Quick! Take a picture. Now look at it.
I see a mom. Hair once brushed, but now tangled from small hands and with food streaking one side where the baby decided to try to eat it after gumming some cereal. Shirt rumpled and a little uneven from breastfeeding the baby. Skirt full of crumbs and streaked with food stains.
I see a toddler. Hair messy and out of place since he runs from combs. Shirt haphazardly tucked into his shorts because he would rather dash off after going potty than let mom fix his clothes. Lucky Charms marshmallow streaks down his shirt and covering one of Thomas the Train’s eyes. And a chocolate (?) stain on his shorts.
I see a baby, almost a year old. Rosy cheeks and food all around her mouth because she hates being wiped down. Crumbs in that fine baby hair sprinkling her head. Dress streaked with dissolvable cookie stains. Crumbs stuck to tiny hands because, again, she hates being wiped down. And paper hanging from a fist, while mom is trying to wrestle it from her grasp before it reaches baby’s mouth.
I see toys littering the floor. Dishes on the coffee table from breakfast. A pile of Cheerios sitting ready for when baby wants to eat again. Cat toys scattered around because the toddler has more fun with them. Tissues lying here, there, and everywhere.
I’m not one of those moms on social media. Blogging and a highly private Facebook account are all I have. Yet I still see those picture perfect moms and kids, house gleaming, clothes immaculate. I just smile and think, good for them. I feel no competition, no desire to be like them.
My mom always said she’d rather live in a tidy, yet still messy, home because at least it looked lived in. Mom, I agree.
I don’t have anything against those picture perfect moms. I think it’s incredible that they can balance everything. But that life isn’t for me. I like lived in.
Look at that picture again.
I see the baby, snuggled against mom. Little mouth in a big toothless smile. One small hand wrapped around mom’s hair as if to say “my mom, and don’t you take me away.”
I see the toddler, tilting at an odd angle, balanced on one foot with his arms outstetched. His eyes are half closed and his tongue is sticking out of his goofy smile. The joy is clear on his face, the big ham.
I see the mom. Me. Smiling at my babies while keeping the baby from eating paper. Laughing at the toddler’s antics. Hands holding fast to the baby, keeping her secure to my chest.
I see the floor full of toys that we all just played with. The coffee table full of the dishes we just had a snack on. The tissues I lost while attempting to clean my kids up. And the cat peeking out from a corner, wondering if it’s safe yet.
The smiles, the giggles, the fun. The playtime we all get to enjoy together. This is my picture perfect. What’s yours?