Finger corrections and shoes in the mouth -- this is motherhood.
Well, at least according to the above image.
A while back I had some headshots taken, and my fantastic photographer also happened to capture some authentic, unstaged and real images of my family in our natural habit - our home.
I'll be honest with you -- I forgot about these "day in the life" images and only ever remembered the headshots until a few days ago when I was perusing my computer files.
This photo; the one above - ugh! It makes me cringe.
There I am, decapitated by the camera (thank goodness 'cause who knows what monster mommy face would have looked like at that moment) in all my finger-correcting glory.
And, front and center are my youngest holding what I thought was a bagel and my middle child, my son, stealing a bite of it.
But, wait; that's not a bagel.
Nope. It took me a minute, but that's a flip-flop; a dirty flip-flop in my son's mouth and he's not feeling bad about it - not in the least.
Instead, he -- insanely focused on the camera that he knew was aimed at him -- ate up his few minutes of fame (and a shoe) while I clearly screwed mine up, only to have it documented for all eternity (or at least until my computer crashes).
So why in the world would I choose this image to share with others?
Well, because, though this photograph embarrasses me slightly, it really just makes me laugh.
It makes me laugh because of how accurate a depiction it is of my life and the debauchery and corrections that take place inside of my home, and keeping it real, sometimes inside of Target, Publix, at the park, the museum, you get the picture.
It also makes me laugh because I'm pointing my finger at the usual listener, while the usual suspect is up to typical suspect things.
Why else does it make me chuckle?
Because it is a clear example of how mothers and parents, in general, confuse their finger for the place where their power comes from when really, our influence comes from our words, our actions, our expressions and our responses to things.
Considering the number of times I point my finger in an attempt to let my three offspring know I am in charge, you would think my finger would have fallen off by now as result of its overuse.
So, here I am with a grin stretched across my face, happily sharing this image.
Many of us share our life on social media these days, and I've stated numerous times that I have no problem filtering my images; that images cannot be edited in a way that removes the emotion from the picture. Filters also cannot mask the authenticity of the feelings of the people who are in the photo.
Most of us, do a pretty good job of sharing our photographs with a balance of altered and unaltered photos.
There is so much to be said for parents, moms and dads, who are willing to share with others these real moments that are making up our parenthood journey.
When you can own that you are imperfect and then be bold enough to let others in on your little secret, you are doing a tremendously brave and selfless act of service to others around you, possibly on a similar journey, who need to feel a little less alone and a little more support.
Maybe sharing my toddler's epic meltdown because I refused to do laundry when she asked me to makes another momma feel less worried about the tantrums happening in her home. Or maybe, my photo simply entertained her and evoked a belly laugh and perhaps, she really needed that release.
Maybe sharing an image of me crying while cleaning dog crap lets another momma know that her tears over some spilled milk this morning are normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe she read my words which accompanied the photo and was appreciative to be on the receiving end of a message on perspective reminding her that though it's okay to lose it, we always have to seek to get it back.
So, maybe today, me sharing this image with you -- me in all my finger-correcting glory and my youngest feeding my middle son a dirty shoe which he happily accepts -- will give you enough encouragement to believe in yourself and know that you are doing a good job.
You are obviously doing better than me.
And I don't mean that in a self-critical way.
I've come to the point in my life, at age thirty-two with three kids, where I am accepting that I am a mess.
I'm a mess, and I'm fully okay with it. There; I said it!
I'm okay with it because though I'm a mess, I'm still really freakin' intelligent.
I'm a mess, but I'm also insanely motivated to be a little bit less of one.
I'm a mess, but I do my mess pretty well, and so I'm kind of proud of that.
I'm a mess, but I'm still beautiful; something that both my husband and children remind me of every day.
I'm a mess, but I've got a husband that loves me.
I'm a mess, but I've loving children that want to be around me.
I may be a mess, and this picture may depict it well for you, but I'll say this -- I think you're probably a mess, too, and I mean that in the kindest way possible.
By sharing how messy we are and all of our imperfections with one another, we are letting each other know that authenticity is beautiful and it's impressive. It's quite simply one small way by which we can grow our village to be a world full of parents, women and men, who are not ashamed of our "crazy," our "mess," our mistakes or our unbecoming photos.
Today I share this image with you all because in my home, with three under the age of seven, finger-corrections and shoes in the mouth pretty much depicts my current stage of motherhood.
This is my life, and these are my loves, and together, we are a mess. But, I am going to continue to share my parenthood journey, and this is me pointing my finger at you encouraging you to continue to share yours because you never know whose life you may affect with your imperfect photos and the stories behind them.