleep, bags under your eyes, patchy red skin & to top it off no energy to work out or leave my bed.. how do you do it? How do you feel confident in your skin & feel like you aren't letting the client down by showing up exhausted & disheveled? Yes, I chose a career based on my looks & I'm the first one to say that beauty isn't what should drive you, it's certainly not what motivates me. As a working mom in an industry that's as critical as mine, where is the line? The balance? The compassion? Is any career understanding when you show up at negative 10% because your kids wouldn't let you sleep & you want to hide under your covers & cry? Not many. I hope one day that changes & society views mothers as the flawed human beings we are that are just trying to keep our shit together like everyone else. #effyourbeautystandards #workingmoms #disruptperfectmomsyndrome
The 31-year-old Mississippi native, who has opened up about her postbirth body struggles since welcoming her second son June 6, wrote about the sheer exhaustion of being a working mom.
“The pressure of ‘looking good’ for a living is too much today,” wrote Holliday, who is also mom of son Rylee, 11. “When your face is breaking out from the hormones of breastfeeding and total exhaustion from lack of sleep, bags under your eyes, patchy red skin and to top it off no energy to work out or leave my bed … how do you do it?”
The plus-size model, who has also designed clothing for larger women, admits that image is important in her line of work.
“Yes, I chose a career based on my looks and I'm the first one to say that beauty isn't what should drive you, it's certainly not what motivates me,” she wrote. “Is any career understanding when you show up at negative 10 percent because your kids wouldn't let you sleep and you want to hide under your covers and cry? Not many.”
The photo immediately went viral, with more than 68,000 likes in less than 24 hours and thousands of supportive comments from fellow moms: “You’re my inspiration. Being a mom myself is hard sometimes,” wrote model Lady Chapell. Said Steeped Tea blogger Quelia Cormier, “Sending you love a[nd] strength. From one mother to another.”
Holliday, who has been engaged to Australian artist Nick Holliday for three years (and adopted his name in 2015) told Us Weekly that she wasn't anticipating such an outpouring of support. "To be honest, I totally reached a breaking point and realized that my pain could possibly be helpful to other moms who might feel the same way, " she told Us. "I wasn't expecting all of the love, and it's really reminded me that I have so much support around me."
Ending her post, she wrote of her wish for working moms in the future: “I hope one day that changes and society views mothers as the flawed human beings we are that are just trying to keep our s—t together like everyone else,” she wrote, hashtagging her post with #effyourbeautystandards #workingmoms #disruptperfectmomsyndrome”
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