I was thinking about this as my husband and I tried to address and stuff the almost 30 Christmas cards of this picture to our friends and family (and this was the shortened list because I knew this would be no easy task). My husband, always the letter writer in the family, was meanwhile hand-writing short notes to each of his aunts and uncles. It sounds like a magical night during the Christmas season. Mommy, Daddy, baby boy and holiday traditions (and don't forget the beautiful picture on the cards!).
In actuality, the scene was anything but picture perfect.
My son, in between pulling my hair and attempting to prevent me completely from writing, scattered an entire bag of Christmas candy across the living room and threw each and every item (envelopes, cards, paper, stamps, return address labels, my list) from the coffee table to the floor (multiple times). Every few seconds my husband or I seemed to throw out a half-hearted "don't eat that!" "that's not yours, Liam; put it back" "there's no reason to whine" "play with one of your toys" or "let Mommy write, PLEASE."
We barely managed to address and label 3/4 of them (which became my goal for the night part-way through because one can only handle so much crying!). There was no drool or serious folds in any of them (who knew that could feel like such an accomplishment?). Liam had multiple tantrums/crying fits and there was snot running down his face by the end of it.
I really wish I had a picture of our living room and his face. It was in stark contrast to the pictures we sent out today, but, you know what? I wish I had a picture not only because it would be fun to share it with you, but also because that is a memory I know I will cherish (and laugh about) someday with my husband. "Remember that time when Liam was one and we tried to get our Christmas cards together just a bit too close to his bedtime?"
That memory isn't quite as pretty as the card we sent out, but isn't real life better anyway?
This hits home for me because I often find myself comparing myself to other moms. Craftier moms, ones that make pancakes in the shape of snowmen and a sandwich that looks like Rudolf. But, you know what? There's more to every story than what we see on blogs, Facebook, and Pinterest. We don't know what's behind all those pictures.
I want to challenge us mothers to be real with each other. That's how we can best help each other through this crazy beautiful mess called motherhood.
Parenting is messy, stinky, slobbery, urine-soaked, snot-covered, and in general, just not picture perfect. But it is beautiful, fulfilling, heart-warming, love-filled, kiss-covered, and snuggly. Now, tell me, what could be better than reality???