Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

Why You Should Document the "Unhappy" Parenting Moments, Too

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


There's nothing like getting that perfect shot of the kids. It might take a dozen tries and involve a lot of shouting, but in the end, you get a photo where the kids are all looking at the camera and beaming.

Those are terrific photos, but do they depict reality?

Our average day is far from perfect, and there are very few times that our kids actually group together, strike a pose, and smile merrily at us.

So, why should our photo albums and Facebook pages be filled exclusively with these "perfect" photos?

Studies show that it can make people envious and miserable to see so much happiness. It's unnatural and even dishonest, in a way. Maybe that's why fictional dystopias like Brave New World are so disturbing.

People aren't happy all the time, and they shouldn't pretend to be. Life, by nature, is peaks and valleys with a whole lot of mundane in between.

Actually, sometimes we're just a mess.

That means the photos we choose to upload to Facebook or print at Walgreens are more of a highlight reel, and this utopian world of vacations and smiling children doesn't always represent reality.

In fact, if an archaeologist unearthed photographic artifacts of our family centuries from now, they'd probably determine that we bounced along blissfully in some kind of golden age of humanity.

Most days we don't bounce along blissfully.

So why only take photos of the best of times? I say you balance those happy, posed photos with a few authentic, gritty, snapshots of the "unhappy" times.

You might feel frustrated or angry at the time, but consider taking candids of:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Time-outs
  • Sadness
  • Bad hair-days
  • Rainy days
  • Kid messes
  • Dog messes
  • Combing out lice
  • Missing teeth
  • Casts & crutches
  • Awkwardness

Those "unhappy" moments are a part of our lives, and deserve to be documented.

Put them on Facebook, write about them in your journal, and add them to photo albums. They'll add authenticity, and one day you'll look back and laugh!

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.