I know not everything you see on social media represents the reality of peoples lives and I’m okay with that. I talked about this social media facade in a blog post I wrote back in 2018 and I feel like it bears repeating.

“As a small time blogger, or even just a girl on Facebook, I am selective about what I post online. I think it’s okay to show a curated life to a broad audience! On the one hand, I want to keep it real with a blog name like MESSY mom and blog posts like the one where I had a nervous breakdown, but on the other hand I don’t need to air out all my dirty laundry. I save that for the people I love most. I know that sounds funny but it’s true. I have intimacy with those that I am actually connected with.

The more intimacy we have with someone the more vulnerable and transparent we are, to the point that in sexual intimacy we actually take off ALL the layers and are completely exposed.  Intimacy doesn’t have to be sexual though. Intimacy can be sharing tears, or scars, or memories. Intimacy is a closeness and a connection that is always mutual. If it’s not mutual then it’s not intimacy.”

The reason I bring this up is because I posted all of my favorite photos and videos from our fall break family retreat on both Facebook and Instagram and some on Messy Mom.Those photos were the highlights. Was it an awesome trip? YES! Do I feel like God truly gave us favor with everything from the lodging to our health? YES! Our family agrees that we made treasured memories that will last a lifetime.

Now I am going to get real here on Messy Mom. Did my teenage son suggest we should not go on a trip and just stay home before we left? Yes he did. Did I almost cry when my all of my family got frustrated and complained when I did a family photo session? Yep, that happened. There was boredom in the car and sibling rivalry splattered throughout our whole trip. In fact at one point around the camp fire J thought it would be a good idea for us all to take turns saying something nice about each other.

One of the nice things one of the kids said was “She is good at being a terrible sibling”. Those weren’t the exact words, but there was definitely a backhanded compliment or two. I lost my cool eventually and shouted something to the effect of “Can’t you all just be nice for once!? Your dad and I are trying. We are desperately trying to the point that we brought you all the way out to the middle of Amish country hoping you would change!” It got ugly, but then I calmed down and J and I began to speak truth and God given destiny over each one of them. There were happy tears (even from the kids) and hugs that really broke through all of the junk we had been dealing with. It was good. We know that all the bickering and car sickness that it took to get there was worth it. It’s not a Hallmark movie that has a picture perfect conclusion, but it was a wonderful retreat with people that I really love.

I was sharing some of my behind the scenes vacation struggles with a  friend who is a a grandma now and she thanked me for my openness. She said when she sees the vacation photos on social media she sometimes wonders what they did wrong! I assured her she did nothing wrong and my guess is everyone has melt downs in Disney World at some point. In fact I have the privilege as a photographer to get a front row seat to some of the family realness. I love the cheery photos of everyone in sweaters grinning from ear to ear, but there is almost always a disgruntled teenager, bored husband, or cranky toddler. The ring leader is usually a mom who is begging them to just cooperate for one stinking minute to get a decent photo. Then she slips me extra cash to make her look skinny in the photos. Just kidding. I get that request more often than I can count, but no one has ever offered me money to do it.

The moral of the story is keep sharing those beautiful happy moments and realize that you are not the only one who has some pretty rough outtakes.