We started “school” this week at the Stanley household, and I decided to document the occasion with three photos.
Honestly, I didn’t think twice about posting them. I had worked hard to put together activities for our “A is for Apple” week, and I wanted to capture snapshots of my kids learning and enjoying God’s creation.
But then a friend looked at me with weary eyes and a feeble smile and said, “I loved all your apple pictures. You are Super Mom!”
And my heart sank.
I was “that mom” this week.
You know, the “together” mom who makes the floundering mom feel like a failure.
Only in reality, I’m a far cry from together.
If only she could see behind the snapshots, I thought. Then she’d know the truth.
The Truth Behind the Photos
I had to hand draw all our worksheets because we have no cyan printer ink. Why not print in black and white, you ask? Because the stupid printer won’t let you print at all if one color is low, that’s why.
My three-year old refuses to be taught how to hold his pencil, and I lose my patience, resulting in three timeouts before we even begin our lesson and me having to ask for forgiveness.
Just as the older child simmers, my two-year old goes BERSERK over do-a-dot Paints. There are six colors to choose from and he always wants whatever color his big brother happens to be using. Obviously.
That night, I go to bed feeling like a terrible mom because I was too busy making an Instagram collage of our activities to be “fully present” with my kids.
We are picking pretend apples because after packing all three kids into the car to go to Bible study, the car wouldn’t start.
While we were picking pretend apples, oatmeal was burning on the stove inside. I forgot to turn the burner off.
My child isn’t wearing any sunscreen. And yes, he still uses a pacifier at two years old. Mother of the Year Award.
I go to bed feeling like a terrible mom because I was too busy trying to get the perfect pretend apple picking picture to be fully present with my kids…and I almost burned the house down.
I spent hours stressing over this bin. Seriously, what the heck is a sensory bin and why does my kid need one in order to have a full educational experience?
It’s been five days since this picture was taken, and I still haven’t swept up the excess oatmeal.
I go to bed feeling like a terrible mom because I was too busy trying to get the right angle for this photo to be fully present with my kids. And because I hate Pinterest and all those stupid moms for making me feel like I’m a terrible mom. And I hate myself for making other moms feel like they’re terrible moms.
These photos are just snapshots, friends. Snapshots taken by a flawed mama just trying to capture a moment in time where she’s not yelling at her kids or pulling her hair out or cleaning the umpteenth mess.
She’s not a super mom. In fact, she is in great need of a hero.
She needs someone who will save her from the trap of comparison, someone who will remind her of her inherent value, someone who will give her strength for today and hope for tomorrow.
She needs Jesus.
Because God isn’t impressed with sensory bins. And he’s not disappointed in her disaster of a house or lack of presence.
He made her just the way she is–a disorganized dreamer–and he deemed her wonderfully made.
What’s more, because she has put her trust in Jesus as her savior, God no longer sees her sin when he looks at her. Instead, he sees his precious daughter, bought and paid for by His Son’s death on the cross and clothed in robes of righteousness.
She can do nothing to lose his love and nothing to earn it.
And if there’s one snapshot she wants you to see, it’s the one of Him holding her firm in His hands.
No filter needed.