There's an incredible picture that hung over our fireplace for years. The family photo of when our children were younger. It's one of those pictures that you can imagine seeing in a magazine. It is absolutely perfect! All of our children (5 at that time) are sitting perfectly in a row. They look like little angels. However, if you look really closely you can see a twinkle in everyone's eyes. I love that picture. It brings a smile to my face every time I looked at it. Now, it's important that you know that the reason it brought a smile to my face has nothing to do with the picture itself. What makes me smile is the fact that not only do I own one “perfect picture”, but more importantly I own the 7 “imperfect pictures” that preceded it. Now these pictures are truly awesome! They include a little boy picking his nose. A dad lecturing him as to why this is neither the time nor the place to be doing that. A 1-year-old girl making an attempt to escape the scene. The little boy arguing with his dad as to why he had no choice but to clear his nose from all obstructions. The same dad threatening the boy within an inch of his life that if he doesn't turn around, sit down, and smile, then there will be no little boy in this picture. These are great shots!
You may not have seen my family picture over my fireplace, but I'm sure you've seen ones just like it. All of social media is full of these. Perfect smiles, perfect behavior, and perfect families. For many of us, they are constant reminders as to how “imperfect” our family is. “Good for them.” “Don't they look beautiful.” “Why in the world can't our pictures to be like that?” Oh wait, I remember, it's because my family looks nothing like that! I'm happy if I can even get my kids to put the clothes on. Who cares about making sure that they match… sit still… eyes open… smile… now you're just asking for the impossible. When you see all those perfect pictures of perfect families just remember that there are very few people willing to post the imperfect pictures, BUT make no mistake, there are plenty of imperfect ones out there.
Why is it that we’re so fast to compare our family to those around us? I find it incredibly ironic that we spend so much time teaching our children to not compare themselves to others. Girls shouldn’t compared themselves to the models. Boys shouldn’t compare themselves to movie stars with stunt doubles. We teach our kids that it’s what’s 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? The truth is, most of us “imperfect” families are just perfect the way we are! Hey, overworked dad and stressed-out mom, relax a little. You're not alone. You’re just like us. Most of us are just trying to do our best at being good parents… and that’s not easy, because parenting is hard. We are all awesome parents… Until we mess up. But then we apologize, make the needed changes, and move on trying to do our best again… And again… And again. So be encouraged!
Disclaimer: if you are reading this and you have no idea what I'm talking about, please do us a favor and take down some of your perfect photos start posting a few imperfect ones. Believe it or not, it'll help the rest of us relax a little and enjoy parenting more instead of feeling guilty for not being able to stop the little boy from picking his nose.
One Change a Day!