The Mom Our Kids Really See
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Several years back, while my then nine-year-old son and I were scrolling through Facebook together, he saw a new profile picture I’d uploaded.
He asked, “Who is that?”
Dumbfounded, I responded, “Um…. it’s me.”
In the picture, I was all made up, the lighting was just right, the picture was from just the right angle. By Instagram standards, I’d nailed it. I thought I looked pretty darn good.
“Well,” he said, quite matter-of-factly, “I don’t like that picture.”
The normal, everyday mom that our kids see? She’s perfectly fine.
He thought for a minute and said, “I like the pictures that show how you look on our farm.”
What he meant was how I normally look.
You know, when my hair isn’t done.
And I’m not wearing makeup.
And I’ve probably skipped my shower.
When I’m wearing a hat or bandana on my head and there’s hay or mud or God knows what hanging off my clothes. And I’m sweaty. Kinda more like this:
You know, normal, everyday me.
We continued scrolling through Facebook and checking out links and never talked anymore about my newly uploaded profile picture. But his comment got me thinking about how our kids see us.
When our kids look at us, who do they see?
We always want to put our best foot forward. We want to make sure people see us in the brightest, most ravishing light. We want them to catch us at our finest, when we said and did the right thing and looked pretty darn good while doing it.
But to our kids, that’s not us.
Well, that’s not the complete us.
And we have to remember our kids see the all of us. The whole person. The total package.
The person who drops stuff and swears when it breaks.
The person who gets crabby and depressed.
The person who gets confused and doesn’t understand.
The person who didn’t get enough sleep the night before and looks like a truck ran them over.
The person who makes mistakes.
Our kids see the person who is sick with the flu, blows up about little stuff when she’s stressed out, burns the cake, and forgets to buy peanut butter at the store.
Did you know that one of my oldest’s favorite things to do is ride with me in a car and listen to me “talk” to other drivers?
It’s not pretty. And I don’t generally discuss my tendency to become a sailor when I’m stuck behind someone who doesn’t know how to drive with most people. But that’s totally me. That’s the mom my kids have.
But the crazy thing?
Despite all those less than awesome but very real things, our kids still love us.
All of that stuff is part of the mom or dad that they know. That’s what they see.
Your kids see you.
How often do I sit here, trying so hard get things just so for a picture, and realize the resulting picture ends up so far from how my kids normally see me, that when they see it, they have to ask “Is that…(gasp) you?”
It’s fun to dress up. It’s fun for me to get out of my barn clothes and do my hair and be fancy every once in awhile.
But let’s be honest. That’s not what my kids think of when they think of me.
We need to be careful about the face we show to the world.
I need to be careful about the face I show to the world.
Because in the middle of the night when my kids are sick or have had a bad dream or need to discuss whatever is weighing on their mind…I’m a total mess. My jammies don’t match, my hair is all tangled and my face is only half awake.
But I’m there when they need me.
That’s the mom they see.
That’s the mom they know.