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.”

“You don’t?”


“Why not?”

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:

How Our Kids Really See Us
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.

Perfectly staged Instagram photos taken from just the right angle? They make us look good. But to our kids, that's not us. Who is the mom YOUR kids 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.

Perfectly staged Instagram photos taken from just the right angle? They make us look good. But to our kids, that's not us. Who is the mom YOUR kids see?

Tired of the sugarcoated version of homeschooling? Read my book The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.


9 thoughts on “The Mom Our Kids Really See”

  1. Anytime I wear lipstick, my son walks up to be and repeats what he said to me the first time he ever saw me in lipstick: He points and says, "I don't like that stuff." *then he grins*

    He's 12 and still comments when I wear make up.

  2. LOve this post.

    I haven't used much make up in 5+++ years since my son was about 2 y.o. A few months back, one Sunday, I put some eye liner on and a little lipstick ( rare occasion, I only wear chapstick nowadays) and after church when we got home, my son who is now 7 y.o. asked me, "Mom, why do you have that black stuff on your eyes?" So I told him it was make up, I was wearing to look good. "I don't like it. I prefer you normal.", he said.

    My daughter who is almost 10 y.o. asked me the other day, "Mom, why are you so worried about what we are wearing when we go out?" So I explained that it was important to look our best, that sometimes people could judge us badly if we were wearing dirty or damaged clothing. Her answer," But that is not important. What's important is what is on the inside. I don't care about what people wear."

    They see right through us, don't they? 🙂

  3. Any time I actually ‘dress’ to leave the farm, my boys gape and say, “Mom, you look PRETTY.” I tend not to take it as a compliment, since it speaks to how they feel about me daily. Lol Chicken stuff and mud and a ponytail are my normal attire.
    And I love it.

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