Vanessa Lachey on parenting: ‘We are all constantly struggling daily’

Vanessa and Nick Lachey are that rare picture-perfect celebrity couple who remain non-annoying and stay in their lane. I’m not saying they should, I wouldn’t mind it if they hustled a little more, but we see them so rarely that when they do have something to promote I pay attention. So it is with a new 19 minute YouTube video Vanessa is promoting for WaterWipes baby wipes. It’s a documentary chronicling the first year of parenthood for parents around the globe, with a focus on how difficult it can be, and how much pressure there is to present a perfect image. You can watch it here. Vanessa is promoting it by conveying their core message: that parenting is hard, that no one has it together, and that social media presents a false image. She did an interview with People Magazine in which she said that she fails a lot and that’s ok. Vanessa and Nick have three kids, sons Phoenix and Camden, two and six, and daughter Brooklyn, aged four. Vanessa had a rough pregnancy with Phoenix and had to get emergency surgery for his birth, which was ten weeks early.

“We all are constantly struggling daily, but that’s also the beautiful side of parenthood,” she continues.

“I have tons of fails,” Vanessa adds. “Probably daily fails that range from something as simple as missing the bus to school because I couldn’t get [the kids] together at the door, to forgetting something that they were supposed to bring for their project at school, to snapping at a knee-jerk reaction and saying something you regret … they range…”

Adds Vanessa, “We’re all guilty of [only showing the ideal side of parenting on social media] because our kids all do cute things and we all want to share it with the world, but there’s also another side that people are afraid to talk about because it’s making yourself vulnerable to criticism…”

“I thought I had figured out,” she explains of her first pregnancy with Camden, noting how everything was perfectly organized and ready for his arrival. “Then comes this little person, who, every pitch they throw is not a fastball down the middle — it is a curveball.”

Instead of having expectations, schedules and plans, Vanessa reveals motherhood for her is now about “embracing the fails, the unknowns, the spontaneous moments, and embracing the now.”

“For me, it’s been about being able to accept all the unknown and not feeling like I’m not prepared or I’m not a good mom and realizing that this is parenthood,” she says. “This is who I am, this is how I’m gonna be a better mother and a better wife and a better friend — by not having it all in this perfect cookie-cutter fashion, but realizing that it’s a beautiful mess.”

She also hopes that by speaking out about the imperfections and challenges of parenthood, it will change the stigma and global conversation to empower moms and dads around the world.

“If we actually stopped and realized that we’re not all failing, we’re really trying to just be good parents and good people,” she tells PEOPLE. “It’s just changing the way we think. … We’re not gonna change the hardships in life and the failures — that’ll still all be there — but we’re not gonna see them as that.”

[From People]

I watched about half of the documentary and it’s very well done in that the families are diverse and interesting and they have beautiful footage of the babies. The parents are relatable and down to earth too, just like Vanessa and Nick. I was especially touched by a British mom, a hairdresser who brings her baby to work with her and still feels guilty about not being able to be with him enough. This is a genius campaign. As for Vanessa and Waterwipes message, I agree and I only have one kid. When he was little it was incredibly hard. I can’t imagine having more than one kid and/or having to go back to work right away. I also am glad I didn’t have to keep up with social media like so many moms do. I probably would do that if I was a younger mom or if we had the technology when he was little (Facebook came later) but it didn’t exist yet and for that I’m grateful.

They are so cute together! I’ve always liked Nick especially. I don’t know Vanessa as well is all.

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Photos credit: Getty and Instagram

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29 Responses to “Vanessa Lachey on parenting: ‘We are all constantly struggling daily’”

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  1. ByTheSea says:

    I like them together, too. They just seem genuinely happy and in love.

    Now, can we get some salacious and bitchy gossip, please?? Too many happy people stories this morning. LOL

  2. LT says:

    Good message – though I’m a little surprised people need to be reminded that social media isn’t real. I’m absolutely guilty of only putting the best stuff out there – but why would I post unflattering pictures or stories? I’ve got plenty of friends who use Facebook as a diary, but I’m more inclined to just post pretty pictures and funny stories. If you want to know the messy details, you’re going to have to talk to me in real life :-) .

    • Kat says:

      I agree. Why would I even take pictures of my kids upset or having a meltdown? I like to post pics of us having fun or accomplishments.
      The only thing I disagree with is Vanessa referring to everyday occurrences as failures. I don’t know, it just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s not that we’re all failing, it’s just life. I suppose she’s using hyperbole to get her message across but it feels so dramatic.

