How This Influencer is Redefining Motherhood Through Instagram Reels, Funny Mom Memes & Humor
EPISODE: 47 | DATE: June 17, 2021
“I want to normalize the true thoughts that all of us moms are having and are too afraid to say.”
Mary Hednricks is one of the funniest moms you’ll find on Instagram. Her dose of truth about motherhood is delivered through funny mom memes, the best Instagram reels that will have you laughing until your belly hurts, Instagram lives about topics we deal with in motherhood, and so much more.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with her to talk about her account, her life as a mother, and her goals moving forward. Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and settle in for the best mom date you’ve had in a while!
What was your intention when you opened up your Instagram account?
- It’s had many iterations over the last 3 years, but since changing the name to The Very Mary Life, my intention has just been to make everyone’s day merry. In a funny way.
- I hope people come to my page and walk away feeling good about something.
- My account really started to pick up steam back in May 2020 when I turned 30 and just decided to be unapologetically myself.
- Before that, I just tried to do what I saw everyone else doing on Instagram. That didn’t work for me.
What is the difference between what everyone else was doing and what is authentically you?
- I think a lot of people do a highlight reel of their best moments and best pictures.
- And all of the photos are aesthetically pleasing.
- While I do use a preset to try to make sure my page looks nice, I like to keep it real in my stories. That is where I think I set myself apart.
- In my stories, I don’t like to always show the good. Sometimes I like to get on and just say, “Today has been a really crappy day!”
- I often talk about the stuff that people don’t necessarily want to talk about. I don’t sugar coat anything.
What are your goals with your account now? What do you want to do with it to reach other moms?
- I want to normalize the true thoughts that all of us moms are having and are too afraid to say.
- I want people to come to my page and think oh my gosh, I thought this and I was so afraid to say it.
- I’m not trying to glorify the idea of being a bad mom or anything. Because I don’t think you are a bad mom unless you’re physically hurting your kids and purposefully.
- But at the end of the day, what we have deemed to be a bad mom is really a very average normal mom who is just trying to survive. And I’m just trying to normalize that.
- I think we’ve gotten into this very extreme culture of what’s a really good mom and what’s a really bad mom. And it’s frustrating!
- Especially as a stay at home mom. I feel like stay at home moms are even less “allowed” to complain because there is this idea that they chose this life. But a lot of people don’t realize that sometimes it’s not a choice.
Yes I remember you posting something about how it was cheaper for you to stay at home with your kids than it was for you to go back to work because of the cost of child care.
- Yes. I think a lot of people see stay at home moms and assume they have a ton of money and are living a life of leisure and it’s easy. And for some it is! And that’s awesome!
- But for me – we live in New Jersey – it’s a pretty expensive state. I was a personal trainer. I became one because I knew it would be a bit more flexible. And I tried returning to work only for it not to work out.
- Even sending my daughter to preschool twice a week was still pretty expensive and that’s only for 3 hours a day.
- But for childcare I would probably be spending as much as my mortgage and everything I would be doing would be going to that. And I would be away from my kids. So for me I’d rather save the hassle and stay home.
What do you think has been your favorite thing and your least favorite thing about being a stay at home mom?
- My favorite thing is being home with my kids and knowing that I have that flexibility. And having a hands-on approach with them. I get to be there. And get to call the shots with them and we get to craft our day in whatever way we want.
- My least favorite thing is the isolation.
- I think motherhood in general is really isolating. But being a stay at home mom – especially during covid where you’re not having play dates or mom dates or anything, and you’re not seeing anyone is very isolating.
- I’m home all day! I don’t have anyone else to go see except for my mom every once in a while. And it gets isolating.
- Sometimes you get back out in the real world and you sometimes don’t know how to have a conversation anymore because you’re so used to talking to your 3 year old all day. Stuff like that that I think gets hard.
- And then financially it’s hard too!
- We live perfectly fine but we also are on a budget. We don’t make a crazy amount of money. For the 2 weeks after the mortgage comes out of our account I feel like I have to stay home because I can’t spend money. So it’s things like that that you realize the sacrifices you make in order to be a stay at home mom.
Oh yes, not having your own paycheck has been a tough one for me.
- Same. I tried working when my daughter turned 1 but the day I got a job at the local gym I found out I was pregnant with my second. I was really sick and I ended up having to quit 3 months into it.
