In this world full of only showing our best moments and filtering the rest, we can quickly lose sight of reality. It may be a picture on social media of a family dressed in trendy clothes all smiling at the camera, a woman in the grocery store with all of her children behaving well, or a family at the restaurant having a calm conversation over a healthy meal. We see everyone’s best and have nooo idea what happened behind the scenes to achieve the image before us.
So, I’m going to get real.
Here is the truth. Here are the facts. Here is the reality.
We generally take family pictures once a year and from the hundreds taken, we may get one print worthy picture. As with most people, that one picture will get posted on social media, printed for picture frames and used as a screen saver on every device we own. People are amazed that we are able to get seven people looking at the camera with open eyes and smiles.
The truth is it was crazy hard! I ran around for weeks prior to the pictures coordinating outfits and then listening to my kids complain about their outfit. Then, I watched the weather forecast the entire week of the pictures. I prefaced the upcoming photo shoot with my kids numerous times. I maaay have even pleaded with them that “This is the one thing I want. Can you just give me an hour?” When our time to shine finally arrived, I reminded my kids that this was ‘the ONE thing.’
During the pictures, I’m constantly telling the kids to get the hair out of their face and stop touching their sibling. Of course, this is all behind my smile. Behind the photographer, my husband and I are making pooting noises because that’s what makes them laugh. It’s a three ring circus and even with ALL of our efforts, someone will have an attitude, refuse to participate, have a meltdown or all of the above. This leads to the pictures no one ever sees.
It’s a miraculous thing when kids leave the technology world to be creative. Recently, my girls watched a YouTube tutorial, collected materials and made goo. It was a Hallmark moment to see them all working together for a common cause. Or was it?
While I was very impressed with their ability to execute the task, it made a huge mess. I found goo for weeks all throughout the house. It wasn’t long after they began that I heard arguing over one person having more glue in their bowl, someone was doing it wrong and one was hogging the glue. The Hallmark moment quickly turned south and I was anxious for the science experiment to be done.
Taking our kids to run errands can be exhausting, but taking all five of them together is a decision where you find yourself weighing the risks. Most days they act like they have some morsel of common sense and people kindly comment on how well behaved they are. That’s most days….
On the other days, a simple outing becomes what I would envision trying to catch gnats would be like … in the dark … with everyone watching as you visibly get frustrated. Sometimes we have kids touching mannequins inappropriately, crawling under aisles, eating like they are pigs at feeding time and talking as if I’m five miles away.
I won’t continue, but trust me, I could … after all, REAL life is fantastically messy.
We all fumble, have embarrassing moments and points where we just laugh because that’s a better option than crying. So, while you may not always see other’s crazy moments, they do have them. We all do. It’s just the reality of parenthood.