      • TQB says:

        You can acknowledge them as “failures” or you can reframe them as just life. I tend to lean with you on that one, but whatever helps a mom who’s struggling feel like she’s doing as well as anyone else is OK with me.

  3. detritus says:

    The Cut did an interesting article about mommy blogging trends and this matches very well with the new era they labelled ‘perfectly imperfect’.

  4. Kittycat says:

    You missed Nick’s comment. He said he was reality too.

    They have a sweet relationship.

  5. Lizzie says:

    this hits me hard this morning. i just sent my 2 year old to daycare and it took me and my husband over an hour to physically wrestle a 24 lb tasmanian devil into getting dressed, fed and out the door today. she is awesome and healthy and well behaved but damn – some days it is literally impossible to pull it together. i’m actually sore. she worked us.

    • LNG says:

      Mornings can be so hard. I have a 2.5 year old and I find myself EXHAUSTED by the time I get to work every morning. I usually sit in my car for at least 10 minutes just resting from the morning ordeal (which feels like a full days work) hahaha

      • Lindy says:

        Unless I have a meeting I do the same thing! Daycare and school drop-off and then commute to the office. I head inside, get a cup of coffee, and then hide out for ten minutes before going to my desk. Even trying to be organized and pack everyone’s things the night before, mornings just feel like a mad rush.

    • Goldengirlslover34 says:

      It’s okay! Had a horrible morning with Twin B this morning. Took an hour to leave the apartment and walk two blocks to preschool. Then my husband forgot to tell me that Twin A had an accident at nap time so he had no sheets. Had to go back home and deal with goodbyes all over again. Took the two teachers to wrestle my kids bc they were feeding off each other. Turns out at the same time my firm was trying to schedule an emergency meeting bc I am usually there at 8. Didn’t get to work until 9:30 and will have to work late to get projects out today. Mornings are hard. Told my husband I quit being morning mom duty and to hire someone. It will get better (hugs)

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      I hate to break this to you, ladies, but my 10-yr old is still exhausting in the morning. I swear he would forget his own head if it wasn’t screwed on (yes, yes I did just use an old parent-ism). Forgets his backpack, coat, books, lunch, etc! Plus the incessant chatter about Minecraft or Fortnight or whatever game of the day. I just keep reminding myself that the male brain is not fully formed until the age of 25 and there is still time for him to grow out of this stage!

  6. Um says:

    Wish I could embrace the fails but my reality is just constant guilt with occasional days that I feel I did a good job.

    • Amanduh says:

      What is with all the GUILT? I stay at home with my toddler and try my best but sometimes I probably let her watch too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Daniel Tiger so I can zone out for a bit or clean the house. Shes always been an especially anxious child who is very fearful around strangers so that makes it hard to go places and make mom friends. My mother in law of course says its because I don’t get her out enough or whatever but we go places a few times a week. I mean? Shes literally been this way from birth. Yea…constantly second guessing and feeling guilty pretty much sums up motherhood for me.

    • SNAP says:

      @Um: Does that guilt ever go away? Some days i feel like the worst mom in the world. Hubby says we’re doing a great job but with two teens and two preteen stepdaughters the days are rarely neutral. It can either be lots of laughs and feel good fun one day and heart wrenching disappointment mixed with feelings of demoralization (if that makes sense) when the teens act so selfish, with a complete lack of consideration for anyone’s needs but themselves. And i think to myself “i thought i was raising you better than that, why would you choose to act that way? I give you my best and you give me a half assed, know it all attitude calling ME out on my failures all while you think you’re so perfect and have it all figured out?! I wonder why my teens are still living with me if they’re such geniouses and i’m the example of everything a mom shouldn’t be in their judgemental hormonal minds….and don’t get me started with the preteen step daughters, bcs if my own kids make me feel like sh*t, the stepkids make me want to jump off a frogging cliff….argh…sorry, had to rant. I have an adorable 6 month old, it’s like playing with a loveable fluffy kitty…i can’t help but think “don’t grow! Stay this little and lovely forever!” There’s so much about my mom that i understand now that i’m myself a mom. I hope when these guys grow up they understand me better. Here goes hoping…

      • LadyT says:

        Should a ship captain feel guilty over days with rough seas? Keep your head up. It sounds like you’re doing a fine job. You’ll get there.

      • JadedBrit says:

        @Snap I read a report in a scientific journal several years ago that claimed the brains of teenagers were remarkably similar in construct to those of sociopaths; that they scored profoundly low on the empathy scale and very highly on the narcissistic one.
        Don’t worry, they grow out of it – literally – eventually. Be assured that almost every mother of teenage girls has asked exactly the same question at some point.
        It really ISN’T you!

