This picture is fake news.
Every year, I take my boys to the pumpkin patch and stick them in a wheelbarrow to chronicle the season.
This time, Baby David would be joining us.
I dressed the boys in matching shirts and Baby David in overalls.
But if I’m honest, I was a little irritated that day. A lot of things went wrong … and on top of that, I spent way too much time looking for socks for the boys.
When we got to the pumpkin patch, I chose the color of the wheelbarrow with my finished picture in mind.
I picked out a pumpkin, with the picture in mind, and I arranged the boys in the wheelbarrow with the baby in the middle all with the picture in mind. As irritated as I was, and after all my hard work, all I had to do was get all the boys to look at me and smile at the same time.
My husband, Paul, was standing very close to the boys in the wheelbarrow. And in annoyance, I asked him to “move out of my frame”.
Y’all don’t know, but Crazy Photographer Mom was in full effect. As he tip-toed out of the frame, I saw that he was trying to tell me something. I didn’t care to ask him what it was. And before Paul could gather the words to kindly warn me about the wheelbarrow, it started to fall.
It began to fall with all three of our boys and a pumpkin in it.
It was like time froze. I’ve never seen anything fall so slowly in my life.
Gravity had given me the side eye and was trying to teach me a lesson.
I felt like I was watching the Titanic sinking.
The boys hit the ground unharmed… and the pumpkin rolled and wobbled on the ground next to them, as punctuation to what just happened.
I stood there stunned, and Paul was still standing where I told him to.
This had to be the longest five seconds of my life.
I looked around in embarrassment to see if anyone would notice us picking our boys up off of the ground.
Crazy Photographer Mom hadn’t gone anywhere. I dusted the boys off, consoled David, told PJ to stop his fake ugly cry, moved the wheelbarrow to a more stable area, and tried to take the photo again.
But this time the boys were SALTY. I mean, SALT-TEEY
David cried out of shock, they consoled each other, and PJ tried to seize the moment to give a dramatic recap. (HE TRIIIIED… but we shut that down quickly.)
Eventually, I got this picture.
It’s cute, and the boys look happy. (David still wasn’t having it)
But this picture doesn’t tell the whole story.
This picture doesn’t tell the story of a mother who had a rough day. Who had to tell her son that they couldn’t make it to the pumpkin patch on two separate occasions already. It doesn’t tell the story of a mama who couldn’t find socks because all of the laundry was dirty. It doesn’t tell the story of a mother with an attitude, who’s not in the moment, and who’s only there for the photo opt. And it doesn’t tell the story of a mother who just told her helpful husband to get out of the way.
Sometimes us moms see other moms posting perfect pictures of their children on social media. I do it all the time, I’m a crazy photographer mom for goodness sake. I thrive on cuteness overload and good light. But if you look behind the scenes of a photo, you’ll find the truth. You’ll find a mother who wants to capture a moment when her children are happy, no matter what’s actually happening.
Mamas don’t stop posting your cute pictures and videos. And when you see another mama’s good moment, don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to her highlights.
Motherhood isn’t always easy, but the content on your social media feeds doesn’t always tell you that.
Motherhood needs grace, but you may not find that on Instagram.
Motherhood can be challenging, even when Pinterest makes it seem easy.
Motherhood can be complicated when TikTok makes it seem simple.
What I believe for you
Your real life won’t compare to what you see on your screen, but God’s love and grace is the bridge between you and perfection.
So don’t compare yourself to another mom’s picture-perfect moments. Trust that she has behind-the-scenes too. God made you your child’s mother, and HE has the most perfect picture of your motherhood in mind. Ask Him to show you HIS image of you, and if you get discouraged about your behind-the-scenes or another mama’s highlight, take a peek at God’s gracious image of your motherhood. Remind yourself of this daily, because HIS image is the only one that we should compare ourselves to.