Actress Vanessa Lachey is getting real about motherhood as she empowers other parents to share their truth through a new campaign.
Lachey is mom to Camden, 6, Brooklyn, 4 and Phoenix, 2, who she shares with husband and singer, Nick Lachey. Today, she is introducing “This Is Parenthood” –a 16-minute YouTube documentary featuring real-life stories from 86 parents including moments of pregnancies, first birthdays, back-to-work transitions and the relationships between partners.
In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Lachey said she hopes the film normalizes raw conversations surrounding family life.
“I feel like most aren’t open to talking about it because they’re scared,” said Lachey, who joined the company WaterWipes as it launches the global project, #ThisIsParenthood. “They’re scared that people are going to say, ‘There’s a mom that didn’t have it together.’ [But] none of us have it together.”
“I just hope people can be real with themselves,” she added. “I think they’ll feel better and hopefully it will create this ripple effect.”
On struggling to reveal her own truths
Lachey said she understands why parents may hesitate to open up about their failures since she herself faced judgement for revealing her struggles after welcoming her first-born, Camden, in 2012.
“I started doing research on postpartum and I did not have postpartum depression — the reason I say that is because I don’t ever want to downplay or negate what women truly go through,” Lachey said, adding that she had a version of the disease called “baby blues.” “I opened up about it. I remember people actually criticized that I felt that way [saying], ‘Oh you didn’t love your kids right away?’ I was like, ‘Woah, woah. That wasn’t the point of this.'”
“I think that this is a big reason as to why a lot of people aren’t open to the honesty of parenthood because you’re putting yourself out there and you’re being extremely vulnerable and you’re allowing yourself for open criticism.”
The power of parenting in the world of social media
Lachey is someone who openly shares her family’s life with fans on social media. As part of their global research within the campaign, Lachey’s partners at WaterWipes found that parents feel pressure to be perfect after spending time on social media.
Lachey said she tries to be mindful of what she posts so that her life doesn’t appear so flawlessly filtered.
“I remember [my kids] were hugging…as I was going to post it I remember feeling like, ‘This isn’t normal,'” Lachey said. “There were 30 pictures and this was the only one where they’re smiling and not killing each other…I remember feeling like if I was another mommy and I saw this I’d be like, ‘Of course her kids have matching clothes and they’re smiling.’ So I wrote in the caption, ‘Don’t let this picture fool you. They’re not always like this.’
“It’s about finding balance. “We put so much pressure on ourselves in trying to be what it is on social media then feel disempowered — we feel like we’re not the picture perfect parent.”
The importance of leaning on your partner
Lachey said the documentary, which also explores love between partners, reminded her how crucial her relationship with her husband is, both for them as a couple and for their children.
We put so much pressure on ourselves in trying to be what it is on social media then feel disempowered.
“We created this family and we started this party of five together,” she said. “The first time that Brooklyn is going to see how a man’s going to treat a woman is watching Nick and the first time Camden is going to see how a man and a wife interact is [by watching] me and Nick and so we don’t actually give them lessons like a school book. It’s all subconscious and that’s even more scary to think they’re all soaking it all in.”
With three kids and two demanding careers, Lachey said she and her husband make it a point to say one thing every day that they appreciate about one another.
“It takes all but 3 minutes and it’s been really great for us,” she explained. “He was away doing a performance and I texted, ‘I love you. Goodnight. I appreciate how hard you work for our family. He wrote back, ‘Love you. Goodnight. I appreciate how amazing of a mom you are when I’m away.’ And so it just made me feel good. I saw that and I said, ‘He does see me.'”
Don’t forget about *you*
Besides acknowledging your partner, Lachey is encouraging parents to take time for themselves and recharge.
“It’s also showing them that I’m not dropping everything in my world to make them the priority,” Lachey said. “I know that might sound negative at first but if you really think about it, when they step into school or into the work environment or into another relationship or into life, they will be faced with that. I’m giving that to them in small doses and in a safe environment where they’re going to have to figure out self-gratification, independence.”
She went on, “There’s no cookie-cutter way to do it. We all love differently. We all execute differently and we all have to make it work differently…I hope this [campaign] is, even if it’s a tiny bit, the start of parents feeling better about themselves and being OK to not have it all together.”