      • Amanduh says:

        @LadyT Thats an awesome way to put it! Thank you <3

      • Um says:

        @SNAP – I should ask my mother if it ever goes away; I’m curious. I also have a teen and a four year old. Raising a teen is harder than I ever thought it and has more guilt. At least with little kids you can tell yourself “I keep him fed and clothed and a roof over his head and he gives me hugs and loves being around me, so I must be doing okay.” My teen just screws up so much at school and complains that I don’t make dinner every night and then when I do complains about what I make and doesn’t even really want to be around me unless I force him to hang out with me and even then he can be annoying as hell and not that pleasant to be around. I feel guilty saying this but it’s true! The teen years truly feel like they are something to get through, not really enjoy on a day to day basis.

        I like what you said LadyT. I’ll have to remember that.

  7. manda says:

    I only remember him from his show with jessica simpson and he seemed pretty nice and a pretty good husband. Like, I remember him cleaning the pool and making that room into a walk-in closet for her (I mean, he paid a contractor, but he arranged it). It was so unsurprising when they split. I remember vanessa from mtv, I guess she was a vj? maybe she was on a show? I remember she also seemed nice. So it’s not surprising she and nick have worked so well, because they both seem nice (haha)

    (it seems like a million years since I watched either mtv or vh1. I miss those channels from the 90s–would die for some house of style or sex in the 90′s reruns. Although I did watch them a million times back when they were on)

    • elimaeby says:

      I feel like a weirdo, because I only remember her from the knife-play pictures with Lindsay Lohan years ago (I think around 2007).

    • MissyLynee says:

      I met her years ago at a Yankee game and she was just so nice. Almost overly so, but it was genuine. She brought her mom and cousin to the game with her. Just so sweet and chatty with me while waiting for the elevator. Hopefully she hasn’t lost that.

      • 90sgirl says:

        Never trusted her, because she was Jessica’s friend, so was surprised she ended up marrying Nick.

  8. CharliePenn says:

    This all resonates with me. The fails! Yes I feel like every day there’s something that I didn’t do well enough or straight up failed to do. I have mom guilt and I work against it but it’s there… my two kids are such an incredible blessing, such a cosmic gift to me, that I often feel like I’m not worthy and I’m not doing it well enough. I’m a stay at home mom and I still worry that I’m not having enough quality time with my little kids. And I worry that by not working I’m not setting the best example for my daughter. How crazy does that sound?! But being a parent is a crazy echo chamber of “what if” and “I only get one chance at this” and “is this good enough?!”.
    And at the end of the day I often have to ease myself down from a place of over analysis, guilt, exhausted frustration. I have to lay with them as they sleep and let myself be in the present and just accept, accept, accept.
    My social media does portray many of their most beautiful moments… but I don’t see why I would share a picture of my daughter ripping a poopy diaper out of my hands or my son having a meltdown because it’s time to turn off the TV, or me crying while hiding in the bathroom for five minutes. lol I think most people realize at this point that social media captures the best and forgets the rest.

  9. Eliza says:

    When I saw their picture my honest reaction was “oh I totally forgot about them”

    As for waterwipes, yes! My daughter got terrible rashes from every sensitive / organic brand we had to go to washcloths to get the irritation to go away, then we tried water wipes. No flare up. And i didn’t have to use cloths anymore!!!!

  10. mtam says:

    What do they do now? I googled it but couldn’t find anything beyond their 2017 Dancing with the Stars gig.

  11. Mia44 says:

    Reading the comments on here made my day
    I have two 5 yr old boys and one has social anxiety/separation anxiety. Both literally wear me out. Everyday. I look at other couples and my husband and I wonder what we are doing wrong. When they go to bed; we both pass out. We are so worn out, barely have time for our marriage and I tell myself this has to get better. These two suck every single ounce of energy out of me-I love them so much and would jump in front of a train for them if need be; but motherhood with two hyper active mouthy boys is so so hard. I go to work and consider it a reprieve and driving home know I’m in for another marathon with my second job (pickup/bath/dinner). I always wonder if I’m just missing the mother gene…..

    • Mstak says:

      You’re not. You sound like a wonderful mom. But it’s hard to give when you’re not replenishing your own stores. So important to care for your mental wellbeing-/ easier said than done. Some days I fluctuate between immense satisfaction and extreme frustration. Bed times are just the worst most days.

  12. Loca says:

    Both Nick and Vanessa look amazing. Still in shape young looking and fit. Body goals and the kids are very cute.