The other morning all three of my boys were fully dressed and playing together. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to grab my camera and take a picture of this rare moment. Our youngest little one was not very excited; he didn’t like having to sit in the middle of his brothers for a photo.
It is hard to always get that perfect photo with children, especially one where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. Our efforts to get a Pinterest perfect photo often look more like something you would see on the “awkward family photo” website.
When I look at pictures of my family throughout the years with heads turned, t-shirts inside out and dirty faces, these pictures make me giggle, and I think truly represents who we are as a family.
There is nothing wrong with a good family photo – we actually do have a few of those too. But it made me think about our daily lives. I wonder if we are always striving to have that picture perfect life to those around us? Are we afraid that people might really see the imperfections and the struggles we all experience in our lives and families? Do we only want people to see us when we are all smiling and looking good? I know I struggle with that often: what do people think of me?
At the beginning of summer, I took the boys to our local duck pond; we were having a great time. I had our youngest son in the stroller, and the bread we were feeding the ducks was in the bottom of the stroller. I had bent down to grab some more bread when I heard a car honking very loudly. I looked up only to see the stroller heading toward the duck pond. I had forgotten to put the brakes on and as I had turned my back to reach the bread, the stroller rolled off, baby inside too.
Thankfully, I was able to grab it before it got to the water. After everything had simmered down, I remember feeling so embarrassed and mortified. What would the people at the duck pond watching this think of me, and maybe what I was concerned about most was – what did they think of me as a mother?
I know I struggle with wanting to look good to those around me. I want people to think I am doing a good job. There is always that fear inside me of rejection. If they really see who I am, will they still love and accept me through my imperfections, struggles and bad days?
When I let my guard down and allow others to see who I really am, I know that those are the times I am able to really connect with other people.
I am always thankful for when I see that in others. It makes me want to get to know them and understand their lives, imperfections and all. In some ways, I am actually thankful that they don’t have it all together. This is not because I want to see people struggle or that it makes me feel better, but more because I know that we can actually connect, encourage, love and pray for each other through those struggles, hard times and imperfections.
I think people are waiting to see that there is someone out there that is just like them, whether it is a duck pond mishap or something more serious that has happened.
Those times when we let others see that we don’t live a picture perfect life is a time of freedom for us all, but also when long, lasting friendship and connections are made with other people.
Jayne Gautreau is married with three sons. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms.