Picture Perfect

I have this fabulous photo printed as a Skin It covering my laptop and I get compliments on it constantly:

My favorite shot of Anne and Mackenzie

I always chuckle because I love the photo too, in large part because I know the backstory.

In fact, I actually keep this photo and its backstory in mind when I read other blogs.

It can be tempting to feel despondent when I’ve had a rough day dealing with poop and tantrums and I see other moms blogging photos of their kids twirling in the fall-leaves without a care in the world. The photos are crisp and vibrant. Sunshine is kissing the children’s cheeks, their hair is done, and their clothing coordinates. No poop or tears are in sight.

Heck, the simple fact that the mother had free hands to hold a camera could be a point of envy depending on the season of motherhood I’m in. 😉

What about the moms who not only make a delicious, blog-worthy dish for dinner but then have the time to take a gorgeous photo of it and actually type it up? Seeing that on a night when I burned the soup or when dinner never even made it past the the planning phase could be downright demoralizing.

Of course, the ideal is being secure enough in my own mothering that I give those Other Mothers a virtual high-five. Or maybe when I see those photos I just remind myself that My Children Want Me (a great read).

But if all else fails, I remember this photo:

My favorite shot of Anne and Mackenzie

Here’s the backstory:
That was taken by my father during Caitlyn’s newborn photo shoot. Mackenzie was close to 3 years old and having a difficult time adjusting to the birth of her sister.

“Difficult” here includes days of terrible behavior, culminating in a massive tantrum that lasted most of the photo shoot. She was hollering and crying and utterly refused to get anywhere near the bed where we were taking Caitlyn’s portraits.

I gave up completely on getting a tender shot with the sisters together. But at one point in the shoot when we were giving Caitlyn a break, I put my exasperation with Mackenzie on hold, swooped her up, tickled her belly and plopped her on the bed. She stopped being a stinker for about two seconds and broke into a grin and my dad happened to click the shutter button.

That’s the photo I get compliments on.

That’s the one I publish on my blog.

Not because I’m trying to paint a rosier picture of my life or because I’m trying to mislead my readers, but simply because that’s the moment of being a mother I want to remember!

The odds are good that for every photo like this:

or this:

… there could just as well have been one of a sink full of dirty dishes, a dusty bookcase, or a window I haven’t washed in the 7 years we’ve lived here (I don’t do windows).

In my house at least, there is almost always a backstory. And while that may not be true for everyone, I pretend it is and it keeps me sane. 🙂

About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Deliberate Mothering, I am a mother, Life as we know it. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Picture Perfect

  1. It’s funny because I don’t remember seeing a photo like that. It doesn’t seem to be one of the standard poses. But it worked out so beautifully… I have that 20×30″ on our walls.


  2. Maradon says:

    I check in on your blog every so often and I have to admit sometimes I think you are super mom and wonder how you do it all, especially adding in school and heck just making dinner. I struggle everyday to get anything done. It’s nice to know you have the typical mommy moments and your photo is awesome!


  3. Lonica says:

    I really needed to hear this. Sunday night I shut my computer (after reading an hour or so of blogs) and was disgruntled with my life. I’m not sure, even now, that I can exactly put my finger on it, but sometimes reading blogs can be so uplifting, other times it makes me feel like a failure. I just needed some love–or a reminder that everyone else isn’t always so perfect! Thanks for sharing.


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