- But beyond feeling so sick, it was getting to a point where I couldn’t afford to put my daughter in childcare and be a personal trainer. I wasn’t making enough. So I would have to be paying more than what I was making and it didn’t make sense.
- It stunk because just for a second because I was like, “I’m not used to being bad at something!”
- And at that point in time, I was being bad at my job. That was a hard pill to swallow. Because I realized that there was something that mattered way more than my job, and that was my kids. And that was always going to come first.
- That was kind of hard and getting used to not having that paycheck and having my money and my husband’s money be our money – that was hard.
- I know it’s our money but it’s still his hard earned money and I feel bad spending it. It’s a big mind warp.
Money and having a paycheck really tied into my identity for me, and I personally had a huge identity crisis when I became a mom. Do you have that experience?
- Yes. I had 2 babies in 2 years. And I know I really got in a funk. It wasn’t postpartum depression.
- It was just that I really just didn’t even recognize myself. Even looking back at pictures of myself from that time. I look like I’m hollow behind my eyes.
- I just got lost in the world of being a mom where I didn’t do anything for myself. I wasn’t working out or committing to trying to set aside something for my own self care.
- I wasn’t doing the blog or Instagram at that time and if I was it was not fully in it. It got to a point where it was like I don’t know who I am right now. I feel like I’m just a mom and Mary is kind of gone. It was a funky period.
How did you pull yourself out of that period?
- When I turned 30 I declared that I would be focusing on me again.
- Even though I had been a personal trainer, I couldn’t’ figure out how to be a mom and get back into working out.
- I had a friend of mine who was also a personal trainer and I had her sign me up with a challenge. I tend to be competitive and it just reminded me that I could do it.
- The workouts were short and it was enough for me to get a reminder that was like hey – you can set time for yourself.
- Even doing something as little as that reminded me that I can go out and treat myself to something. I can go have a girls night and my husband can stay back. It was just a little push to get reminded that I matter too.
How did you make working out fit into your schedule?
- I think Covid forced everyone to workout at home.
- So obviously I had to workout at home.
- I personally don’t wake up early before the kids. I hate waking up early. I’m always tired. So I prefer not to.
- But what I try to do is either during breakfast while they’re both sitting down while they’re preoccupied and my husband is there, I’ll do something really quick.
- And if that doesn’t happen then I’ll bring the kids along or go on a run with them. Or I’ll do a workout in the living room and I’ll give them toys and I’ll let them destroy the room. As long as I can get my ½ hour in.
- And my kids are pretty good at this point of knowing when the music is on that’s what’s happening: mommy is working out.
- But I try to make it fun too. I try to involve them as much as I can or I’ll dance around with them between sets.
- I want my kids to see that working out is a part of something that mommy does each day and it’s fun. They’ll often mimic me, which is fun.
I love that idea of modeling that for your children. Sometimes I feel guilty for taking that time for myself instead of spending it with them.
- Yes it’s definitely something that you almost have to fight for.
- I think sometimes we get frustrated because we assume that the people closest to us are just going to know that we need time and we want to workout.
- But the truth is they don’t know what’s going on in your head, so you have to voice it. You have to ask for what you need.
- So if you really want or need to work out, push for it. Fight for it.
- Because it’s very easy for us to put the kids first and put our needs aside. It’s easy for us to say, “Let me not do this.” Instead of being like, “No! This is important for me. I need to go for a run. I’ll be back in 20 minutes. You’ll be fine.”
- We can’t expect other people to come to us and say, “Go take care of yourself.”
- It’s not because our spouses or whoever are being mean. It’s that they don’t’ realize what we need. Everyone is so focused in their own world sometimes that we tend to forget that sometimes we just need that push and sometimes we have to be the one that pushes ourselves.
Mom guilt and being a “good” mom:
- We’ve unfortunately gotten into a society where a sign of being a good mom is sacrificing yourself.
- We need to stop normalizing feeling like shit as moms. Honestly we are normalizing the idea that it’s ok to feel like garbage. That’s not a good sign of being a good mom! We need to stop normalizing that!
Have you and your husband found a rhythm or any best practices that you’ve found helpful to keep your relationship strong as parents?
- For us the best marriage advice has been communication.
- Relationships ebb and flow and that’s normal. But communication is key to navigating those ebbs and flows.
- There are some days and weeks where my husband and I are completely out of sync. I feel like our conversations are weird, the way we’re acting is weird, especially if there is stress at work for him. Things just kind of get wonky until they’re great again. And then they get wonky again. It’s just an ebb and flow.
