Snapshots are misleading

We had some family pictures taken recently. Boy, sometimes I have a love/hate relationships with family photos. I love getting a beautiful picture to hang on the wall of the people I love the most. But, I’m not so found of trying to get the outfits to match, trying to look “picture perfect,” as well as try to get Parker to stand still–he wasn’t made to do that! So far, he’s made to run and play, not pose. I don’t blame him.

Here are some of my favorites.

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I love these pictures and am excited to hang them up in my new home, but these photos have reminded me that they are simply snapshots. Snapshots that are beautiful, but nevertheless, incapable of capturing my heart, my family, and who we really are.

Although these snapshots are wonderful, they are just that–a snapshot. My real life, it looks like this:

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Exercise clothes and a pony tail

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Silly not posing

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Tantrums on the bathroom floor with no pants on.

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Just a good old day at home in t-shirts and big smiles.

We people watch or scan through snapshots of friends and acquaintances often–Facebook and Instagram have made that a piece of cake. However, most of the time we catch just a glimpse into another person’s life, a simple snapshot, that dismisses the behind-the-scenes of their life.

Among other things, their snapshot often highlights how nicely they keep their house, how they seem to be perpetually put together, how their children are so well-behaved, or how strong and alive the romance is in their marriage. After seeing and memorizing their snapshot we can feel little, scattered, and behind the game. At least I feel that at times.

But, in reality, if we settled down in our pajamas with a good bowl of popcorn and watched their life movie–including the behind-the-scenes–we might be surprised. The snapshot was misleading. The snapshot didn’t highlight the days overflowing with challenges, the frazzled days, the days of depression, even the ordinariness of their life.

“Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many.” -Phaedrus

How do you keep from comparing yourself to the snapshots you see? I would love to hear your thoughts!

You can vote once per day!

You can vote once per day!

Stopping the comparisons: Just more experienced

The other day my boy, Parker, helped me bake in the kitchen for the first time. I’ve tried to get him involved before, but until yesterday he just didn’t understand. Having him help yesterday was fulfilling; one of those mommy moments I have quietly day dreamed about for quite a while. Son helping make cookies, stirring, tasting the dough

As I watched his small, chubby hands latch onto the spoon and start to slowly mix, my mind was flooded with memories of baking with my own mom. I would frequently step up onto a stool, put on my flowery apron, and be her right hand girl.

However just as frequently as I tried to help, I undoubtedly became discouraged. I remember looking at my finished product, then to hers, and back to mine. The disappointment was poignant. Why was Mom always so much better than me? As soon as I expressed my frustration, she would reply without missing a beat:

“I’m not better than you; I’m just more experienced.”

Me as a little girl learning to bake.

Me as a little girl learning to bake.

It made sense; it made me feel better. She had been baking for years and I was just a girl. It was silly for me to believe I could be perfect at something I’d practiced very little at. Her comment gave me hope.

Now as I’m a bigger girl, how often do I look at others, especially moms, and think–“She has it all together; she is so much better at being a mom.” A LOT. I do that a lot. But, is that accurate? Instead, I should think to myself, “She has three kids, she’s changed hundreds more diapers, she’s balanced housework with utter exhaustion way more than me. She may not be better; just more experienced.

Simple as that. No comparisons, no guilt, no discouragement.

In the end, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. All those people we may be comparing ourselves to each day may just have more experience.

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” – Jon Acuff

How have you learned to stop yourself from comparing yourself to others? What is a saying that has helped you throughout your life?