Recently a friend took a picture of me…behind my back.
We were leaving her house to go in and make dinner. As I hoisted the toddler on my hip and walked home hand in hand with my other one, she called out, “Great job, Supermom!”
Then she snapped a picture. This picture.
The irony is, in that moment the kids were in a “witching hour” cranky mood. One was wet, one wanted to keep playing and heaven knows where he kicked his shoes off. It was a moment when I felt flustered in my motherhood, and quite weary.
She sent me the picture and I admit, I started to pick apart the “errors” and things that need improvement when she said, “Look at this beautiful moment.” What others saw was beautiful parenting when I saw the mess. Thank goodness for friends that take the wider view (but thankfully, not always the wider lens.)
I know we often see fellow parents in their mothering and see beautiful moments. We see sunscreen wiping and gleeful laughing at the pool. We see first steps and caring smiles as mothers push wheelchairs into therapy. I say that we capture, candidly if possible, some beautiful pictures of mothering.
This doesn’t have to be a literal picture. It can just be a call or text to a friend that says, “Hey, you really handled your kid’s public meltdown well. Your love really shows in the hard moments.” It can be a comment to a stranger who is rocking this glorious challenge we call parenting.
The other half of the challenge is not to pick apart what others see. While we are looking for missing shoes, weeds in the garden or examining that unflattering behind-view, we miss out on the beauty. We miss the fact that both my boys are together, unhooked from machines and can eat dinner in the same home. I get to make a healthy dinner. We have friends nearby to play with until dinner. The picture is beautiful in that light. Sometimes we need a friend to loving smack some sense into us.
I challenge you to take a mental or literal picture of someone in a great moment of parenting, and tell them so. Make this someone you know– don’t be the iphone picture stalker, okay? I don’t want anyone thinking you are filming a meltdown. More importantly, remember that you are more beautiful and sanctified in the every day moments than we know. The laundry, the wiping, the scrubbing, the potty training, the driving lessons… these are the moments. The kids are ‘taking pictures’ in their hearts. You might be surprised how beautiful you look.