- But I think the biggest thing for us has been communication.
- We did a session with a life coach that helped me realize how to have good communication. Because before I used to dump my feelings and opinions on my husband and tell him “this is what’s happening.”
- It didn’t leave any room for my husband to do anything other than defend himself.
- Now I will go to him and say, “This is how I’m feeling. How are you feeling about it?”
- Then we can have an open conversation from there.
Switching gears here to talk about your birth stories. You had a pretty traumatic birth with your first child, your daughter. Can you tell us about it?
- Yes and actually my birth stories have a lot to do with the focus of my page.
- They were actually the catalyst of figuring out what conversations weren’t happening that should be happening.
- To back up, I had the best pregnancy with my daughter. No sickness. No pain. No problems. I went into labor a few days before my due date and went to the hospital.
- I assumed I would go in, get an epidural and have the baby. I assumed I wouldn’t feel a thing.
- I didn’t research anything. I just went in assuming that I would give birth and go home.
- Unfortunately the epidural didn’t work so I was in a lot of pain that I wasn’t prepared for.
- And then when she came out, her shoulders got stuck. She had something called shoulder dystocia. So her head was out but now she was wedged.
- The docs hit code blue and probably about 50 people ended up in the room.
- I remember my legs getting flown back and someone pushing on my belly. I screamed like never before.
- The docs got my daughter out and she was a bloody mess. She was limp. She wasn’t crying for a minute and a half.
- I thought it was game over and finally she started crying. She had to go to the NICU for the rest of the time she was there.
- Her birth experience is what caused me to want to talk about things that sometimes we just don’t talk about, and one of those things is not experiencing love at first sight.
- Everyone says you’ll fall in love the moment your baby comes out.
- My situation was different and obviously it was traumatic. And there was a miscommunication where I didn’t get told that I could see my daughter for the rest of the day.
- So when I could go see her my sister came to see me and brought me down and I looked at her crying in the wheelchair and I said if you push me – if we left the hospital right now I don’t think I would care. And I started crying. I was like something is wrong with me?
- And my sister said just go and see her. And sure enough after spending time with her, that love was there. But I thought something was so wrong with me that I didn’t have
- I wasn’t head over heels and it took time because she was a brand new person!
And how did that experience compare to the birth of your son?
- I was told from there that I would have to get a C section for future pregnancies after what happened to my daughter.
- That was really upsetting to me because I never wanted a c section. For some reason I was just terrified of them.
- When I was pregnant with my son I was in a lot of pain. My pelvis really hurt.
- Despite what the doctors had told me, we had prepared to not get a C section with my son. I got midwives and hired a doula. We did hypnobirthing.
- I wanted to make sure that I could avoid what happened with my daughter as much as possible. But my son forced my hand because he was lying transverse at the end.
- So I ended up with a c section.
- It was hard because I kept thinking there is something wrong with me. There is something happening with my body and my pelvis to A) not want my babies to be birthed “correctly” and B) to not want to settle head down.
- Even now I still struggle with it where if we have a third baby, I don’t know what we’re going to do. I would love to try for a Vbac but I also have a shred of doubt in my head about what I’m capable of and I don’t like that.
- So I’m trying to process that.
That’s a lot to deal with. I recently interviewed a psychotherapist about processing our birth stories and it’s so key.
- Oh yeah.
- Though we had an elective C section with my son, I think at the end of it we were just so scared and had a little PTSD with my daughter.
- My C section was actually glorious but it was still hard. And after you have the baby, you don’t get seen for 8 weeks! And yet your child has to be in within 10 days.
- The shift moves away from mom to baby which is great. But at the same time we’re at home dealing with all of these things and we don’t have a clue what’s happening to us.
- Especially the hormone stuff. I’ve always been pretty steady in my hormones. So for me to have a huge hormonal shift where you’re crying for a few days and you feel like you can’t get your feet to be firmly planted on the ground – it’s a mind warp.
- Unless you know what to expect. Unless we talk about it, we’re all just going to sit at home thinking we’re completely alone in everything we’re feeling.
- And again it was those things that all have led me up to my Instagram where I’m like there are so many conversations that just don’t happen because we’re all so afraid of being that one person who is alone in something.
- But I guarantee there is not one thing that any of us are alone in. At all.
When did you finally experience that love for your daughter and for your son?
- A month in I realized I was in love with her.
