It’s December, which means the season of perfection is upon us. You don’t have to look any further than glossy magazines, Pinterest, perfectly-posed Christmas cards and more to see the standard of precision. But, as my 8-year-old is quick to remind me, “Only one thing is perfect: God. And, Mom, you’re not God.”
It’s a truth we know, yet how often do we forget it in pursuit of the holiday madness? How often do we get caught up in finding the most mischievous pose for that grimacing elf? Or the cut-out cookies that only Martha could be proud of? What about the family portrait with matching sweaters and smiles? Don’t forget the exterior light show, the perfectly shaped and trimmed tree, or the hand-made countdown calendar.
Each of these things in and of themselves are fine, but they can also be consuming of our time, our focus and our sanity when we add them to an already packed list of traditions and must-dos. That’s why I’m calling a truce on the season of perfection. Instead, I’m pursuing a simple, prioritized, intentional and perfection-less Christmas. And, I’m hoping you will take this journey with me.
Too often we see only the highlights of other people’s lives. Take for instance this picture I recently posted on my Facebook page with the following update:
In the interest of simplifying, prioritizing and being more environmentally conscious this Christmas season, we have decided to forgo printed cards this year. But, we hope you will accept a few holiday Instagrams as a replacement. And, if you’d like a hard copy to hang with your other holiday cards, simply hit print. Seasons greetings to all!
It’s a cute enough pic and it got plenty of likes and comments. But, let me give you a peek at the reality behind it. This sweet pic came with a whole host of ones that did not make the cut. Such as this one:
If we’re honest, this second pic is more real than the first, and real is what I want to be. As parents we can be too hard on ourselves, trying to live up to expectations and standards that society (and ourselves) place on us. I don’t want to be a part of that game. I want to live more authentically and I believe you do as well. I know this because when I posted the following update and photo on Unexpectant’s Facebook page a few weeks ago, it received more likes than any other photo I’ve ever posted.
Because I believe in showing that life isn’t picture perfect, welcome to my dining room (more frequently and accurately referred to as the art room). Half-finished art projects, items to donate & sell, random socks that missed the laundry basket and more. This is life:
After seeing this pic, one friend suggested we do another photo share (thanks, Meghan!). And I have to agree with her. It has been a while since we have done a photo challenge and, while I don’t want to add more to-dos to an already busy season, I hope you will take part if you have a chance. If you’re willing, then simply send me your real pictures of the season. I’m not looking for picture-perfect snapshots. I want to see what this season of your life really looks like, the nitty gritty, the messy dining room tables, the goofy faces, the tantrums, the bedhead, the yoga pants. Let’s just agree to get real.
And, so, I am calling all photographers (i.e., any parent with a camera in hand) to share your real moments. Send me a pic and share it with our community, so we can join in each others’ perfection-less parenting journeys. I will collect them over the next few weeks and then gather them for a post to be published on Unexpectant.
To submit your pics, if you’re an Instagrammer, use #unexpectant. You can also contact me or upload your pics to the Facebook page. If you’re a blogger, be sure to let me know your website, so I can link to it in the photo share post.
Start sending me pics today and be sure to share with all your friends, so we can have a perfection-less Christmas together.