Parents

Plus-size model Tess Holliday tells it like it is as a new mother: 'I'm crying'

Tess Holliday is a force of nature and she's one of our favorite people at TODAY.

For one thing, she was People magazine's first size-22 model in 2015 and she regularly stands up as a positive force when it comes to body shaming (including during her recent pregnancy).

My loves & I celebrating Bash's 4th bday today 💘🎉 #sebastiantaylorthomaz #effyourbeautystandards hair by @yuichi0503

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But long workdays as a model and lifestyle guru paired with a teething baby (little Bowie is now eight months) are taking their toll, as she noted in a tearful Instagram photo and heartfelt message posted Monday that went viral.

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

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RELATED: Plus size model Tess Holliday strikes back after comments about pregnancy weight

Whether you're a parent or not, you'll want to read the whole post. Holliday notes that she's responsible for putting herself into a business where looks are important — but we all get what it's like to feel overwhelmed.

Still, it's very much in character for her to share with the world something that many new parents won't admit: sometimes you just can't do it all.

"When I wrote the post, I had just finished crying for an hour and Bowie was crawling all over the bed," Holliday told TODAY. "I knew it was temporary, but I had reached my breaking point."

This isn't Holliday's first experience as a mom; her son Rylee will be a teenager soon. But Bowie, whose dad is fiancé Nick Holliday, has come along in the midst of Tess' red-hot modeling and activism career, which makes this round of parenting very different from the first. (And let's face it, every new child is a new experience for a parent.)

Soooo this happened now 😭 I can stand, motherlovers! ⏱Two minutes later... I can walk, motherlovers! Look how proud he is! #37weeks

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"My first son was like a potato, he was a lazy baby," she recalls. "You could put him down anywhere and he'd hang out. Bowie is constantly into things. He's a lot more work."

To no one's surprise, she has already snapped back and posted a follow-up picture brimming with happiness and amazing hair:

RELATED: Tess Holliday shares breast-feeding photo: 'Working moms come in all shapes, sizes'

Part of that is thanks to the strong response she's received from fans and fellow parents, which has helped her get on a more even keel, despite the stress about bedtimes with Bowie.

"I realize now it's OK to ask for help," she says. "It's OK to cry and be frustrated, that's normal and that's part of it. It's just nice to realize I'm not alone."

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