- I had a sister who passed away when she was 20 months old. I called my mom because I remember my daughter being a month old and all of a sudden I realized that something could happen to her.
- I couldn’t protect her forever and I was anxious. Maybe it was hormones, but this anxiety all of a sudden overflowed on top of me where I almost couldn’t breathe because I was wondering how I could keep her safe forever.
- The idea that I won’t always be able to really just got to me.
- And I remember calling my mom and crying and she was like I was waiting for this day.
- Because as a mom who lived through it.
- With my son, I got so used to thinking my second child would be so much like my first, but he is so polar opposite.
- So it took me a little bit to fall in love with him. I am so caught off guard by his personality. He’s so sensitive. Such a mama’s boy. Very sensitive. Wants me all the time. He’s just a little sweet boy. I call him my sweet boy.
Can you speak to anything that helped with your recovery from your C-Section?
- Take all the help you can. Although I was really bad about that. I hate help. And that’s something I need to get better about.
- I sent my husband to work a week after I had the baby. And he said no. And he said I’ll have my mom come up and I said no. And I was fine. That’s something I probably shouldn’t do next time, though.
- What I would say is just prepare for the help and prepare for people to help you. Ask for help. Tell them where you need them.
- Scarring wise, it just took time. It’ll always look really bad at first. You’re going to have a scar. It’s so low, though. And you’ll get your core back.
- I think we also need to recognize that a c section is a major surgery.
- Ask for help, stay on top of your pain meds. Do research.
- I tell everyone, now: Even if you go in hopeful for a vaginal delivery, prepare yourself for what can happen with a c section.
- I personally still worked with midwives, even though I had a c section. My midwife came in and made sure I was being taken care of.
- And the final thing is to say that sometimes they’ll give you anti anxiety meds that can make you loopy and not remember the birth. So I prepared and talked to the anethesitolist and I talked to everyone to find out what was going to happen. Because I wanted it to be as close to a vaginal delivery as I could get and I didn’t want to forget it.
- They told me they actually didn’t need to give me anything unless I was so anxious that I couldn’t lay down on the table. There are some women who are so scared that they don’t want to lay still. So that’s why they have those meds as an option.
Ok, just to circle back: where do you get the material for your Instagram reels? They are so funny!
- I like “funny because it’s true” types of things.
- I try to nit pick my way and try to find something that is relatable.
- There is not one thing any one of us are experiencing that someone isn’t also going through.
- So I try to pick apart my day as best as I can. I listen to things very intently. I love listening to lyrics. If I hear one that I like I’ll see if I can spin it to something related to motherhood.
- In terms of other audio, I get a lot of stuff off of Tik TOk.
- When I give people Instagram tips, reels are the biggest competitor of Tik Tok. Instagram wants everyone on reels.
- So anything that starts trending on Tik Tok it will start trending on Instagram.
- I just try to stay on top of the trends as quickly as I can on Tik Tok and then bring them over to Instagram as quickly as I can.
- I try to create as many new audios as possible so people can grab them. That’s really where I get the majority of my stuff: breaking down my day and talking about an honest truth that people can relate to that we don’t talk about.
Well I love what you’re doing. Thank you for sharing today. How can we support you from here?
- I have a blog called theverymarylife so you can check that out.
- As for support on Instagram? A like, a save, a share and a comment goes a long way!
- It all matters so much. Before I really got into the Instagram game, I used to just browse and not engage.
- And now I realize how important it is to engage with someone’s stuff because it helps push their content out to a bigger audience.
- There are some people that aren’t used to engaging and they get nervous. Don’t be! I love it! If I see a brand new person I will 100% make sure to respond to you and welcome you with open arms because I want my page to be somewhere you feel so comfortable and feel like I’m a friend.
Mary Hendricks is a stay at home mom of two by day and influencer by night. Actually wait, she is a mom influencer full time but…you get the point!
Having grown her page from 350 followers to over 20,000 in under a year, Mary has created a space where even the newest follower feels like an old friend.
In constantly keeping it as authentic and honest as possible, Mary shares all things motherhood, marriage, and more. She doesn’t sugarcoat things, she just shares them as they are.
With the background of being a full-time personal trainer, Mary also incorporates her love for living a well life but like all else, does it in a realistic way.
All in all, Mary is the mom friend you not only want but also need. She’s there for a solid F bomb and there for a good cry, but more importantly, there to remind you of the good motherhood can provide and give you a good laugh along the way