We’ve got this incredible picture that would hang over our fireplace of when the kids were younger. It’s one of those family photos that you see in magazines. It’s perfect! All of our kids (we had 5 at that time) are sitting perfectly and a row. They all have the most angelic smiles on their faces and if you look real close, you can see just a hint of sparkle in everyone’s eyes. I’m not kidding you… it’s that good! I loved seeing that picture hanging there above the fireplace. It brought a smile to my face every time.
Now, with that being said, you have to know something. The smile on my face had nothing to do with the photo itself. As a matter of fact, I gladly admit that I think “perfect” photos are boring. What makes me smile is fact that not only do I own that one “perfect photo”, but I also own the 7 “imperfect photos” that preceded it. Now these pictures are truly awesome!
One little boy picking his nose.
A dad lecturing him as to why this is neither the time nor the place for that.
A one-year-old girl making every attempt to exit the scene.
A little boy arguing his point as to why he had no choice but to clear his nasal passageway.
And the same dad threatening the little boy within an inch of his life that if he doesn’t “turn around, sit still, and smile, there will be no need for him to be in the photo.”
Now, those are great shots!
You might not have seen my family picture above the fireplace, but I’m sure you’ve seen ones just like them. Our Facebook feeds are full of them. Perfect smiles, perfect behavior, perfect families! They’re a constant reminder of how imperfect your family is. It’s a bitter sweet thing to look at these photos.
“Good for them.”
“Don’t they look beautiful.”
Why didn’t we get our family picture like that? Oh wait, I remember, it’s because my family looks nothing like that. I’m happy if everyone is fully dressed. Who cares if we’re all matching? And sitting still… well, that’s just ridiculous!
When we see perfect photos of perfect families we need to remember that there are very few people willing to post the imperfect ones, BUT make no mistake, they have plenty of imperfect ones.
Why are we so fast to compare our family with those we see? I find it ironic that we teach our little girls that the magazine models with the Barbie doll figures have all been touched up and changed. We teach our kids that it’s the inside that counts, and that nobody is perfect and yet we can’t help but to compare the “perfect” family with our “imperfect” one.
Guess what? Most of us “imperfect” families are just perfect the way we are! Hey, over-worked Dad and stressed out mom, Relax a little. You’re not alone. You’re just like us. We’re trying to do our best at being good parents and parenting is a hard thing to do.
We’re all awesome parents… until we mess up.
But then we apologize, make the needed changes, and move on and try our best again… and again… and again.
So be encouraged!
If you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, do me a favor. Take down a few of your “perfect photos” and start posting a few of the imperfect ones. It’ll help the rest of us relax a little and enjoy parenting instead of always feeling guilty for not being able to stop the little boy from picking his nose. – Just saying